Ok, that’s not exactly how the headlines read. But if you skimmed the news on Monday, chances are you noticed stories like “Supreme Court Upholds Efforts on Managing Electricity Use Through Pricing” and “FERC’s ‘Demand Response’ Rule Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court”. So just what happened at SCOTUS that stole (if only briefly) the media spotlight from The Donald?
At issue before the Court was a 2011 rule by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) allowing electric utility customers to be compensated at wholesale prices — which can spike to several times the level of retail prices — for saving their electricity usage during periods of peak demand.
“In other words, utility customers who save energy at specific times are now entitled to receive payments.”
Not surprisingly, the rule, known as FERC Order No. 745, was challenged in a district court by a group of electric power producers. (They claimed the rule encroached on states’ regulatory jurisdiction over retail sales of electricity.) Other groups, however, considered this challenge a cynical attempt by power producers to restrict competition and keep more power plants running instead of encouraging energy savings.
So what does it all mean, Basil? While the Court’s upholding of Order No. 745 is a win for competition and consumers, the reality remains that most electricity users — households, in particular — are too small to engage directly with the wholesale power markets. This is where OhmConnect comes in. We manage the cost and complexity of participating in the electricity markets on behalf of our users, so that each individual household can focus on our simple value proposition: “Save energy, get paid.” Thousands of California households are already using OhmConnect’s free service to take charge of their energy, and Monday’s Supreme Court decision marks an important first step towards expanding our service to electricity markets in the Midwest and Eastern U.S.