PURA meeting in Milford Credit: Brian McCready file photo

With the state looking to become one of the first to establish performance-based regulation for electric utilities, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority will host a workshop Monday when the public can comment. 

The workshop will start at 10 a.m. and will feature several presentations, including a panel that will discuss how this type of regulation is working in other jurisdictions. The event will be remote and can be accessed after registering here

Earlier in the month, PURA issued a paper to provide further information as to what it has found over the last two years during its investigation on how to implement performance-based regulation for Eversource and United Illuminating Company.

The paper goes over what themes have been discussed by the utility companies as well as organizations, as well as the establishment of metrics, which will help officials determine results. 

Connecticut legislators passed the “Take Back Our Grid Act” in October 2020. With this legislation utilities will be tied to a performance-based incentive system, linking earnings and profits to good performance and service disruptions with penalties. PURA is the agency that will develop the new regulation system.

State Senator Norman Needleman, chair of the legislature’s Energy & Technology Committee, said not many issues evoke such a negative emotion than the topic of utilities, but that this work has the potential to be groundbreaking. 

“This will be the same kind of change we saw when deregulation occurred, except in a positive way,” Needleman said. 

In 2021, PURA set up docket No. 21-05-15, where it stores information regarding its investigation as comments from organizations like Save the Sound, Operation Fuel, and Center for Children’s Advocacy.

“We believe that EDC performance goals should be directly tied to how effectively they reduce and eliminate involuntary, intentional service terminations due to both grid instability and unaffordability,” wrote Gannon Long, Policy & Public Affairs Director at Operation Fuel, in comments submitted in May. “When weather events cause power outages, the PBR framework should incentivize companies to communicate proactively, honestly, and clearly about the causes of the outage and service restoration. The framework should also give customers a platform to report, and for PURA to penalize companies when their personnel mislead customers or unreasonably withhold information regarding service restoration.”

The workshop on Monday will be the third one PURA has held. To learn more about performance-based regulation, the public can view a video on the topic by going here.