Utility Rate Case IT Strategy


The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies in the state of California. The CPUC serves the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy. The CPUC regulates utility services, stimulates innovation, and promotes competitive markets.

Project Overview & Objectives

Synaptitude, as part of a multi-consultancy project team, was engaged by the CPUC ‘s Division of Ratepayer Advocacy (DRA) to serve as a DRA Expert Witness. DRA Expert witnesses prepare and provide expert testimony regarding specific aspects of General Rate Cases (GRC) and Rate Design windows (RDW) brought before the CPUC by regulated entities.

Our Involvement

Synaptitude provided IT systems architecture, strategic, and cost analysis regarding San Diego Gas and Electric’s (SDG&E) Dynamic Pricing proceeding (A.10-07-008). Synaptitude assessed SDG&E’s existing IT systems and whether SDG&E’s request to modify and augment them to implement dynamic pricing and the associated costs are reasonable. Synaptitude provided a technical analysis of SDG&E’s proposed IT systems including costs, best practices, and alternatives such as Commercial Off-the Shelf Packages. Synaptitude provided expert analysis of messaging middleware and architecture, Data Warehousing, Customer Care and billing systems, Call Center/CRM systems, and end-customer web portals and decision analysis systems. Synaptitude prepared several initial IT position papers, developed the litigation position regarding IT investments, and prepared written testimony. In addition, Synaptitude assisted in developing expert testimony on SDG&E’s customer outreach/education/marketing proposals and alternative strategic rate design plans and approaches. Synaptitude was responsible for assembling the final testimony deliverable including detailed research into applicable dynamic pricing programs across the US and Canada.

Results and Benefits

As a result of this project, the CPUC/DRA was able to recommend alternative approaches to SDG&E’s dynamic pricing proposal potentially resulting in tens of millions of dollars in savings to the State of California and California residents.