PURA Resets Electric Utility Regulatory Framework to Better Serve the Public
Releases plan to implement key Performance-Based Regulation measures by mid-2024
(New Britain, CT – April 26, 2023) – The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA or the Authority) today issued a Final Decision as part of its investigation into a Performance-Based Regulation (PBR) framework for the state’s electric distribution companies (EDCs). In its decision, PURA resets the objectives of all electric utility regulation matters in Connecticut to be more aligned with and focused on the public interest and utility performance. Specifically, PURA adopts four regulatory goals, five foundational considerations, and nine priority outcomes to guide future electric utility regulation, including the further development and implementation of PBR reforms to take place over the next year with substantial completion expected in mid-2024.
Today’s decision in Docket No. 21-05-15 outlines the public process and stakeholder input that led to the establishment of these goals, considerations, and priority public outcomes, which together create a comprehensive framework to modernize Connecticut’s approach to electric utility regulation to better reflect changing customer expectations, public policy goals, and industry and technology advancements.
The below table provides a summary of the regulatory goals and priority outcomes adopted in the decision.
Table: Adopted PBR Regulatory Goals and Priority Outcomes
With this decision, PURA also formally adopts five regulatory considerations that will serve as essential principles in all Authority deliberations and proceedings. The five regulatory considerations are safety, equity, economic opportunity, risk distribution, and transparency.
“Today’s PBR decision is a leap forward for customer-centric utility regulation in Connecticut and is consistent with the vision articulated by Governor Lamont and the Take Back Our Grid Act,” said PURA Chairman Marissa Gillett. “Performance-Based Regulation has the potential to align all our regulatory tools to strengthen accountability for utilities and to achieve priority outcomes for customers. These reforms are especially important now, with the transformation underway in the energy and utility industries and with many customers continuing to struggle with high monthly bills.”
Additionally, the decision summarizes the forthcoming PBR Phase 2 investigation, which will result in final decisions and orders to implement EDC regulatory reforms through rate cases or other relevant proceedings. Paired with PURA’s Equitable Modern Grid Framework, the regulatory reforms under further investigation in PBR Phase 2 will create a comprehensive regulatory strategy to achieve the priority outcomes and regulatory goals established in today’s decision.
The PBR Phase 2 investigation will consist of three distinct investigations of the following regulatory topics: Revenue Adjustment Mechanisms; Performance Mechanisms; and Integrated Distribution System Planning (IDSP). The Revenue Adjustment Mechanism and Performance Mechanism investigations are scheduled for substantial completion in mid-2024, while the IDSP reopener docket is scheduled for completion later in 2024. Throughout the PBR Phase 2 proceedings, PURA will solicit participant comments and proposals, encouraging robust stakeholder engagement to ensure inclusive, thorough, and deliberative investigations.
More information on the planned timelines and next steps in each investigation can be found in the appendices of today’s decision.
Today at 1:00 p.m., Gov. Ned Lamont, Chairman Gillett, and the co-chairs of the legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee, State Sens. Norm Needleman and Ryan Fazio, and State Reps. Jonathan Steinberg and Bill Buckee, held a news conference at Essex Town Hall to discuss the state’s ongoing implementation of the Take Back Our Grid Act.