Former PUC Commissioner: Without Robust Set Of Consumer Protections, Regulators Won't Allow Electric Industry To Be As Competitive In Future
PUCs Will Give Regulated Utilities Greater Role In Consumer Protection If Consumer Harm Persists
May 16, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Speaking at DNV GL's Energy Executive Forum, Carla Peterman, former Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission, said that if greater consumer protections are not adopted, the retail electric industry of the future will have less of an opportunity for competition and an increased role for regulated utilities in consumer protection
Asked for a prediction on the future of the industry, Peterman said "I think in 10 years, the industry will have a more robust set of consumer protections, or it won't be allowed to be as competitive."
"As we've seen competition in gas and electricity, we are also seeing more predatory behavior happen with consumers and with vulnerable populations," Peterman said
"And those are what the legislators and the regulators hear about and are most concerned about," Peterman said
"You're only as good as your worst actor," Peterman said
Peterman said that the industry has seen a rush of new entrants who are, "not appreciating the long-term customer relationship."
Peterman cited as an example the distributed solar industry in California, where the PUC has inserted the utility, as the entity which is engaged in interconnection, into the process. As described by Peterman, the utility is now required to provide to the PUC the contracts of competitive solar providers. For example, the PUC requires solar providers to upload signed copies of a standard solar energy system disclosure document on the utilities’ websites, and providers must also upload the official solar contract and submit a valid license number.
"In ten years, the regulated entities will have a greater role in your business, if you don't provide consumer protection yourself," Peterman said