Rate freezes, arrangements where utilities are prohibited from filing rate cases, have been commonly used nationwide since the 1990s. Today, rate freezes or rate case moratoriums are in place across multiple jurisdictions impacting 70 utility companies. While these arrangements have overwhelmingly originated from past rate cases and are intended to benefit consumers; arguably adverse consequences can also be inherent with such arrangements.
The table below provides a summary of some of the current rate freezes and their origins.
Summary of Rate Freezes and Related Actions
|Rate Freeze Expires
|Arizona||Arizona Public Service||7/1/16||The Company is to refrain from filing its next general rate case prior to 5/31/15, and base rates may not change prior to 7/1/16 – as per 5/15/12 base rate case.|
|Arizona||Southwest Gas||5/1/17||The Company is prohibited from filing a new rate case prior to 4/30/16 and base rates may not change before 5/1/17 – as per 1/18/12 ACC settlement.|
|California||California Pacific Electric||1/1/16||The Company is not permitted to file a new rate case that would become effective prior to 1/1/16 – as per 11/21/12 PUC settlement.|
|California||Pacific Gas & Electric||1/1/15||The Company is subject to a stay-out that applies to gas transmission and storage operations freezing base rates until 1/1/15 – as per 2011 settlement.|
|California||San Diego Gas & Electric||1/1/16||The Company is not permitted to file for a general electric or gas rate increase that would become effective prior to 1/1/16 – as per 5/1/13 rate case decision.|
|California||Southern California Edison||1/1/15||The Company is not permitted to file for a general electric rate increase that would become effective prior to 1/1/15 – as per 11/1/12 rate case decision; however, attrition rate increases were allowed in 2013 and 2014.|
|California||Southern California Gas||1/1/15||The Company is not permitted to file for a general gas rate increase that would become effective prior to 1/1/16 – as per 5/1/13 rate case decision.|
|Colorado||Public Service Company of CO||1/1/15||The Company is to refrain from seeking a permanent or interim base rate increase that would become effective prior to 1/1/15; however, additional rate increases became effective in Jan. 2012, Jan. 2013, and Jan. 2014.|
|Connecticut||Connecticut Light & Power||12/1/14||The Company was required to freeze electric rates until 1/1/14 and file a rate case in June 2014 to become effective at the end of the freeze.|
|Delaware||Delmarva Power & Light||8/1/15||The Company is to refrain from filing its next gas rate case prior to 1/1/15 and prohibited from implementing a base rate increase until 8/1/15.|
|Florida||Duke Energy Florida||1/1/19||The Company was required to freeze base rates through 2018 – as per 10/17/13 rate case settlement.|
|Florida||Florida Power & Light||1/1/17||The Company obtained approval for a base rate increase on 1/1/13, which requires a rate case moratorium through Dec. 2016, except for increases in 2013, 2014, and 2016 to address three generating plant modernization projects.|
|Florida||Gulf Power||7/1/17||The Company obtained approval for a base rate increase in 2015 and cannot request an increase to be effective prior to 7/1/15 unless return on equity falls below 9.25%.|
*For the complete list of rate freeze actions, please refer to the SNL report listed below.
Utility rate freezes and similar incentive rate initiatives have inherent benefits and corresponding costs to be considered:
SNL: RRA Special Topical Report; “Rate Freezes: Their Historical Context and Prevalence Today”
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