E Source Report: MN’s e21 Initiative: The 21st Century Energy System

September 19, 2016 | Blog, Media

Report excerpt (shared with permission):
In Minnesota, the e21 Initiative (an abbreviation for the “21st Century Energy System”) aims to create a utility business model that uses a customer-centric framework where utility revenue is tied to performance and customers are given more options for how their electricity is sourced. The desired outcomes of the reform include more customer options, new rate design and ratemaking processes, system reliability, greater customer access and engagement, cost allocation and recognition of the full range of grid service benefits, and innovation to provide customer and system value.

The initiative to transition to a new utility regulatory model in Minnesota is led by a partnership between Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, the Great Plains Institute, the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), Energy Systems Consulting Services, George Washington University Law School, and other stakeholders. According to Mike Bull, the CEE director of policy and communications and former executive of Xcel Energy, the Minnesota e21 initiative is “a regulatory framework that better aligns how utilities earn revenue with customer demands and public policy goals.” This type of collaboration is an exemplary model for how states can balance the spectrum of customer needs, stakeholder desires, and public policy goals. The Minnesota e21 Initiative’s goals and mission statement, excerpted below, explains this perspective.

In July 2016, nation-leading energy industry service and resource provider E Source featured Minnesota’s e21 initiative in an ongoing series of reports about the evolution of utility business models across the country.

Co-coordinated by CEE and the Great Plains Institute, e21 unites utilities, consumer advocates, regulators, environmental advocates, and others to develop a 21st century energy system that better aligns a financially viable utility business model with increasing customer expectations and evolving policy goals.

“Minnesota’s e21 Initiative: The 21st Century Energy System” is the second report in E Source’s Utility Business Models for the Future series. The first in the series was “New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision,” and future reports will explore new utility business models that are being investigated in Hawaii, California, and Massachusetts. The series is available to E Source DSM service members, and the e21 report can be accessed by members in its entirety here.

Through its members-only website, which is constantly updated with new reports and resources informed by the latest data and best practices, E Source provides utilities and energy solution providers with trustworthy information and analysis to make better decisions on the challenges they face. In an earlier 2015 report on top utility trends, E Source’s director of strategy and new products wrote initially of e21:
Minnesota’s e21 Initiative (21st Century Energy System) is an ambitious effort to create a more “customer-centric and sustainable” utility regulatory framework for the state. This effort is notable for the support it has received from Xcel Energy and other key stakeholders. By taking a holistic and interconnected approach, the parties agreed that a more nimble regulatory process and a performance-based utility regulatory model would help the state meet emerging state and federal goals. This type of collaboration is an exemplary model for how states can balance the spectrum of customer needs, stakeholder desires, and public policy goals.

About E Source

For 30 years, E Source has been providing research, consulting, and market research to more than 300 utilities and their partners. This guidance helps its customers advance their efficiency programs, enhance customer relationships, and use energy more efficiently.


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