What is MEDSIS?
MEDSIS — or Modernizing the Electric Delivery System for Increased Sustainability — is the comprehensive Commission initiative to foster regulatory and technology innovation, with the goal of accelerating the District’s transition to a smart, modern, customer-centric, and clean energy system without compromising affordable rates, safety and reliable service. Currently, stakeholders engaged in Phase 2 of the MEDSIS Initiative which comprised of six working groups tackling key grid modernization topics, like non-wires alternatives to traditional grid investments, distributed energy resource integration, and future rate design models. Each group developed recommendations on these topics as well as how to incentivize clean and sustainable energy resources in the District and further the Commission’s Vision for the modern energy delivery system.
What was the purpose of the stakeholder process?
The stakeholder process ensured that diverse experiences, thoughts, and backgrounds are considered, so that recommendations coming from the working groups will address the District’s needs in a more holistic manner.
What were the working groups in the stakeholder process?
How long was the stakeholder process?
Phase 2, the stakeholder process began in August 2018. The working groups compiled and filed their recommendations with the Commission in May 2019.
Can you give me a few examples of the types of topics stakeholders addressed in Phase 2?
- What legal and regulatory changes may be needed to support the goals of MEDSIS?
- How will modernizing the grid further the District’s existing environmental, energy, and climate change goals?
- How will customer protection, privacy, and security be ensured?
- What alternative regulatory and rate designs might advance the MEDSIS Vision?
- What is the role of utility ownership of distributed energy resources (DERs), including energy storage and microgrids?
- How will pilot project proposals and results be evaluated? What metrics do we need to develop?
How is the MEDSIS process different from a traditional PSC docket?
Rather than a traditional regulatory process, wherein the Commission issues notices of proposed rulemakings and policy changes for public comment, the MEDSIS working groups were designed to foster a collaborative dialog between all interested stakeholders, who were given the opportunity to propose how the Commission should act on the front end. The working group meetings consisted of interactive conversations and targeted exercises intended to help the group develop recommendations and meet the stated group objectives. MEDSIS takes a holistic approach to realizing the Energy Future for the District.
Who could have participated in the working groups?
The working groups were open to any interested persons. The working groups included developers, utilities, consumer advocates and community groups, environmental organizations, government, consultants, providers of technology solutions, citizens, and other electricity market actors.
Why does the Commission think this process is important?
The Commission is committed to ensuring grid modernization in the District open, transparent, and built on input and recommendations from a wide variety of voices. The working group process provided the needed public insight and assurance that the recommendations that came out of the MEDSIS process were based on unbiased analysis that balances trade-offs among competing priorities to achieve its goals and vision.
How is the MEDSIS initiative addressing the clean energy and climate goals of the District?
One of the goals of the MEDSIS Vision is to further the District’s clean energy policies. Each working group had a hand in developing recommendations that consider the District’s goals as well as how to best achieve the MEDSIS Vision. For example, the Data and Information Access and Alignment (DIAA) working group developed recommendations to the Commission for how to measure and track objectives to further the District’s clean energy goals.
How is the Commission addressing the needs of all customers while integrating more clean and sustainable energy resources?
The Commission formed the Customer Impact working group to answer questions such as: What information and tools are needed to enable all customers to make smart energy choices and lower their costs? and What types of clean energy programs can be developed to benefit low and limited-income customers without raising their current home energy cost percentage?
How is the Commission addressing the changing role of the utility during the grid modernization process?
The Commission ordered the Non-wires Alternative (NWA) working group to discuss Pepco’s proposals and plans for grid updates, including how emerging technologies can be used to defer or eliminate the need for traditional infrastructure investments. The NWA working group also made recommendations to the Commission on new processes around distribution resource planning and NWA consideration.
How is the Commission addressing the role of microgrids in the District to encourage an energy delivery system with increased sustainability?
The working group discussed critical issues such as customer choice and protection, compensation, ownership, and business models for microgrids.
What evaluation criteria will be adopted for the pilot projects that are developed and deployed as part of the MEDSIS Initiative?
Based on stakeholder input, the Commission already set out key evaluation criteria for the pilot projects. The Pilot Project working group further refined these criteria, and incorporated work done by other working groups, including the DIAA working group.
How is MEDSIS addressing new rate designs to incentivize and integrate more DERs on the grid, including electric vehicles?
The Rate Design working group investigated which alternative rate designs, including performance-based regulation and time of use rates, could be most effective in driving down costs, incentivizing behavioral changes for both companies and ratepayers, and deploying more clean energy technologies, including electric vehicles.
What are the next steps now that the working group process in MEDSIS has been completed?
Now that the working groups have delivered their recommendations to the DCPSC in May 2019, the Commission will develop an implementation plan for Phases 3 and 4. These phases will include the implementation of the working group recommendations and submission and selection of proposals for the MEDSIS pilot projects. The pilots will aid in testing business models and nascent technologies prior to full deployments.
MEDSIS is fairly comprehensive and yet there are several dockets that are related. How were interrelated matters handled?
We recognized that with several related activities underway appropriate information sharing and working group coordination is critical to ensuring the success of the working group process. While active dockets are not discussed, the DCPSC took appropriate steps to facilitate this vital coordination, including assigning a Staff member to each of the MEDSIS working groups, tracking the working groups’ progress, and engaging stakeholders in a suitable and transparent manner.