Ascend Analytics Establishes New Approach for Determining QF Rates to Protect Ratepayers

Ascend Analytics delivers expert testimony on new approaches to develop Qualify Facility (QF) power contract rates that protected the ratepayers’ and utility’s interests.  The QF rates applied a novel new economic construct that followed FERC guidance under the Public Utilities Regulatory Act (PURPA).  During expert testimony, witness Dr. Gary Dorris, substantiated wind energy purchase rates through a Differential Revenue Requirement (DRR) approach using Ascend’s PowerSimm software.  The hourly avoided costs measured through DRR are the QF power contract rates.

The DRR approach differentiated between hours of power imports and exports to determine the hourly avoided cost to serve load.  Under import conditions, the model calculated avoided cost as a function of market price.  During export conditions, avoided costs were a function of the utilities own production cost from a lower cost power plant.  The result of utilizing market interactions to determine the avoided cost of production yielded the a more consistent and lower avoided cost over other approaches.

Recent Ascend Analytics “Best Practices” Course A Rousing Success

Have you ever wondered how good Ascend Analytics’ Best Practices In Risk-Based Resource Planning Course is?  The latest round of attendees in San Francisco, California, offered nothing but high praise for the course’s material and its instructor, Ascend CEO Gary Dorris.

“I will be a much smarter regulator because of this course,” said California Public Utilities Commission analyst Alexander Cole; and David Miller, a senior regulatory analyst at CPUC, summed it up as “succinct relevant material expertly delivered.

The course came at just the right time for Ken Wong and his employer, Hawaiian Electric Company, where he serves as senior corporate energy planning engineer.  “We are very pleased with the conference as the time was perfect.  For several years we wanted to move toward incorporating stochastic analysis in our planning work so we could assess the variability of uncertainties we face.  We just didn’t have the software tools,” Wong said.  “We are looking to you to help train us by doing a stochastic analysis of our recent planning effort using your software.”

Redding Electric Utility Selects Ascend Analytics’ PowerSimm Software for Advanced Resource Planning

Ascend Analytics is pleased to announce that Redding Electric Utility (REU) has selected Ascend’s PowerSimm energy risk management software to provide its resource planning analysis.  Ascend’s ability to scale PowerSimm to the needs of our clients provides REU the advanced analytics utilized by larger organization, such as AEP and NRG, at a cost that fits the City’s budget.

Ascend Analytics’ PowerSimm software solutions will provide REU’s Resource Planning Group, run by REU Assistant Director Dan Beans, a complete platform for critical energy decision analysis, portfolio management, and long-term planning.  REU will be equipped with the analytic and data infrastructure to support the decision analysis needed to prepare the City for a broad set of Planning uncertainties.

REU’s Planning Group requires a comprehensive analytical framework, PowerSimm gets the details right through accurately representing the physical and financial dynamics of the energy supply markets.  PowerSimm’s output reporting will provide REU the tools to make critical decisions to decrease the uncertainty of the City’s cash flows, improve its energy position analysis, provide insights for detailed asset valuations, and most importantly – the necessary tools to provide reliable, safe, low cost power to the City of Redding.

We believe Barry Tippin, Assistant City Manager and REU Director, stated it best when presenting the decision to the Redding City Council:

“The increasingly complex markets and ever-changing utility industry have increased the need for comprehensive analytics and risk analysis to assist in making informed decisions on long-term resource planning. The proposed software will provide Redding Electric Utility (REU) Resources Division staff the ability to:

  • Evaluate a range of alternative resource strategies and specific new opportunities
  • Support REU’s hedging and risk management activities
  • Provide input to the budget as well as regular reporting to management and operations
  • Analyze proposed legislative and regulatory mandates that may affect existing and new resources

There is a select group of software/modeling companies that can provide the products and services to meet the utility industry’s needs in resource planning.  REU’s Resources Division has actively pursued and evaluated these companies and their software packages.  Through this process, Ascend Analytics distinguished itself with the capability to provide the needed software and support services required to meet REU’s needs.”

Gary Dorris, President and CEO of Ascend, reiterates Barry’s thoughts “Ascend is very pleased that our new “Software as a Service” offering can conveniently deliver to Redding the same quality analytics we provide to America’s top three electric utilities.  Ascend’s PowerSimm software will provide the analytic intelligence and insights necessary to support complex critical decision analysis posed to today’s municipalities.  We look forward to building a long lasting relationship with the City of Redding and providing solutions that will further enable Redding to continue to provide consistently low rates to their customer base.”

Ascend is excited about the REU implementation project ahead.  Ascend looks forward to meeting, and exceeding, the current and future analytic needs of Redding Electric Utility.  For more information on PowerSimm Planner, please contact Ascend Analytics’ Sales at or (303) 415-1400.

Ascend Analytics achieves “Best Practices” through Evergreen Economics Report

Ascend Analytics is proud to announce that it has achieved “best practices” through an Evergreen Economics Report.  In January 2014, the State of Montana Public Service Commission engaged Evergreen Economics, a third party consulting firm, to assist Commission staff in reviewing analysis conducted by NorthWestern Energy (NWE) and Ascend Analytics in support of NWE’s $900 million bid to acquire 11 hydroelectric generation assets from PPL Montana.  Through a systematic and thorough evaluation of Ascend’s software models and analysis, Evergreen Economics recognized Ascend’s models’ consistency and completeness with industry “best practices.”  It is highly unusual for a third party to give high praise in an evaluation, therefore Ascend is pleased with the outcome of this assessment.  Evergreen’s report further solidifies Ascend as a leader in portfolio management and long-term resource planning.  Ascend continues to stand apart from the competition by offering industry recognized “best practice” models and analysis, which enable power producers to better evaluate their portfolios, assess their risks, and maximize their revenues.