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Financing Reliability NASUCA Annual Meeting - 2012 Ron Binz, Public Policy Consulting November 12, 2012 Baltimore.

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Presentation on theme: "Financing Reliability NASUCA Annual Meeting - 2012 Ron Binz, Public Policy Consulting November 12, 2012 Baltimore."— Presentation transcript:

1 Financing Reliability NASUCA Annual Meeting - 2012 Ron Binz, Public Policy Consulting November 12, 2012 Baltimore

2 Outline of this Presentation Utility capital requirements are growing sharply amid difficult circumstances –Reliability investments are special case of a larger trend A new utility business model will emerge This challenge requires two fundamental changes –“Risk-Aware” regulation –A new regulatory model This presents an opportunity for consumer leaders

3 Authors –Ron Binz –Richard Sedano –Denise Furey –Dan Mullen Available at

4 High Stakes The US electric industry is entering a “build cycle” with much higher investment than in recent history –Brattle Group estimates $2 trillion by 2030 Causes –Aging infrastructure –New transmission requirements –Demand side and smart grid –Much stronger air and water regulation, including GHGs –Fuel economics Challenges to utilities –Flat load growth –Distributed generation –Uncertain economy –Financial metrics less forgiving than in 1980s


6 The US generation fleet is aging

7 US Electric IOUs Rating History 1970 – 2010 4% 22% 46% 27% 1% Source: Standard & Poor’s, Macquarie Capital AA A A A A A BBB BBB-

8 The Key Question How do we ensure that $2 trillion is spent wisely?


10 With incentives No incentives CO 2 costs Notes Unadjusted 2010 cost estimates were used for consistency Costs for wind and photovoltaics have fallen sharply in last two years (faster than these 2010 estimates) Cost of nuclear power has risen post-Fukushima (more than these 2010 estimates)


12 A Catalog of Investment Risk Cost-related –Construction cost overruns –Capital availability –Operational surprises –Fuel cost escalation –“Bet the company” investments –Management imprudence –Resources limited –Consumer reaction to rates Time-related –Construction delays –Changing markets –Environmental regulations –Changes in load –Technology advancement –Catastrophe –Contingent projects –Government policies Seven categories of risk used in scoring… Construction cost Fuel and Operating cost New Regulations Carbon Price Water Constraints Capital Shock Planning

13 CostRisk


15 Seven Essential Strategies for Risk-Aware Regulation Diversify utility supply Utilize robust planning processes Employ transparent ratemaking practice Use financial and physical hedges Hold utilities accountable Practice active, “legislative” regulation Reform, re-invent ratemaking policies

16 Utilities 2020 Foundation funded Run by two former state regulators named Ron Advised by board of experts Goal: to explore new business models and advocate new regulatory models to enable new utility business models to evolve.

17 The Thesis: Regulation may not be up to the task –May not reward utilities for desired behavior –Society’s goals for utilities are changing; regulation is not –Progress on demand side, not so much on supply side –Lack of incentives for firm efficiency clean energy investment energy efficiency innovation –Rate structures need revision –Examples of “poisoned” relationship

18 Advisory Council Members John Bohn –GlobalNet Partners, LLC Paul Bonavia –Tucson Electric Power Ashley Brown –Harvard Electricity Policy Group Ralph Cavanagh –NRDC Richard Cortright –Standard and Poor’s Peter Fox-Penner –The Brattle Group James Newcomb and Lena Hansen –Rocky Mountain Institute John Nielsen –Western Resource Advocates Sonny Popowsky –PA Office of Consumer Advocate John Quackenbush –Michigan Public Service Commission Lisa Schwartz –Regulatory Assistance Project V. John White –CEERT

19 Methods: –Interviews with utility CEOs and leading states regulators –Evaluations of other systems here and abroad –Dialogues with utility execs and commissioners

20 CEOs want a clearer, more consistent direction from state energy policies Utilities have little incentive for innovation, firm level efficiency Commissions need a better understanding of the utility business and its needs Utilities want certainty on climate policy Utilities want healthier working relationships with commissioners and staff What we’ve heard from utility CEOs:

21 A primary concern is with increasing utility rates Regulators are open to modifying the regulatory model; looking for ideas Some commissioners are dissatisfied with the adversarial process Many commissioners face severe barriers to communications with stakeholders, and even fellow commissioners Commissions have inadequate resources What we’ve heard from commissioners:


23 Three Potential Regulatory Models The UK “RIIO” model –Price cap built on RPI-X –Output regulation Reliability, Environmental, Innovation, Price, Efficiency, Social Responsibility The “Iowa Model” –Seventeen years of constant rates, settlements The “Grand Bargain” –Comprehensive multi-year output-oriented deal –Regulator led

24 I look forward to your questions. Thanks for the invitation

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