Supporting its Case “If a utility is well managed under a PBR plan, the interests of the utility’s customers and shareholders will be aligned,” noted Feingold. Black & Veatch helped Fortis navigate the PBR concepts and regulatory mechanisms, finding the best fit approach for its utility operations and service offerings. The experts studied Fortis' plans, suggested best practice concepts, and testified before regulators on how the plan would work. “Because of our work on regulated utilities across North America and internationally, we were able to provide knowledge of the broader industry landscape," Feingold said. "We have knowledge of how PBR works elsewhere, and were able to compare, contrast and help conceive of a PBR plan that the regulator felt was appropriate in British Columbia.” Fortis was successful in making its case before the regulator to approve the utility’s PBR proposal, which will extend through 2018. Half a continent away, Black & Veatch also helped another Fortis-owned utility in Arizona successfully petition to change its rates to align them with its customers’ changing electric usage patterns. Solar Challenge Arizona ranks as one of the sunniest places in the world, so it's no surprise the Southwestern state has become a leader in solar power. But if homes and businesses generate their own electricity via the sun, fewer homes will pay for the electricity infrastructure required to provide utility services to customers with and without solar power under the utility’s then current rates. Tucson Electric Power (TEP), another Fortis utility operating company, needed to assess the impact of these solar loads on its electric distribution grid. It needed to create a plan for petitioning state regulators to adjust its rate structures to align rates with the costs the utility incurs to provide utility service. Through its extensive work in this area, Black & Veatch has gained in-depth knowledge of the manner in which a utility incurs costs to serve different types of customers and how these customers impact the operation of the utility’s distribution grid. These cost characteristics affect how rates should be set so that all customers are charged fair and equitable prices for the utility services they require. Working with TEP's sister company, UNS Electric, Black & Veatch analyzed the incremental costs incurred by UNS to connect a new customer — such as a home or business generating its own electricity — to its electric distribution system. "It's about balancing the interests of cost efficiency and providing choices to customers," Feingold said. "You don't want to get in the way of progress, but you don't want those who can't afford it or don't install (solar) to subsidize those who do want it.” Black & Veatch helped support the rate proposals made by TEP and UNS Electric, and it provided expert testimony on the conceptual and analytical bases for the proposals in three separate regulatory proceedings. While TEP didn't receive approval for all the rate changes it had proposed, Feingold said meaningful progress was made. "No regulator wants to be criticized as being anti-conservation or anti-renewables, but you also don't want the utility and certain of its customers to be placed in a financially stressed position. You have to find that appropriate balance of economic and societal considerations,” he said. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you. 0 Related Insights With Grid Modernization, Utilities Poised For Most Visible Transformation The annual Strategic Directions Report series offers analysis and insights into key issues and trends facing the smart cities and utilities, electric, natural gas, and water utility sectors. FLNG Solutions Prove To Be Much More Than Potential It was roughly a decade ago when the initial introduction of floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) solutions sought to help bring uneconomic gas reserves offshore, such as those in remote locations, to the market. Over the past few years, however, we’ve watched as offshore FLNG capabilities have moved closer to the mainland, offering a very flexible and economical solution to operators looking to offload their supply around the world. Four Big Trends in Gas-to-Power Hold Promise for U.S. Market Major energy shifts are afoot, and the United States will play a critical role going forward. 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Related Project Stories Customer Engagement Leads to Safer Natural Gas Operations for Community Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) is serious about their commitment to safe and reliable operations. To bolster their residential natural gas meter protection efforts, BGE partnered with Black & Veatch on an integrated plan to relocate and safeguard meters for more than 16,000 natural gas customers in the Baltimore, Maryland, region. Black & Veatch Supports the Ratemaking and Regulatory Activities of its Utility Clients Canadian utility group Fortis Inc. owns a number of gas and electric utilities across North America. Two of these utilities faced ratemaking challenges that were impacting the level of rates paid by certain customers and the utilities’ future financial health. 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