Evaluating Your Utility Rate Options  

Education Type: 
1 Hour
0.2 CEU

Utility rate structures are becoming increasingly complex, making it more important for federal agencies to periodically evaluate rate options to save costs and understand the impacts of anticipated load increases and decreases. During this training, the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) will cover basic utility rate concepts and introduce quick and simple approaches to help agencies evaluate rate options by utilizing REopt Lite. REopt Lite is a free web tool developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that can be used to identify an optimal system size for grid-connected, distributed energy resources but can also be used to compare the life cycle costs of different utility rates for specific sites.


Emma Elgqvist, Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory  

Emma Elgqvist is an engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. As part of the REopt team, Emma's work includes providing technical assistance and deployment guidance on distributed energy technologies, conducting renewable energy (RE) screenings, evaluating RE and storage deployment potential, and resiliency benefits of integrating renewables in microgrid designs. Emma holds a B.S. in industrial engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.S. in engineering management from the Colorado School of Mines.

Katy Christiansen, Project Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory  

Katy Christiansen is a project manager in the Project Development and Finance Advisory Group at NREL leading resilience and sustainability efforts. Katy's area of expertise includes strategic planning, project development, and analysis for the defense, federal, utility, and non-profit sectors. Her current focus is in resilience analysis for complex organizations and best practices for developing advanced infrastructure systems.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this workshop, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the basic electricity cost components included in a utility bill;
  • Follow specific steps to evaluate whether an alternative rate may be beneficial to their sites;
  • Compare the life cycle costs of different utility rates for a specific site using REopt Lite; and
  • Access resources and request FEMP assistance for conducting a rate analysis.
Federal Agencies and Facility Criteria: