Power Path DC

Power Path DC

The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia issued the first of a series of Orders in its grid modernization proceeding, Power Path DC, formerly known as MEDSIS (Formal Case No. 1130, Order No. 20286).

The goal of Power Path DC is to ensure that the District’s energy delivery system remains safe, reliable, and affordable while also becoming more sustainable, resilient, and secure. Power Path DC is also linked to the District’s energy and climate action policies as articulated in the District’s clean energy, climate and sustainability plans. 

This Order approved several recommendations from the Power Path DC stakeholder process, including:

  • Adopting a new Distribution System Planning Process that allows for a more open and transparent stakeholder engagement; 
  • Establishing a Secure Portal for Data Sharing;
  • Launching the establishment of the Power Path DC Pilot Projects Governance Board;
  • Approving a new Retail Choice website that will provide a central clearinghouse for information about third-party energy suppliers to consumers in the District;
  • Reconvening the rate design working group and creating a time of use rate design proposal;
  • Establishing a microgrid proceeding to inform our further decision-making about the development of the energy distribution systems in the District; and
  • Issuing of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Non-wires Alternative and Advanced Inverter definitions.

The Commission extends its thanks to the 240 participants in the Power Path DC stakeholder process that contributed to the adoption of the aforementioned recommendations.
 
Chairman Willie L. Phillips said, “This initial Order outlines the critical next steps to achieve the Power Path DC vision. Our strategic vision includes customer-focused distribution system planning, clean and renewable energy supply, microgrids, innovative rate design, and grid modernization pilot projects.”

Background: 

On June 12, 2015, by Order No. 17912 issued in Formal Case No. 1130, the Commission opened this proceeding to identify technologies and policies that can be implemented in the District of Columbia to modernize the distribution energy delivery system for increased sustainability (MEDSIS). Since its inception, the Commission has been committed to engaging stakeholders and the public at large in the MEDSIS process to help identify key issues as well as leverage stakeholder insight and expertise to help inform the Commission’s decision making.

In Phase 1 of the MEDSIS Initiative, the Commission, in addition to aligning on-going and related cases and initiatives, held numerous technical workshops and town hall meetings; issued a detailed Staff Report outlining the Commission’s jurisdiction, identifying regulatory barriers to grid modernization, and providing a framework for the subsequent MEDSIS Initiative phases, including Pilot Project Funding parameters; and adopted the MEDSIS Vision Statement and Guiding Principles which provides a flexible framework to guide the Commission’s future decision-makings around grid modernization matters.

In Phase 2 of the MEDSIS Initiative, the Commission contracted with Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) as the MEDSIS Working Group facilitator and began the year-long stakeholder working group process by first approving the formation of six working groups:

  1. Data and Information Access and Alignment,
  2. Non-Wires Alternatives to Grid Investments,
  3. Rate Design,
  4. Customer Impact,
  5. Microgrids, and
  6. Pilot Projects.  

The MEDSIS Working Groups collaboratively developed charters, goals, and expected outcomes for each group taking into consideration the MEDSIS Vision Statement and the District Government’s clean energy policy goals.

Phase 2 of the Initiative, the MEDSIS Working Group process, culminated in the submission of the Final Working Group Report on May 31, 2019, containing 32 recommendations and learnings for Commission consideration.