The Obstacles to the Smart Grid Are Regulatory

Lynne Kiesling

Last week, at the National Electricity Delivery Forum, Kurt Yeager of the Galvin Electricity Initiative issued a challenge to the electricity industry and to regulators to transform the industry, its technology, and its regulation. As reported at The Fuel Cell Market Report,

Speaking before an audience of federal and state regulators, utilities and other industry players as part of a keynote panel during the National Electricity Delivery Forum in Washington, D.C., Yeager said that the future of the U.S. electric power system rests upon our ability to take advantage of the technology available today and prioritizing the modernization of our unreliable, inefficient and insecure grid infrastructure. …

The technology exists today to transform the 1950s-era grid into a smarter, reliable and efficient power system. To secure this future, state leadership is needed to remove the regulatory policy obstacles to smart grid development and implementation.

Utilities need incentives to drive grid modernization efforts. Utilities are compensated for selling more electricity, not for providing quality service or efficiency programs. States need to support “decoupling,” or separating utilities’ profits from their energy sales. Only then will utilities become motivated to offer consumers tools such as time-of-use pricing and smart meters that can reduce the escalating demand that is taxing our aging grid infrastructure, increasing emissions of dangerous pollutants. Consumers should be treated as individuals with individual needs. As with other industries that have been opened to competition and choice, given the option, most consumers will take control and reduce their energy use.

Yeah. What he said. Squared.