|Grid Modernization Update
Cape Light Compact has partnered with the Cape Cod Technology Council to look further into the Smart Grid opportunities and what challenges face the regions of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. In August 2015, Eversource filed a $496 million grid modernization plan that seems more utility centric than customer focused. The costs of these plans will be borne by all electric customers, so it is important for all consumers get involved and learn about what is being proposed, and make sure that it is the best way to go for our region. Energy technologies are rapidly evolving, and we want to make sure the Grid Modernization plans will prepare our grid to leverage these technologies to enhance grid stability, resiliency, and integration of renewables.
At the end of June, the Compact and the Tech Council co-hosted a meeting kicking off a public education campaign where the featured speaker, Karl R. RÃ¡bago, a former U.S. Department of Energy official and nationally-known utility analyst, talked about the current transformation of electric utilities and benefits and challenges that consumers face. "This is the biggest change for electric utilities in the last century,' he noted. We are shifting from a mechanical utility structure in which power flows from the generating plant to the consumer, to one that has digital intelligence and power can flow in both directions. It opens up a lot of possibilities for power generation, storage, stability and local energy generation."
Some of the issues and questions that the Compact has identified are:
- How can we ensure that Cape and Vineyard consumers are not being charged for "grid modernization" improvements in other parts of the state?
- Should the region advocate for "smart meters" being installed on an opt-out basis for all customers and funded by all ratepayers, or should this be an opt-in process in which individual customers choose to have a smart meter installed and bear extra associated costs?
- What level of electric reliability and resiliency do consumers expect and how much are they willing to pay for that reliability? Are some of the costs in the resiliency section of the plan appropriate?
This plan is something that will affect all ratepayers on the Cape and Vineyard, and it is important for consumers to know what is being proposed. The Compact and the Tech Council will be working on holding public meetings in the fall to help educate what is planned.
If you would like more information on what is being proposed or would like to sign up to receive updates on this issue, please visit the Compact's website