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Mid-Atlantic Utility Commissioners Discuss Plans for Modern Grid

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Mid-Atlantic Public Utility Commissioners Gather to Discuss Distribution System Planning for a Modern Electricity Grid

[New York, September 8, 2016] – Public utility commissioners from the Mid-Atlantic states gathered today in New York to discuss distribution system planning for the 21st Century electric grid in light of technology advances, the growth of distributed energy resources (like storage, demand response, and rooftop solar), changing customer expectations, and evolving planning processes. The gathering brought together 11 commissioners and senior staff from seven Mid-Atlantic states and jurisdictions (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia). Session topics were selected in advance by the commissioners.

The Advanced Energy Economy Institute Mid-Atlantic Public Utility Commissioners Forum was co-hosted by Chair Audrey Zibelman, New York State Public Service Commission; President Richard Mroz, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities; Vice Chair Andrew Place, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission; and Chair Kevin Hughes, Maryland Public Service Commission. This is the second gathering of utility regulators from the Mid-Atlantic states hosted by the AEE Institute, with the first forum held in June, 2014.

“When we co-hosted the first Mid-Atlantic Public Utility Commissioners Forum two years ago, New York was just embarking on our REV (Reforming the Energy Vision) Initiative,” said Chair Audrey Zibelman of the New York State Public Service Commission. “Now, two years later, we've come a long way in fleshing out the details of our vision for a modern grid and we appreciate the opportunity to share valuable lessons learned, as well as to learn more about what's happening in our neighboring states.” 

“In response to several recent major storms New Jersey made it a priority to harden utility infrastructure and improve grid resiliency,” said President Richard S. Mroz of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. “While the Board has ordered many improvements and approved needed investments by the utilities, we are continually examining additional ways to improve resiliency including microgrids that can operate as islands of energy service during widespread outages. We appreciate the chance to explore the latest technologies and to discuss the opportunities and issues those technologies present to regulators.” 

“It is enormously helpful to hear from and share real-life examples and lessons learned with our colleagues in the region as we all explore how to best plan for a modern grid,” said Vice Chair Andrew Place of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

“In the nation’s capital, we are working to bring our energy delivery system into the 21st century through an initiative we call Modernizing the Energy Delivery Structure for Increased Sustainability, or MEDSIS,” said Chair Betty Anne Kane of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia. “This forum is a unique opportunity to share what's happening in DC and to learn how other states are also thinking about how to update regulatory structures and statutes developed in the past, amid the rapid evolution of today’s new technology.”

This meeting was the sixth in a series of regional forums held in cooperation with utility commissioners and facilitated by the AEE Institute.

Discussions covered the latest advanced energy technologies, including microgrids and storage, demand response, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), and distributed generation, like solar. Participating experts included Steve Fine of ICF, Forrest Small of Bridge Energy Group, Paul Wyman of Lockheed Martin, Deno Damaskos of CPower, Matt Davey of Silver Spring Networks, and Tom Starrs of SunPower Corp.

“The AEE Institute is proud to work with state commissioners to facilitate these important conversations about the big developments taking place in the electric power system,” said Lisa Frantzis, senior vice president of strategy, Advanced Energy Economy, who co-facilitated discussions at the daylong meeting. “We look forward to continuing to engage with state regulators across the nation as they consider new ways to effectively regulate utilities amid changing technology and changing customer expectations.”

The AEE Institute’s Regional Public Utility Commissioners Forums are part of a broader effort to engage industry and regulators in addressing key challenges and opportunities facing the utility sector. Advanced Energy Economy has also held a series of 21st Century Electricity System CEO Forums and follow-on Working Groups in which executives of utility companies, advanced energy companies, and regulators in various states recommend new business and regulatory models to encourage the adoption of advanced energy technologies in the power sector. Together, the AEE and Institute programs are helping to define pathways toward new products and services, network infrastructure and operational models, and regulatory frameworks that will provide consumers with a more robust, resilient, dynamic, and consumer-oriented power system.

About the AEE Institute and Advanced Energy Economy
The Advanced Energy Economy Institute (https://www.aee.net/aeei) is a nonprofit educational and charitable organization committed to raising awareness about the public benefits of advanced energy. The AEE Institute is affiliated with Advanced Energy Economy (www.aee.net), a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. The AEE Institute helps to spread the word about advanced energy and its value in moving the country and the world toward a better energy future. 

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