Deadline Approaching for Comments on Proposal to Reform Distribution System Planning and Allocation of Interconnection Costs

When the Massachusetts DPU opened docket DPU 20-75, I described it as a proposal to fundamentally change system planning and cost allocation in Massachusetts.  The interconnection process in Massachusetts has been a perpetual wellspring of challenges for installing distributed energy resources – challenges that have grown in scope and complexity in recent years.  Opportunities to rework the basic structure of that process do not come around every day.  The deadline to submit comments is December 17, 2020, and I hope for broad stakeholder involvement.

Since the DPU opened the docket with an Order and Attachment explaining its proposals, the DPU held a virtual question and answer session, for which it posted a summary.  Among other things, the DPU welcomed comments addressing procedural steps for the docket going forward and indicated that it would consider pilot programs.  Also on that call, the DPU asked the distribution companies to provide information on (1) the dollar amount that would have been associated with a cap on a reconciling fee to fund system modifications based on 1.5% of distribution company revenues in recent years and (2) the system modification costs for various types of interconnecting facilities over the past decade, including minimum, maximum, median, and average costs by year.  The information on historical system interconnection costs is quite interesting.  For National Grid, it is available here.  For Eversource, it is available here, and here.  And for Unitil, it is available here.  (The complete distribution company filings, along with other flings in the docket, can be accessed from the DPU’s “file room” website by entering “20-75” as the docket number.

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