Comprehensive Utility Consulting Services

Client: Pedernales Electric Cooperative
Location: Johnson City, Texas

Summary

Burns & McDonnell provided a comprehensive set of utility consulting services to Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC). PEC is the largest electric distribution cooperative in the country in terms of meters served. In 2014, PEC engaged our team to develop a detailed load forecast, an integrated resource plan, a depreciation rate study, a cost-of-service analysis and a retail rate design analysis. The efforts include detailed development and analysis of time-of-use (TOU) rates, distributed generation rates, renewable tariffs and energy conservation rates. We also provided public involvement services and worked with community stakeholders and other customer groups to obtain input for the rate design prior to establishing and finalizing rates.

The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) analyzed a variety of plans to provide the utility with a long-term plan for its power supply portfolio. The study included a range of future scenario conditions aimed at meeting utility goals or potential risk factors. Scenario considerations included varying ranges of participation in a wholesale power agreement purchase, renewables and energy efficiency goals. Once complete, the study provided a long-term road map for power supply decisions and highlighted the assumptions that drive increased customer cost.

The public involvement campaign created to support the cost-of-service and rate design study focused on obtaining data-rich feedback from cooperative members. Four focus groups were conducted with key stakeholders and members of the general public to identify opportunities for future dynamic rates, the general perceptions of existing rates, and to gain feedback on proposed marketing and branding materials. Using data gained from the focus group meetings, our team created a survey for PEC members that sought feedback in the areas of member satisfaction, rates and fees, dynamic rate options, and renewable energy. Thanks to a successful marketing effort, 7,735 cooperative members participated in the survey.

The comprehensive electric cost-of-service and rate design study included the development of the overall system revenue requirement, analysis of costs of service, and development of a rate plan for implementation. The study results enable PEC to establish an independent cost-of-service model to determine the cost of providing electric service and establish a baseline for electric rates. The study identified the cost to serve each class of customers and the appropriate rates for each rate class. Included with the rates developed are standard rate design and innovative rates designed to encourage customer engagement in utility initiatives.

The comprehensive depreciation rate study was prepared for the transmission, distribution and general plant system assets.  Burns & McDonnell provided services in data collection, reconciling account balances with the client, site inspections, engineering assessment, and completing useful life analyses relating to the development of revised depreciation rates for the utility. Additionally, our team provided a project report summarizing the study efforts and findings.

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