The Center has now run four seminars on advanced integrated resource planning (IRP) for state public utility commission staff members from around the country.
Technology transfer is a central aspect of the Energy Analysis Program's IRP project. Reviewing utility IRP filings by state utility regulatory commissions is a new challenge to commissioners because many IRP concepts, especially those dealing with demand-side management, are unfamiliar. At the request of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the EAP designed a seminar on leading IRP issues for state commission staff who must review these utility filings.
The fourth annual LBL Advanced IRP Seminar in early June hosted staff members from 22 utility regulatory commissions representing 21 state commissions, including staffers from three state commissions that had not participated previously. Nearly 90 regulatory staff members from 40 state commissions have attended at least one of the four seminars.
Two activities were on the agenda of the week-long seminar. Experts on core IRP issues delivered lectures on topics such as IRP plan guidelines, competitive considerations for IRP, the rationale for utility DSM programs, avoided costs, gas IRP, and transmission planning. In the afternoon, the participants had to roll up their sleeves, team up, and work through exercises including DSM program planning and rate impact mitigation using a commercially available DSM software tool. They estimated electricity avoided cost using a utility production cost model, and negotiated the level of utility DSM expenditures, the level of incentives paid to the utility, and the type of DSM program evaluation in a role-playing "game." They also took a tour and saw a demonstration of energy-efficient technologies at the Pacific Gas & Electric Energy Center, and attended an evening roundtable discussion of states' experiences with competition issues.
Among the many lectures was Joe Eto's discussion of disincentives for utilities to pursue DSM and his overview of revenue decoupling approaches, and a joint presentation on gas IRP by G. Alan Comnes and Charles Goldman. Participants also thought well of the negotiation simulation game, introduced for the first time this year.
—Karen H. Olson
Energy Analysis Program
(510) 486-7284; (510) 486-6996 fax
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