In Oregon, for example, electricity rates fell nearly 1.5 percent in January and less than 1 percent in February, although some companies such as Portland General Electric have modestly raised rates. Still, rates at that utility remain well below the national average. The utility, the largest in the state, gets about 20 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric plants, 13 percent from wind turbines and 2 percent from solar panels.
The utility has also recently installed software to better enable it to absorb energy from sources such as rooftop solar panels and batteries, by neighborhood and by company. This gives the company more control and flexibility.
Many grid operators and utility companies have not invested in such tools and cannot monitor and control small energy systems to choose – the cheapest renewable energy sources during the day, taking into account whether the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.
“We have been focused on renewable energy for more than a decade, leveraging technologies to enable us to integrate increasing amounts of renewable energy at the lowest cost to customers,” said Maria M. Pope, the CEO of Portland General, in a statement. an interview. †
In much of the United States, utilities are fighting the growth of rooftop solar. California regulators have proposed sharply reducing incentives for residential solar systems, though the measure has stalled amid opposition from the solar industry and homeowners. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis recently vetoed a bill backed by utilities that would have effectively removed incentives for roof panels.
Still, utilities said they knew they couldn’t just keep raising rates, especially as more people were using the grid to power electric cars and heat pumps.
In general, greater reliance on the grid will lower costs, said Richard McMahon, senior vice president of energy supply and finance at the Edison Electric Institute, a utility industry group. Electric cars and heat pumps, for example, will require less maintenance, make refueling at petrol pumps unnecessary and reduce heating costs.