Expanding the Scope of Commercial Opportunities for Investor-Owned Electric Utilities
Technological advances and a more engaged customer population are pushing utilities and their regulators towards new strategies that promote growth and transformation. Common to many of these efforts is an interest in expanding the set of profit-generating product and service offerings, hereafter referred to as alternative commercial opportunities, beyond just buying and selling electricity. Prior work has focused on specific categories and types of alternative commercial opportunities and in specific market segments. The report fills an important gap in the literature in two ways. First, we develop a comprehensive taxonomy to categorize the alternative commercial opportunities and provide numerous examples within each category. Second, we identify six issues that regulators may want or need to address when determining if and how investor-owned electric utilities pursue these commercial opportunities. The work is intended to inform regulators and decision-makers about how to navigate these broader reform opportunities, as well as rationalize their response within the context of their state policy strategy and in comparison to their peers in other states.