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For Immediate Release: July 24, 2013
Contact: Robert J. Thormeyer, 202-898-9382, rthormeyer@naruc.org

Pipeline Safety, Cyber Security, Lifeline Reform, Consumer Protections Top NARUC Agenda

DENVER—Pipeline safety, cyber security, lifeline reform and consumer protection topped the agenda during the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Summer Committee Meetings in Denver.

At the conclusion of the NARUC Board of Directors meeting today, the Association adopted several resolutions calling dealing with the Lifeline telephone subsidy program, promoting pipeline safety, the State role over transmission and resource planning,  new policies over communications during power outages, reiterating concern with numbering trials for Voice over Internet Protocol, among others.

NARUC is the national association representing the State Public Service Commissioners who regulate essential utility services, including energy, telecommunications, and water. NARUC members are responsible for assuring reliable utility service at fair, just, and reasonable rates.

The resolutions were approved by the Association’s various committees and Board of Directors during the Summer Committee Meetings. The resolutions are now considered NARUC policy, providing guidance and positions for the Association’s advocacy before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, and the courts.

A summary of each resolution is below. The final resolutions are on the Association’s Website:

CA-1     Resolution Recognizing the Importance of Educating Consumers on Portable Generator Safety   
The Resolution encourages Commissions to urge utilities to post the model generator safety information on their websites and distribute it to their customers.

CI-1    Resolution Regarding Cybersecurity Awareness and Initiatives
The Resolution encourages State collaboration with entities with cyber-threat management/mitigation expertise.

EL-1     Resolution Regarding the Enforcement of PURPA Standards and Regulations

The resolution urges FERC, when responding to future complaints, to also consider (i) whether the applicant exhausted other available State remedies, (ii) whether the applicant allowed existing State appeal/rehearing options to lapse unexercised before seeking FERC enforcement, (iii) the impact of contract and other pertinent State law, and (iv) whether, as part of the required Section 210(b)(1) public interest determination, the subject action results in just and reasonable retail rates

EL-2    Resolution Regarding State Authority Over Public Utility Resource Planning
This Resolution concludes that Order No. 1000, as implemented, inappropriately infringes on State authority reserved by Congress over integrated resource plans, generation and transmission decisions, assurance of resource adequacy and reliability, and authorization and construction of new facilities;

EL-3     Resolution Opposing a New Tax for the Decommissioning and Decontamination Fund

The Resolution supports environmental cleanup of these sites, but U.S. electric utilities and their customers should not be singled out yet again to pay for decommissioning and decontamination of DOE facilities developed for nuclear weapons and national defense programs.

GS-1     Resolution Encouraging Natural Gas Line Investment and the Expedited Replacement of High-Risk Distribution Mains and Service Lines     
The Resolution encourages States to fully explore, examine, and implement alternative rate recovery rate mechanisms that will accelerate the modernization, replacement and expansion of the nation’s natural gas pipeline systems. The resolution also encourages regulators and industry to consider sensible programs aimed at replacing the most vulnerable pipelines as quickly as possible along with the adoption of rate recovery mechanisms that reflect the financial realities of the particular utility in question

TC-1     Resolution to Improve Lifeline Annual Recertification Process

The Resolution commends the FCC efforts to eliminate waste, urges the agency to examine the recertification process to ensure legitimate participants continue to receive benefits, and supports a Federal-State collaboration to minimize waste.

TC-3    Resolution Calling for the Development of National and State Policies to Ensure Reliable Wireline and Wireless Communications During Power Outages

The Resolution urges State and federal regulators to discuss ways to ensure reliable during commercial power outages.

TC-4    Resolution Concerning Numbering Trials for Voice over Internet Protocol and Other IP-Enabled Services

The Resolution affirms the FCC should apply numbering resource utilization and optimization rules and obligations equally to all service providers, urges States and the FCC to work together to jointly ensure that interconnection of next generation communications network technologies is accomplished in a way that protects the public interest.

TC-5    Resolution Urging the Federal Communications Commission to Act Transparently in Deploying Formal CAF-II Rules and to Direct Funding to Ensure Comparable Voice and Broadband Services to Customers in the Nation’s Highest-Cost Areas
The Resolution asks the FCC to ensure the directives of Congress are met and universal service support is distributed in a process that allows States a meaningful opportunity to review and comment on all changes to the CAF-II USF model.

WA-1    Resolution Recognizing EPRI’s Water Quality Trading Project  
The Resolution commends EPRI for instituting best practices in water quality trading, and encourages States support similar programs.

WA-2  Resolution Supporting the Consideration of Regulatory Mechanisms and Policies Deemed “Best Practices” for the Regulation of Small Water Systems

The Resolution supports outlined “best practices” and recommends regulators consider and adopt as many as appropriate.

WA-3    Resolution Addressing Gap Between Authorized Versus Actual Returns on Equity in Regulation of Water and Wastewater Utilities

The Resolution recommends economic regulators carefully consider and implement appropriate ratemaking measures needed to assure water and wastewater utilities have a reasonable opportunity to earn authorized returns.

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NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC's member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of State public utility commissions before the three branches of the Federal government.

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