A North American survey of NARUC and CAMPUT.

After years of delivering reliable, cheap, ubiquitous energy as its primary directive, the North American utilities industry is now facing growing political, societal and regulatory pressure to produce energy with less environmental impact and help consumers use it more efficiently. To meet this challenge, industry regulators are beginning to consider the role of the smart grid.

Designed to capture the latest regulatory perspectives on smart grid, renewable energy and automated metering infrastructure (AMI) issues, the survey of executives from 45 National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and 2 Canadian Association of Members of Public Utility Tribunals (CAMPUT) revealed that:

  • 38% of respondents already have regulations that require an AMI deployment
  • 7% reported they are allowing deployments without regulations
  • 22% reported additional analysis is either underway or required
  • 48% favor the recent formation of the FERC-NARUC Smart Grid Collaborative
  • 31% felt more time is needed before they can decide
  • 18 states have already joined the Collaborative

Results of the survey suggest that utility regulators are in the earliest stages of an education and valuation process about smart grid and renewable energy issues. It is a complicated process made more complex by existing laws and regulations. Yet, it is also a process that will inevitably evolve as the North American utility industry transitions to a cleaner, more efficient energy future.

The survey was conducted between September and November 2008, and expands on findings from the June 2008 NARUC Membership Energy Survey.