The Importance of Understanding "Renewing the Energy Vision" (or, as we prefer it, WTF is REV?)

Here at Sane Energy Project, we're all about envisioning a future of, um, well, sane energy. Shortly, there will be public hearings held statewide on REV (Reforming the Energy Vision), an initiative that will determine our future energy choices, and it is crucial that we (the public) be well informed in our comments.

REVREV is a regulatory reform initiative sponsored by the PSC (Public Service Commission), the state-level agency that oversees energy policy. REV will affect all energy users in NYS. Here's what the PSC says about REV: "The Commission is considering a new business model for energy service providers where distributed energy resources becomes a primary tool in the planning and operation of the electric system."

Sound good? YEAH! "Distributed Energy Resources? Gee, that sounds like rooftop solar, wind farms, and community-based decision-making! Or does it mean lots of new gas power plants all over the place?

Here's what PSC say are their six policy objectives: 1) To enhance customer knowledge and tools to enable customers to manage their energy bills and provide them more choice* in how they use energy; 2) To animate the market** and leverage ratepayer contributions; 3) To promote system-wide efficiency;*** 4) to increase fuel and resource diversity;**** 5) to enhance system reliability and resiliency;***** 6) to reduce carbon emissions.******

Still sound good? Ummm . . . Ok, here's what they say next: 

"The REV regulatory proceeding involves two tracks. The first track, which has been the subject of two publicly held technical conferences and one publicly held symposium, and now the subject of the public statement hearings, explores the role of distribution utilities in enabling system-wide efficiencies and market-based deployment of DER (Distributed Energy Resources) and load management. The first track will also consider the role of the incumbent electric utilities and whether they should serve as the Distributed System Platform (DSP) provider, the entity that will manage and coordinate DER, as well as wholesale market issues and opportunities for customer engagement. The second track will address the regulatory changes and ratemaking issues that will be necessary to implement the REV vision."

Got that? Yeah, neither do we.

Seeking further enlightenment? Don't look here (The PSC's web page about REV). Hmmm. A public agency requesting public input about obscure regulations presented in an utterly opaque way--what does this remind us of??? (Hint: FERC?)

Happily, there are two opportunities to have this information translated into layperson's terms: A briefing call will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 28th at 8pm. Call: 302-202-1108, Conference Code: 999246. Additionally, an in-person briefing will take place as a prelude to the regular NYC Grassroots Alliance meeting on February 2nd (the night before the NYC hearing). Click here for details. Can't make it to either briefing? Check out this online resource from our friends at AGREE.

For details about the NYC hearing on February 3rd, please click here for the afternoon session and here for the evening session. We hope to see you there!


* PS: Call us cynical, but we have a vague memory of  "more choice" being the catch phrase used to sell everything from utility deregulation to health care.
**PPS:"Animate the market?" You mean, make it attractive for investment in infrastructure? Are we talking offshore wind or pipelines here?
***PPPS: "System-wide efficiency? That could be storage systems for solar energy, or it could be networking gas pipelines (see "diversity of supply). 
**** Oh F*** it; we're out of PS's! In case it wasn't obvious, whenever the phrase, " fuel diversity" is used, cue the nukes and frackers. Beware the call for more gas-fired power plants to "benefit ratepayers." 
***** "System reliability and resiliency:" In our dreams this means that no terrorist could take down the entire Northeast by cyber-flipping the wrong switch and that we'd have enough rooftop solar in place to be back up and running after the next Sandy. Is that what PSC means?
******What about METHANE emissions?