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What the State [Puerto Rico] Giveth [Monopoly Power to Its Electric Utility PREPA] the State Is Proposing to Taketh Away…

November 9, 2018

On October 17, Senate Vice President Larry Seilhamer and Minority Leader Eduardo Bhatia introduced Senate Bill 1121, The Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act, which would bring widespread change to the state’s electric utility industry. The most notable provision of SB1121 is the elimination of monopoly status for the island’s electric utility, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). PREPA is a government run agency that is responsible for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity for the vast majority of Puerto Rico’s population. The utility, which is currently $9 billion in debt, filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and is in the midst of a multi-year effort to rebuild the island’s electric grid which was severely damaged last year by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

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What’s Next for Duke Energy’s North Carolina Grid Modernization Plan?

November 5, 2018

In April 2017, Duke Energy proposed a $13 billion, 10-year plan to modernize North Carolina’s electric system. Dubbed the Power/Forward Carolinas initiative, Duke had proposed grid hardening, resilience, advanced metering infrastructure, and smart grid investments. However, after opposition from environmental groups, the plan was scaled down to $2.5 billion over a three-year period. Although settlement was filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) on June 1, 2018, on June 22, 2018, the NCUC rejected the Power/Forward Carolinas initiative outright without taking into consideration the settlement agreement.

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Nevada Proposes New Distributed Resources Plan

October 30, 2018

On October 8, 2018, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Nevada approved an Order requiring Nevada’s public electric utility, NV Energy, to incorporate Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), such as solar and energy storage, into its three-year system plan. The Order, in meeting the requirements of Senate Bill 146, requires NV Energy to submit a Distributed Resources Plan (DRP) as part of its triennial integrated resource plan.

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California Commits to 100% Carbon-Free Energy by 2045

October 24, 2018

On September 10, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown, signed Senate Bill 100 (SB 100) into law. SB 100 commits California to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045. With SB 100, California joins Hawaii and New Jersey as the first states committing to 100% carbon-free energy.

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Top Five Advantages of Applicant Tracking Systems

October 5, 2018

Finding the ideal candidate for every open position is critical for the growth of any organization. Aiming to increase recruiting efficiency and stay compliant, many large and mid-size companies have adopted applicant tracking systems (ATS), a software application that enables electronic recruitment processes. The top five most-valued benefits an ATS provides to an organization are highlighted below.

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EPA Proposes Affordable Clean Energy Rule as Replacement for Clean Power Plan

September 5, 2018

On August 21, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule as a replacement to the 2015 Clean Power Plan (CPP). The EPA had been expected to repeal the CPP ever since the former head of the department, Scott Pruitt, announced the agency’s intention to do so in October 2017.1 The new rule aims to create guidelines for states to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing coal-fired power plants and is subject to a 60-day comment period. The proposed rule will likely lead to legal challenges from environmental and clean energy groups. The EPA is hoping to finalize the ACE rule by early 2019.

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FERC Resignation May Mean More Gridlock

August 30, 2018

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Commissioner Robert Powelson recently concluded the shortest term of any leader in the regulator’s history. His departure leaves a considerable challenge for the remaining four commissioners to avoid gridlock with several critical policy discussions on the docket.

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NextEra to Close Duane Arnold Nuclear Plant in 2020

August 27, 2018

On July 27, 2018, NextEra Energy Resources announced that Duane Arnold Nuclear Plant will close in late 2020. Licensed until 2034, Duane Arnold had previously planned to shut down in 2025, following the expiration of its current Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between NextEra Energy, who owns 70% of the plant, and Alliant Energy, Duane Arnold’s largest customer. In exchange, Alliant will submit a $110 million buyout in September 2020 to cover the remaining five years of the PPA. Alliant will also purchase 340 MW from four NextEra wind facilities located in Iowa in exchange for ending the PPA. Officials for both Alliant and NextEra say cheaper prices for alternative energy sources drove the decision to close the plant.

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Florida Power & Light to Purchase Vero Beach’s Municipal Utility

July 20, 2018

On June 5, 2018, the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) approved the $185 million purchase of the Vero Beach municipal utility by Florida Power & Light (FPL). The approval came after debate on the portion of acquisition costs to recover from customers and the precedent such a deal may set for future acquisitions. FPL had shown an interest in this acquisition as far back as the 1970s. The FPSC’s approval came amidst increasing interest in utility asset sales and consolidation.

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The Seven Steps to GDPR Compliance

June 18, 2018

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became officially enforceable as of May 25, 2018. GDPR establishes sweeping regulations around the use, protection, privacy, and export of data for all individual persons within the EU. The regulation impacts both EU and non-EU organizations that house the data of EU citizens.

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Second Time’s the Charm: Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy Receive State Approval for Merger

June 13, 2018

Late last month, the Missouri Public Service Commission (MPSC) and Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) approved the $15 billion stock-for-stock merger of Missouri-based Westar Energy and Kansas-based Great Plains Energy, parent company of Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L). As a condition of the merger, these two companies will operate under a new holding company that will be named Evergy, Inc. The approvals of the KCC and MPSC were the two final hurdles to the deal as FERC approved the merger earlier this year and the shareholders of each company voted in favor of the combination in November 2017.

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A First-of-Its-Kind Move: D.C. Council Proposes a Revolutionary Approach to Distribution Planning

May 8, 2018

On April 10, D.C. Council members Mary Cheh and Charles Allen introduced the Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Authority Act of 2018, calling for several notable and unprecedented changes to distribution planning. Specifically, the bill introduces a new independent body that would undertake several activities normally performed by electric utilities, including non-wires alternative (NWA) planning and evaluation, customer data sharing, and distribution resource plan (DRP) development.

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