by EQ Research
January 17, 2017

The U.S. map below indicates where general rate cases are in progress as of December 31, 2016. Scroll over any state to reveal which investor-owned utility or utilities have an active rate case in that state.

Through the rate-case process, dozens of U.S. utilities have proposed changes in recent years that would alter the value of customer-sited distributed generation (DG), as well as energy efficiency and energy conservation. These proposals include:

  • Raising the monthly fixed charge for certain types of customers (often by more than 25 percent), while also reducing volumetric (i.e., kWh) charges
  • Imposing a demand charge and/or other charges on DG customers, including solar generators
  • Creating a separate customer class for DG customers
  • Altering the value of net metering -- or eliminating it altogether

Eleven utilities filed new rate cases in Q4 2016. Of those utilities, all but one proposed raising their monthly fixed charge for residential customers (see Figure 1). Eight utilities proposed raising their residential fixed charge by 50 percent or more, with three utilities -- LG&E (KY), Kentucky Utilities and Gulf Power (FL) -- proposing to raise their charges by more than 100 percent. Notably, Gulf Power has proposed to raise its charge by 155 percent, from $18.85 to $48.03.

FIGURE 1: Proposed Residential Fixed-Charge Increases -- Rate Cases Filed in Q4 2016

Source: EQ Research

Of the 17 rate cases decided in Q4 2016, state regulators approved higher fixed charges for residential customers in only six cases. Most of the increases approved were relatively modest, with the exception of Alliant Energy’s rate case, in which Wisconsin regulators allowed Alliant to raise its monthly charge from $7.67 to $15.00. On the other hand, no increase was approved in eight of these cases, and reductions to the residential fixed charge were approved in three cases.

FIGURE 2: Existing vs. Proposed vs. Approved Residential Fixed-Charge Increases -- Rate Cases Decided in Q4 2016

Source: EQ Research

Significantly, Connecticut regulators reduced United Illuminating’s monthly service charge for standard residential service (Rate R) from $17.25 to a maximum monthly service charge of $9.64. UI had proposed maintaining its $17.25 charge. In its decision, the state's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority noted that it is required by statute to establish a maximum residential customer charge for standard residential service in each investor-owned utility’s next rate case, pursuant to legislation enacted in 2015. This development could establish a precedent for similar legislative efforts in other U.S. states.

FIGURE 3: Existing vs. Proposed vs. Approved Residential Fixed-Charge Increases -- Rate Cases Decided in Q4 2016

Source: EQ Research


In partnership with EQ Research, GTM Squared brings you a series of visualizations that map, graph and chart issues important to the clean energy industry across the U.S. These visualizations will be updated quarterly and serve as an up-to-date resource for Squared members.