A Triple Bottom Line for Electric Utility Regulation: Aligning State-Level Energy, Environmental, and Consumer Protection Goals


Aligning state policy goals can help keep the lights on and electricity prices affordable while also promoting investments in clean energy technologies and efficiency measures that protect public health and the environment. This Article explores the opportunities and challenges to aligning state energy, environmental, and consumer protection goals within the current regulatory system, and proposes a “triple bottom line” (“TBL”) approach to state utility regulation to achieve this alignment.  The original TBL concept encourages businesses and governments to measure value by considering environmental and social dimensions in addition to fiscal considerations.  By comparison, the TBL approach for electric utility regulation proposed here aims to harmonize existing state policy goals of ensuring: (1) affordable electricity; (2) reliable electricity; and (3) protection of public health and the environment.  Specifically, it allows officials across state governments to consider how their roles affect all three TBL pillars, thereby enabling informed decision making and comprehensive problem solving to improve outcomes across all three goals.

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