Brian Horii, one of the founding partners of E3, has more than 25 years of deep experience in cost of service, rate and program design, and power system planning. His work typically responds to quantitative questions that require both his industry expertise and extensive computer modeling library to produce material for use in regulatory proceedings, litigation, or utility planning and operations. Brian also has published extensively, with a list that includes 18 referred journal articles and many conference papers.
Brian has a reputation as the Swiss Army knife of E3. In addition to developing tools and advising on our most important projects, he oversees company operations. He also is the only E3 staffer who received an art scholarship to attend college. Visitors to our San Francisco office can see his beautiful landscape photographs, and we usually tap him as our staff photographer.
Brian is also one of the nicest guys in the office, and wears his Stanford colors proudly on the days before football games.
Education: MS, civil engineering and environmental planning, and BS, civil engineering, Stanford University
- Time Dependent Valuation of Energy for Developing Building Efficiency Standards
- CPUC Avoided Cost DRAFT Results
- Avoided Costs 2016 Interim Update
- The Benefits and Costs of Net Energy Metering in New York
E3 Managing Partner Ren Orans provided expert testimony on behalf of the California ISO in San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s successful application to build the Sunrise Powerlink, a 500 kV transmission line that delivers renewable energy from the Salton Sea and Imperial Valley areas to San Diego. Our analyses demonstrated both the need for the proposed line and a net economic benefit. We performed a resource assessment and created a supply curve, including transmission costs, for each major renewable energy basin in the Western Electric Coordinating Council region. We quantified benefits in generation cost savings from reduced economic congestion across the region, reliability improvement and capacity market savings from increased firm-transfer capability into the San Diego area, and renewable procurement savings from improved access to low-cost renewable resources. Energized in June 2012, Sunrise helped prevent blackouts that summer by allowing replacement power to flow from Arizona when wildfires in the San Diego area shut down local infrastructure.
Our work for Vancouver-based BC Hydro began with the design and implementation of an innovative multipart rate structure that included customized baselines for each of its 100 largest industrial customers. In 2008, E3 began assisting the utility with developing and implementing inclining block rate structures to encourage conservation. These ranged from a simple, two-step residential inverted block rate to more-complex baseline structures for commercial customers. Our process included surveying default rates for large general service and residential customers in other markets, analyzing usage characteristics, examining class segmentation options, and ensuring that our proposed rates adhered to BC Hydro’s cost of service principles and regulatory rate-making framework. E3 also developed materials for customer engagement, solicited feedback through moderated customer sessions, and provided expert witness testimony.
E3 has supported electric rate design in Hawai‘i since 2005. Currently, E3 is assisting Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) on next-generation retail pricing strategy and rate designs that align with the state’s goal of meeting its 100 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements in a way that encourages cost-effective deployment of customer-owned distributed energy resources. HECO first retained E3 to recommend a strategy for developing rates that would encourage conservation to mitigate the impact of high electricity supply costs on its customers. We recommended a three-tier inclining block structure, which is still in place, to minimize increases on small customers and provide conservation incentives to large customers. We also helped get the rate approved, preparing direct testimony and presenting to the utility’s board of directors.
Litigation: pipeline toll restructuring proposal | Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, 2013–14
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) retained E3 to develop regulatory strategy and testify before the Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) in proceedings opposing TransCanada’s proposal to restructure tolls on the Mainline, which transports natural gas from western Canada to eastern markets. TransCanada had proposed restructuring tolls to maintain the line’s economic viability, as throughput declined due to soaring shale gas production in the northeastern U.S. The proposed change shifted fixed costs away from shippers, who were direct customers of the Mainline, toward producers, who were supplying gas to TransCanada’s own distribution network. Our alternative on behalf of CAPP offered a performance-based incentive with some pricing flexibility and balancing accounts that allowed TransCanada a reasonable opportunity to increase throughput and revenues and recover its investment. The NEB ultimately rejected TransCanada’s proposal in favor of CAPP’s, averting a shift of $300 million per year in fixed costs to western Canadian gas producers.
E3, as electric rate consultant to the Port of Long Beach, the nation’s second-busiest port, led negotiations with Southern California Edison (SCE) to achieve electric rate discounts in recognition of the Port’s electrification program and resulting reductions in emissions of GHGs and criteria pollutants. Negotiations led to the California Public Utilities Commission’s March 2014 approval of SCE’s Rate Schedule ME, which provides electric rate discounts and a program under which SCE installs major electric infrastructure at no cost to the port or its tenants. These measures support critical electrification and environmental improvement projects at the Port, which is expected to quintuple its electric usage by 2030. The projects will improve air quality in the region, and rate discounts are expected to yield more than $300 million in savings over the term of the agreement.
E3 built on a collaboration with Con Edison going back to 2000 to develop an integrated demand-side management (IDSM) model that expands the utility’s distribution planning capabilities. Using detailed data on customer populations, the tool assesses market potential for dispatchable distributed energy resources (DERs) within local electric networks, enabling Con Edison to identify lower-cost ways to alleviate local distribution constraints.
Con Edison has integrated the IDSM tool into its distribution planning practices and is using it to help realize the New York State Public Service Commission’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative. The E3 team continues to refine and enhance the tool, which won the 2014 Utility Analytics Institute Innovation Award.
Since 2004, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has used E3’s Avoided Cost Model (ACM) to estimate the benefits of energy efficiency, distributed generation, energy storage, and other distributed energy resources (DERs). The ACM has evolved along with energy markets and policy in the West, and it currently projects avoided costs for energy, losses, generation capacity, ancillary services, subtransmission and distribution capacity, renewable portfolio standard purchases, carbon allowances, and other air permit costs. The 30-year hourly forecast is differentiated across California’s 16 climate zones.
The CPUC approves over $1 billion in annual funding for DERs using these avoided costs for its cost-effectiveness tests. The ACM is suitable for stakeholder processes and contentious regulatory proceedings because it uses robust methods and publicly available input data. E3 also allows the download of the ACM so that all stakeholders can audit any of the calculations.
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