Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vermont Public Service Board Opens Docket 7523 to Review Vermont Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act of 2009 Interim Standard Offer Contract Prices

The Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) has opened Docket No. 7523 to review the interim "standard offer" contract prices for small scale renewable generators established under the Vermont Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act of 2009 (which was the subject of one of our prior posts). The PSB must complete this review by September 15, 2009.

In Docket 7253, the PSB is required to 1) assess whether interim prices stated in the statute constitute "a reasonable approximation" of the final prices the PSB will establish applying the statutory criteria, and 2) adjust any price found not to constitute such an approximation.

The statutory interim prices will apply pending the PSB's final determination of standard offer prices, which must take place no later than January 15, 2010. The statute directs the PSB to set final prices based on the cost of each type of renewable energy, and allowing for a rate of return on equity not less than the highest rate received by a Vermont investor-owned electric utility. It also, however, allows the PSB substantial flexiblity to adjust prices as it deems necessary to provide "sufficient incentive for the rapid development and commissioning of plants."

On June 19, 2009, PSB staff held a prehearing conference and workshop at which participants discussed the scope of the docket and identified an extensive list of substantive and procedural issues relating to contract pricing as well as other aspects of standard offer program eligibility and implementation. Subgroups were established to address Standard Contract Terms and Wheeling. Board staff plan to hold a second workshop, most likely an all-day event, in early July.

The PSB intends to establish a website for Docket 7253, where it will post relevant documents. We will provide a link once the PSB website is available.

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