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May 15, 2020

NYS PSC Commences Planning for Upgrades to Utility Distribution and Local Transmission Facilities

In an order issued yesterday, the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC) kicked off the first phase of the planning process for the upgrades to New York State’s transmission and distribution facilities that will be required to meet Governor Cuomo’s ambitious clean energy goals. The PSC’s order, issued pursuant to the recently adopted Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act, requires electric utilities regulated by the PSC to work together on a study of the upgrades to their distribution and local transmission facilities required to meet New York State’s clean energy goals.

The utilities are required to provide their preliminary results by August 1, 2020, and to submit final results, including a list of potential distribution and local system upgrades, by November 1, 2020. The PSC intends to seek public and stakeholder comment on these proposals and to act on them after receiving that input.

The PSC also requested input and proposals for the development of a transparent planning process to identify additional projects on the utilities’ distribution and local transmission systems that support achievement of New York State’s clean energy goals as well as an approach to evaluate the costs and benefits of these projects.

As part of this discussion, the PSC suggested that some projects may provide multiple benefits, such as replacing aging assets, while simultaneously furthering New York State’s clean energy goals. In these circumstances, the PSC suggested it might be open to recovering part of the cost of those projects in a manner that would reflect the state-wide benefits they provide. These utility proposals are due on or before October 5, 2020.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact George Pond, partner, at; Angela Sicker, law clerk, at; or another member of the firm’s Regulatory Practice Area.


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