From Scott Carlberg

A North Carolina bill has been making its way through the system that changes some rules on electric rates. Depending on which source reports the story it is a great milestone of electric rate history or it is abysmal. As this is being written it also seems stalled in the legislative system.

Customers may still want to know about the issues, which have been discussed for years and are likely at some point to get some sort of action. Not sure when.

There are two facets to one bill: 1) The ability to establish electric rates over a multi-year period and, 2) account for costs that are associated with storm repairs.

No change in who sets rates – the NC Utilities Commission. Oversight is still there.

Those generally in favor of the idea say that this bill can add stability and predictability to customer rates. It can assure that funds are managed when big weather events hit the grid system.

Those generally against the idea say it removes accountability of electric companies, increases rates and pads revenues.

Organizations on both sides of the issue have been out in force to communicate and influence people who can pass or block the legislation. Intense messaging and demonstrations organized by those involved hit emotional tones. Legislative horse-trading

If you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. It’s an old axiom. A company of engineers may lean toward complex systems for rates. A special interest group in renewables may lean only toward that source as the ultimate answer. Public staff can lean one way or the other, seen that myself at the NC Energy Conference.

Objective regulators can be caught in the middle, really.

Energy Consumers of the Carolinas feels it is important for the regular customer to know about the bill; not saying whether it should pass as is. ECC does feel that electric customers would welcome simplicity and predictability.

General Assembly: Make a direct hit on this for the public.