The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission opened an inquiry this spring on utility rate regulation policy with a focus on the issues of decoupling and lost margin from conservation program efforts. A group of interested parties have responded to a series of topics proposed by the WUTC and those ideas have been synthesized into a single document available on the WUTC site. While lengthy, the document underscores both the level of controversy and lack of agreement on both the nature of the problem – the financial implications for investor owned utilities in operating successful conservation programs – and potential solutions such as a decoupling mechanism and/or rate provisions that allow for lost margin recovery from reduced sales resulting from conservation. While NEEC did not participate in the WUTC inquiry process, NEEC remains hopeful that the WUTC will address the foundational problem in the current business model for investor owned utilities operating aggressive energy efficiency programs. To view the WUTC compilation of comments click here.
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