Bruce Biewald and Tim Woolf, Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. Peter Bradford Paul Chernick and Susan Geller, Resource Insight, Inc. Jerrold Oppenheim, National Consumer Law Center




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Performance-Based Regulation in a Restructured Electric Industry


Prepared for the

National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners


Prepared by

Bruce Biewald and Tim Woolf, Synapse Energy Economics, Inc.
Peter Bradford
Paul Chernick and Susan Geller, Resource Insight, Inc.
Jerrold Oppenheim, National Consumer Law Center



November 8, 1997


Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., 22 Crescent Street, Cambridge MA 02138Disclaimer


This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.


The report was authored by Synapse Energy Economics of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Throughout the preparation process, the members of the NARUC Committee/Staff Subcommittee on Energy Resources and the Environment provided Synapse with editorial comments and suggestions. However the views and opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and may not necessarily agree with positions of the NARUC or those of the U.S. Department of Energy. Written comments are encouraged.


Table of Contents



Executive Summary 4

Introduction 4

Experience with PBR 4

The Many Dimensions of PBR 5

PBR and Restructuring 7

Service Quality and Universal Service 7

Distribution Utility Resource Planning and Energy Efficiency 8

General Lessons Learned 10

1. Introduction 12

1.1 Objective of This Report 12

1.2 Description of Performance-Based Regulation 12

2. Historical Context 15

3. Recent PBR Experience 18

3.1 Introduction 18

3.2 Central Maine Power’s PBR Mechanism 19

Historical Context 19

Summary of CMP’s PBR Features 20

CMP’s PBR Experience 21

3.3 New York PBR Mechanisms 23

Historical Context 23

Summary of PBR Features Applied to the Four Utilities 23

Features of the Rochester Gas & Electric PBR 24

Features of the New York State Electric & Gas PBR 24

Features of the Niagara Mohawk Power PBR 25

Incentive Features of the ConEd PBR 25

New York Experience With PBR 26

3.4 San Diego Gas & Electric’s PBR Mechanism 29

Historical Context 29

Summary of PBR Features 30

SDG&E PBR Experience 31

3.5 General Lessons Learned 35

4. PBR and Restructuring 36

4.1 Introduction 36

4.2 Mitigation of Stranded Costs 36

4.3 Preparing for Market Realities 37

4.4 Pricing Flexibility 37

4.5 Treatment of Generation and Purchased Power 37

4.6 Risk Allocation 38

4.7 Mergers 38

4.8 Targeted Incentives 38

4.9 Nuclear Power 39

4.10 Divestiture 39

5. Quality of Service 41

5.2 Service Quality Indices 42

Keeping PBR Simple: Many Detailed Indices vs. Few Broad Indices 42

Customer Contact Indices 42

Outage Indices 43

Power Quality Indices 45

Safety Indices 46

Service Quality to Other Providers 46

5.3 Computing Benchmarks 47

5.4 Choosing the Amount of Penalty and/or Reward 48

Preliminary Considerations 48

Quantifying the Penalty/Reward 49

5.5 Conclusions and Recommendations 51

6. Universal Service 54

6.1 Introduction 54

6.2 Universal Service Performance Measures 54

6.3 Conclusions and Recommendations 56

7. Energy Efficiency and Sales Promotion 58

7.1 Price Caps and Disincentives to Energy Efficiency 58

7.2 Removing the Disincentive With Revenue Caps 58

7.3 Combined Revenue-Price Cap Approaches 61

7.4 Conclusions and Recommendations 62

8. Using PBR to Promote Distributed Utility Integrated Resource Planning 64

8.1 Restructuring and the Application of Integrated Resource Planning to Distribution Utilities 64

8.2 PBR Mechanisms Used To Date 66

8.3 Interaction With Other Restructuring Policy Mechanisms 66

Demand Side Management 66

Renewables and Environmental Protection 67

Market Power 67

Rate Design 69

8.4 The Role of Distribution Companies in Minimizing Customer Costs and Delivering Energy Efficiency Services 70

8.5 Alternative PBR Approaches to Promote Distributed Integrated Resource Planning 73

T&D Planning, Operation and Upgrades 73

Incentives to Reduce Long Term Costs 74

Incentives to Encourage Energy Efficiency 75

References 77

Reports, Papers, etc. 77

Cases 80

Regulations 81

Appendix A. Description and Rationale for Distribution Utility Integrated Resource Planning 82

A1. Integrated Resource Planning for Vertically-Integrated Utilities 82

A2. Summary of the Emerging Distribution Utility Planning Process 83

A3. Integrated Resource Planning for Distribution Utilities 84

A4. The Rationale for a Broad Distribution Utility Role 86

Market Barriers 86

The Relationship between the Distribution Utility and the Service Territory 88

The Importance of Location and Load Shape for Distribution Costs 89

Lumpiness of T&D Investments 91

Risk Reduction 91



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