The retail rate impacts of a number of emerging trends (e.g., rapid deployment of electric vehicles and storage, transmission build-out for large-scale renewables deployment, and grid modernization) are unknown. Importantly, decision-makers are concerned about the potential future rate impacts on energy affordability and equity. We disaggregate the key drivers of retail electricity rates and assess their impacts on future rate growth considering their interactions and uncertainty. Specifically, we develop ranges of future cost growth for a generic investor-owned and vertically-integrated electric utility representing typical cost and operating characteristics. The rate driver growth rate ranges are applied in isolation and jointly to quantify the uncertainty and variability in future retail electricity rates. The results identify what rate drivers and factors may minimize and/or decrease uncertainty in retail rate growth and their linkages to industry trends.


Journal Article