Grid reform

Maryland’s Public Service Commission (PSC) has undertaken a proceeding, PC 44, which may significantly change the rules for way we generate and receive electricity. In January 2017, the Commission announced the formation of several working groups as part of the proceeding as well as a study to assess the benefits and costs of distributed solar to Maryland.

The working groups will provide commissioners feedback on key components of Maryland’s electricity sector that, according to the Commission, are “ripe for action in this proceeding”. Pilot projects, experimental electricity tariffs and development of rules for these topics may be coming too. This is our opportunity to ensure Maryland’s community of solar supporters is represented.

MD SUN network members are also working with MEDA (Marylanders for Energy Democracy and Affordability), a diverse network of public interest organizations and residents participating in both the PC44 process as well as on the broader goal of creating a fair, equitable, and democratic transition to a clean, reliable, and affordable energy economy.

Get involved!

As the working groups proceed, there will be more opportunities to participate and make your voice heard. For now, here are a two ways you can help:

  1. Volunteer for a PSC working group by emailing the group leaders listed below
  2. Tell us you’ve signed up by emailing corey@mdsun.org
  3. Sign up for the MD SUN listserv and follow progress reports from network members

About Working Groups

The PSC often uses working groups of stakeholders to work through technical and regulatory issues and provide recommendations. The Commission highly values any consensus positions reached by working group members. Commission staff members lead the groups. They are responsible for reporting back to the Commission what the working group discovered. Over the course of several months the working groups in each topic area will meet and examine issues related to the topic and the Commission’s directives for that topic (different types of rates, pilot programs, etc.). During working group discussions, participants will have opportunities to express their views and contribute to the topic at hand. For example, during a discussion about a change to the value of solar-produced electricity at different times of the day and year a solar owner has a particular perspective to add to the conversation.

Each working group will probably be a combination of in-person and dial-in conference calls. In person meetings will most likely be held in the downtown Baltimore offices of the PSC and should have an option for participants to dial-in and participate remotely.

List of Working Groups

Rate Design

This group will discuss “Time of Use” (TOU) rates and whether varying electric rates by time in a way that value the benefits and costs of distributed solar could both empower customers and provide appropriate market signals. Several of these working groups will consider possible pilot programs. One such pilot could be implementing TOU rates for customers with distributed solar. A pilot of TOU rates and solar may, for example, include a higher value credit for energy produced at times of the day and year when the grid needs it more and a lower rate when the grid does not need it as much.

Feb 2017 – June 2017: Develop pilot programs for traditional electric service

Spring 2017 – Dec 2017: Value of Solar study conducted by consultant

July 2017 – June 2018: Traditional electric service pilot programs occur, if approved

Jan 2018 – May 2018: Propose plan to develop DER-specific pilot program

Leader: Jon Kucskar, Jon.Kucskar@maryland.gov

Electric Vehicles

This group will discuss widening the use of electric vehicle (EV) specific tariffs, the use of time-varying rates, infrastructure investment by utilities, partnerships on vehicle fleet electrification, and other measures to expand and support electric vehicle use in the state.

Feb 2017 – Dec 2017: Develop new EV-related tariffs and utility investment in charging infrastructure

Jan 2018 – June 2018: Consider new rate structures for corporate fleets + workplace/commercial chargers

Leader: Marissa Gillett, Marissa.Gillett@maryland.gov

Competitive Markets and Customer Choice

This group will discuss developing statewide standards for smart meter data sharing and improving the competition, transparency and customer-friendliness of retail choice.

Feb 2017 – June 2017: Developer proposal for AMI data sharing system

July 2017 – Dec 2017: Propose retail supply changes to improve competition, transparency & experience

Leader: Odogwuobi Linton, Odogwuobi.Linton@maryland.gov

Interconnection Process

This group will discuss improvements to solar interconnection standards and procedures, the possible mandated use of smart inverters, expanded availability of hosting capacity maps for deciding where solar and other distributed resources can be easily sited, and cost allocation and system capacity issues regarding large and mid-size solar facilities.

Feb 2017 – July 2017: Assess current residential interconnection process

Aug 2017 – Mar 2017: Develop regulations for residential interconnection improvements

July 2017 – Jun 2018: Assess provision of hosting capacity information to the public

July 2017 – Jun 2018: Review cost allocation and capacity issues for mid-size and large facilities

Leader: Jon Kucskar, Jon.Kucskar@maryland.gov

Energy Storage

This group will discuss possible rules to define residential energy storage, its interconnection to the grid and how it’s classified in rules, tariffs, and policies as well as appropriate criteria for deciding whether utilities should invest in energy storage and how they should be compensated.

May 2017 – Jun 2018: Develop regulations for defining and classifying residential storage

May 2017 – Jun 2018: Develop proposals for storage as a utility asset + non-wire alternatives (NWA)

Leader: Andrew Johnston, Andrew.Johnston@maryland.gov

Distribution System Planning

This group will discuss the components of distribution planning, what areas the Commission should focus on and whether it should authorize a study on key topics.

(Group may happen if there is sufficient funding available)

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