Resolution Recognizing the Value of the Electric Power Grid

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WHEREAS, the U.S. electric power grid delivers a product essential to all Americans; and

WHEREAS, electricity runs our economy—it powers our homes, businesses, industries, and the smart technologies and innovations that enhance our quality of life; and

WHEREAS, the electric power industry is leading the transformation to make the grid more flexible and more resilient to meet the growing demands of our digital society; and

WHEREAS, the electric power industry directly employs more than 500,000 American workers and is the nation’s most capital-intensive industry, investing more than $85 billion per year, on average, in capital expenditures, including investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, the use of the electric power grid is evolving and the need for facilitating power flows in two directions is growing so that customers can engage in both purchases and sales of energy, and provide other services such as balancing, voltage support, and voluntary load management; and

WHEREAS, there is growing interest in rooftop solar panels and other small-scale, on-site distributed generation (DG) systems and these DG systems can offer economic, reliability, and environmental benefits to consumers and utilities; and 

WHEREAS, most DG owners still rely on the electric power grid for balancing power supply, buying power when their DG system isn’t producing, selling power and ensuring reliability of power; and

WHEREAS, many States, recognizing the value of DG in their States, have implemented policies, taken regulatory actions, and offered tax and other incentives to encourage the deployment of such DG systems and some of those policies have made the recovery of the fixed costs of the electric power grid more challenging; and

WHEREAS, the future of America’s vital electricity sector will continue to be a promising one as long as regulatory and legislative policies are fair and forward looking; and

WHEREAS, many States are reviewing their policies to ensure that DG owners are fairly compensated for the benefits their systems provide while also ensuring fixed costs of the electric power grid are recovered. 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments encourages state policymakers to recognize the value the electric grid delivers to all and to: 

  1. Evaluate the system-wide benefits and costs of DG (including costs and benefits relating to the investment in and operation of generation and the transmission and distribution grid) so that those costs and benefits relating to DG can be appropriately allocated and made transparent to regulators, legislators and consumers; and
  2. Facilitate the continued provision of safe, reliable, resilient, secure, cost-effective, and environmentally sound energy services at fair and affordable electric rates as new and innovative technologies are added to the energy mix; and 
  3. Update policies and regulations to ensure that everyone who benefits from the electric power grid helps pay to maintain it and to keep it operating reliably at all times.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments’ staff is encouraged to support States with education initiatives for its members by webinars, meetings, written communications and other means; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution are transmitted to the president of the United States, members of Congress, governors, leadership in all state legislatures, state public utility/service commissioners and chairs of relevant state House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over energy and electricity policy. 

Adopted December 13, 2015 by The Council of State Governments’ Executive Committee.