One of the obstacles to achieving decarbonization in the electric power sector is that many of the laws and statutes that govern PUCs are antiquated. The absence of statutory requirements to consider climate effects in making electric power decisions can hamstring the transition to decarbonization.
This Model State Law Provision to Achieve Regulatory Realignment of Public Utility Policies with Energy and Environmental Goals provides a framework for promoting decarbonization by balancing a PUC’s economic and consumer protection goals of ensuring just and reasonable rates with existing public interest policies implemented through state energy and environmental officials. The Model Provision is not intended to be a comprehensive, stand-alone state law. Instead, it is series of provisions designed to be added to existing state legislation creating public service commissions and providing for their duties and responsibilities.
The three main objectives of these model provisions are to: (1) amend existing PUC rate-making authority to include consideration of the public interest and other environmental externalities related to climate effects; (2) ensure PUCs have sufficient staff, resources, and technical expertise to advance state energy policies through its regulatory decision-making or the ability to utilize other agency resources and expertise; and (3) create a state energy office or, if such an office already exists, amend its existing statutory framework to ensure that office has the authority to coordinate state energy goals, including carbon reduction objectives, with its PUC, coordinate state energy goals with other states and the federal government, and participate in regional discussions, including interstate compact initiatives.
This important contribution to the LPDD implementation project was drafted by Megan Terrell, a partner at Plauche & Carr LLP, of Baton Rouge, La, and was peer reviewed by Craig Gannett, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine in Seattle.