The Economic Research Division is responsible for performing financial and quantitative analyses on behalf of the Public Staff.
With respect to financial analyses, the Economic Research Division works with the Accounting Division of the Public Staff to provide technical evaluations and recommendations to the North Carolina Utilities Commission (Commission) on the opportunity cost of capital. The opportunity cost of capital includes the cost rate of debt, the cost rate of equity, and the appropriate capital structure in setting the revenue requirement that underlies the rates ultimately charged to customers. Other financial analysis areas include: evaluating the financial cost and benefits of natural gas hedging, assessing the financial viability of conventional merchant power generators, assessing the financial viability of renewable merchant power generators, assessing the financial viability of water and wastewater utilities, and adjusting energy sales for abnormal weather.
With respect to quantitative analyses, the Economic Research Division works with the Energy Division of the Public Staff to provide technical evaluations and recommendations to the Commission involving: electric utility integrated resource plans, avoided cost rates for non-utility generation and demand-side management and energy efficiency riders, and certificate proceedings for a new generation. Additionally, the Division works on economic issues relating to fuel adjustment riders, Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard riders, and Competitive Procurement of Renewable Energy riders.