Distributed Generation

Challenges for Utilities and Regulators

Thrusday, April 30th, 2015: 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern

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Cost: Free for State Governments, $275 for all others

Moderator: Dr. Rajnish Barua, Executive Director, NRRI


  • Ken Costello, Principal Researcher – Energy & Environment, NRRI
  • Two other panelists TBA

The rapid growth of distributed generation (DG) over the past two years with expected continual growth has the potential to transform the U.S. electric industry. It has stimulated a dialogue, sometimes of a spirited nature, on core topics that relate to both utility operations and state utility regulation. The recent narrative on the electric utility of the future includes the efficacy of the existing utility business model and current ratemaking practices in financially sustaining utilities and DG providers, as well as in advancing societal goals. A new business model, for example, could enable DG to compete on a more equal basis with utility generation. Alternatively, existing or newly erected regulatory barriers and obstacles could prevent DG from reaching its full economic potential. The question has also risen as to whether and how utilities might go beyond simply accommodating DG, to becoming active agents in growing DG for financial gain. Those issues are discussed in a recent NRRI study completed by Ken Costello, entitled “Utility Involvement in Distributed Generation: Regulatory Considerations” (NRRI Report No. 15-01, February 2015, available on www.nrri.org).

This teleseminar is based on that study and the panelists will explore the challenges facing electric utilities and their state regulators as they grapple with the various questions inherent in advancing the public interest during a transition to higher reliance on DG.

NRRI Report No. 15-01, “Utility Involvement in Distributed Generation: Regulatory Considerations,” was done for the Eastern Interconnection States’ Planning Council (EISPC) and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory, under Award Number DE-OE0000316.