November 16, 2021 — Report

Future Electric Utility Regulation

According to the Partnership for Southern Equity, equity is just and fair inclusion, and energy equity is the fair distribution of the benefits and burdens of energy production and consumption. In the context of electric utility regulation, equity can be a goal, tool, or metric. For example, the primary goal of electricity affordability programs, disconnection moratoriums, and rate discounts is to advance equity. Public participation and intervenor compensation are critical equity tools. Appropriate metrics are needed to track and evaluate results of policies, regulations, and programs intended to deliver equitable outcomes. All of these approaches are needed for successful energy equity initiatives.

States are increasingly recognizing equity as a goal of utility regulation, going beyond the traditionally stated objectives to ensure that electricity systems are reliable, safe, and fairly priced. State initiatives are critical not only to address historical inequities, but to ensure equitable benefits and burdens in the transition to net-zero emissions by 2050. Several states have enacted legislation to require or explicitly authorize utility regulators to consider equity, for all decision-making or for specific types of decisions—for example: