The Illinois Commerce Commission (“ICC”) last month initiated a statewide proceeding to transform the state’s utility grid. The initiative, known as NextGrid, will be a consumer-based, collaborative study led by an outside facilitator, that will explore anticipated technological advances and existing regulatory models. Based on the findings, recommendations will be provided to the ICC and the Illinois legislature regarding possible actions and policies that can have a positive impact on the energy landscape and the economy of the state. All stakeholders, including consumer groups, environmental advocates, utilities, academics, technology leaders, government agencies and any other interested parties, are invited to participate.
After the study is concluded, in approximately 18 months, the ICC is expected to issue an interim report in early 2018 and a final report in late 2018. The arc of this proceeding is expected to be much shorter than a comparable proceeding in New York with the Reforming the Energy Vision (“REV”) proceeding, which has been ongoing for approximately four years. The move toward transformation of the utility grid is being undertaken in several states and indicates that technological changes are driving changes in the utility industry.