This was interesting to read as it had recently come up in conversations in both the UK and Germany too. Utility companies using their financial and regulatory muscle and influence to squeeze independents out of the market, or at least make for an unlevel playing field. Of course you would expect the utility companies to fight back, and so they should for their shareholders, but the big danger is that they use their incumbent position and influence to create legislation and models that favour them, to the detriment of competition and innovation, and ultimately the end consumer. I think the fight could get dirty.
That was the case earlier this year, when AEE was opposing AB 2868, proposed by Assembly Member Mike Gatto. While the state has already directed investor-owned utilities to add 1,325 MW of storage on the grid, the new bill would allow them to own an additional 500 MW of storage capacity behind customers' meters, using ratepayer money to finance the investments. That provision drew concerns from private storage providers. “It is a general competitive concern for anyone offering any sort of distributed energy resource," Chadima said. "If a regulated entity is allowed to participate directly they will have an unfair advantage." "They have all the customer contacts, a lower cost of capital and they get a guaranteed rate of return on any investment they make," he added. "It’s a 1-2-3 punch if you’re a private company trying to compete.”