With some of the highest electricity prices in the United States, and mindful of the massive disruptions to its electric service caused by Hurricane Sandy, New York has undertaken a major reform of its electric utility industry. This reform begins with the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC), which has recently issued a broad-scale initiative to change the way utility service is provided that may serve as an example nationwide. The reforms will radically alter the way electric utility services are provided and priced to customers.
The far-reaching program is called the Renewable Energy Vision, or “REV.” Its major thrust seeks to decentralize power supply by encouraging businesses and retail customers to install small generating resources or “distributed energy” on site. The program includes incentives for installation of fuel-efficient power units, renewable resources such as solar and wind, and for development of microgrids and community solar. The NYPSC seeks to create a decentralized and resource diverse power supply system that can prove less susceptible to disruption caused by a single event, and replace it with a more reliable and dynamic system. The proposed reforms redefine the role of public utilities while seeking to ensure their financial survival in a decentralized power world.