Friday, November 11, 2016

Peco backs away from $35M microgrid project

Peco has called a retreat on plans to install a $35 million self-sustaining “microgrid” in Delaware County after the proposal generated stiff opposition from customer advocates. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Andrew Maykuth writes:

The Philadelphia utility, in a filing posted with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, withdrew the plan to build the experimental microgrid in an area of Concordville that has endured a large number of power outages.

The proposed microgrid, which could operate independently of the regional power grid during a widespread outage, included 10.5 megawatts of natural-gas and solar-power generators and 200 kilowatts of battery storage.

But advocates for small businesses, consumers, industrial users, and retail energy suppliers had questioned whether it was proper for Peco to reenter the power-generation business it had been forced to spin off under the 1996 Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act.

The advocates also questioned whether all Peco customers would benefit from the project, whose costs the utility had proposed to recover in rate surcharges that would affect all of its 1.6 million customers. Peco said the impact would eventually require an increase of about 29 cents a month for a residential electrical customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours.

Peco’s proposal “raises significant legal and policy questions,” the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate said in a June filing with the PUC.

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