BOMA/Chicago Steps Up to Challenges of NextGrid Illinois
NextGrid grew out of the December 2016 enactment of the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA - otherwise known as the Exelon bailout), which redefines major aspects of Illinois energy markets. It is an 18-month, collaborative study initiated by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to help define the “utility of the future” in Illinois in response to technological, market, and regulatory changes. NextGrid is a docketed proceeding by the ICC and is known as “NextGrid Illinois.”
NextGrid Illinois will most likely set the agenda for nearly all of BOMA/Chicago’s energy advocacy efforts for the next several years and may bring about the most substantial changes to all components of the energy market, utilities and the regulatory community since deregulation in the 1990s.
BOMA/Chicago has been participating in a coalition of stakeholders to actively engage in the ICC process and to monitor and participate in NextGrid Illinois events at the ICC. Much like BOMA/Chicago’s participation with other advocacy groups during the passage of FEJA, the mission of the coalition is to advance competitive markets and to encourage full disclosure of cost components and accurate cost allocation by utilities by empowering customers and ensuring that utility regulation, including NextGrid Illinois, is a transparent and open process. In other words, the coalition wants to understand all impacts to and costs for consumers, and BOMA/Chicago's interest specifically is to understand the impact and cost to BOMA/Chicago buildings and advocate on our member buildings' behalf.
At the launch of NextGrid Illinois on September 28, 2017, the ICC outlined a Working Group process that it would be following and has been pressing forward with selection of facilitator and will appointment of Working Group leaders. The Working Groups will be organized under three broad areas:
In December 2017, BOMA/Chicago's Energy Counsel and Consultant Michael Munson, was one of only 35 chosen from several hundred applicants to serve on the New Technology Working Group.
While NextGrid Illinois presents an opportunity for a wide variety of energy market participants, it also poses significant risks for energy consumers including BOMA/Chicago members. The process is designed to influence the next stage in restructuring the Illinois energy markets.
It is anticipated that at the conclusion of the process, the resulting report will be the basis for far-reaching energy legislation in the General Assembly. Without significant and dedicated effort, this effort can be easily dominated and driven by the utilities and well-funded environmental organizations.
More information on NextGrid Illinois can be found at https://nextgrid.illinois.gov/. For additional information, contact Ron Tabaczynski, BOMA/Chicago Director of Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 870-9611.