In Colorado, New Measure Would Preserve Ratepayers’ Rights to Stockpile Energy

by | Jan 25, 2017

Colorado State Senator Stephen Fenberg (D-Boulder) on January 18 introduced a bill (SB17-089) –Concerning the rights of consumers of electricity to install electricity storage systems on their property – declaring that ratepayers have the right to “enhance the reliability and efficiency of the electric grid, save money, and reduce the need for additional electric generation facilities.”

Indeed, “The use of electrical storage systems is not just cost saving for the consumer but it helps reduce costs for all of Colorado’s [commercial and industrial] ratepayers,” Fenberg stated in introducing his measure at a meeting of the Business, Labor, and Technology Committee.

The bill directs the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to adopt rules under which:

  • Residential and small commercial consumers can install electricity storage systems with a discharge rate of up to 25 kW alternating current (AC) for later use or to provide backup in case of an outage;
  • The utility and interconnection approval process for photovoltaic solar plus storage systems must be simple and streamlined, subject to electrical code and safety requirements – but not more complex than existing approval requirements for photovoltaic installations;
  • A utility whose customer installs electricity storage must use only a single revenue meter, unless the storage system exceeds a discharge rate of 25 kW AC; and
  • Any applicable standby charges, minimum charges, additional meter charges, or other fees or charges are identical as between customers with electricity storage systems and those without.

The bill’s first test will be a hearing by the committee. The date and time of that hearing have not yet been determined.

In related news, earlier this month, the Oregon Public Utility Commission provided guidelines on how Pacific Power and Portland General Electric – both of which are covered by the energy storage law HB2193 because they have over 25,000 retail customers – could select storage system providers and present proposals to the PUC.

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