Welcome to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ Grid Modernization Homepage
The modern electric system that we envision will be cleaner, more efficient and reliable, and will empower customers to manage and reduce their energy costs. The modern electric system will build on the Administration’s progress towards our clean energy goals by maximizing the integration of solar, wind, and other local and renewable sources of power. It will minimize outages by automatically re-routing power when lines go down, and immediately alert the utility when customers have lost power. Because customers will have new tools and information to enable them to use less electricity when prices spike, the electric system will be appropriately sized and less expensive.
On June 12, 2014, the Department issued an order (D.P.U. 12-76-B ) requiring each utility in Massachusetts to develop and implement a 10-year grid modernization plan, to be updated regularly. The Department determined grid modernization will provide several benefits including:
• Empowering customers to better manage and reduce electricity costs;
• Enhancing the reliability and resiliency of electricity service in the face of increasingly extreme weather;
• Encouraging innovation and investment in new technology and infrastructure, strengthening the competitive electricity market;
• Addressing climate change and meeting clean energy requirements by integrating more clean and renewable power, demand response, electricity storage, microgrids and electric vehicles, and providing for increased amounts of energy efficiency.
At the same time we issued a companion order on time varying rates (D.P.U. 14-04-B ) which recognizes that the cost of electricity changes dramatically over the course of a day and year. Currently, most customers pay a flat rate. The Department’s proposal in the time varying rates Order would require utilities to set prices that take into account the varying costs of electricity and allow customers to make informed decisions on their electricity use throughout the day.
The Department seeks comment from interested persons on the policy framework outlined in D.P.U. 14 04 B. Written comments must be submitted no later than the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on July 3, 2014. Written comments may not exceed 25 pages in length.
Grid modernization and time varying rates also will allow the Commonwealth to reduce peak demand, a tremendous savings opportunity for all customers, not just those who respond to price signals. Currently, for reliability purposes, all customers pay to have an electric system that can provide power during peak demand periods, even if those periods occur only a few times a year. Grid modernization and time varying rates will lead to lower electricity use during peak demand periods, reducing the need to build new energy infrastructure and saving money for all.
The path to achieve this vision cost-effectively and through thoughtful deliberation was begun in October 2012, when the Department issued a Notice of Investigation into the modernization of the electric grid (D.P.U. 12-76 ). From November 2012 through June 2013, stakeholders discussed grid-facing and customer-facing issues relating to the modernization of the grid. On July 2, 2013, the stakeholders submitted a final report file size 1MB to the Department with their recommendations. On December 23, 2013 the Department issued an Order (D.P.U. 12-76-A ) containing a straw proposal for moving forward with modernizing the electric grid, based in large part on the deliberations of the Working Group.
To learn more about the grid modernization stakeholder process that was conducted from November 2012 through June 2013, please visit the facilitator’s website.
This information is provided by the Department of Public Utilities.