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Board Adopts Resolutions Targeting Electric Vehicles and Water Consumers
NEW ORLEANS (November 16, 2022) — At its 134th Annual Meeting and Education Conference, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners welcomed nearly 1,300 attendees as regulators, industry and others convened to cover a range of energy and utility issues.
NARUC members also elected a new slate of officers, which includes new president, Michael Caron, a commissioner at the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Caron succeeds Virginia State Corporation Commission Judge Judith Williams Jagdmann.
“Let us not forget, that we commissioners and commissions are considered the honest brokers, the fact finders, the fair, the reasonable and the prudent,” said Caron during his installation remarks, adding, “Our mission, if we chose to accept it, is to look out for the integrity of the grid.”
Other new officers are First Vice President Julie Fedorchak, who chairs the North Dakota Public Service Commission, and Second Vice President Tricia Pridemore, chair of the Georgia Public Service Commission.
Transmission Task Force and Key Sessions
The four-day event featured three days of well-attended general sessions; 20 concurrent panels on focused, topical areas; and several subcommittees. The general sessions examined issues related to the role of natural gas in the nation’s clean energy transition and the interrelationships between state utility commissions, legislatures, utilities, consumers and Wall Street.
Other relevant topics included diversity, equity and inclusion in the utility/energy space; electric vehicles, telecommunications/broadband, critical infrastructure and more. NARUC also co-locates its meeting with the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates and attendees may freely attend both groups’ sessions.
Of particular interest was the fifth meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission led by FERC Chairman Richard Glick and Maryland Public Service Commission Chairman Jason Stanek. The task force, comprised of all FERC commissioners and two state representatives of each NARUC region (for a total of 10), welcomed two new members: Darcie L. Houck from the California Public Utility Commission and Tricia Pridemore from the Georgia PSC. Held before a standing-room-only audience, the agenda title for this meeting was Addressing Regulatory Gaps/Challenges in Oversight of Transmission Development.
Attendees had an opportunity to experience first-hand demonstrations of new and emerging technology solutions to resilience planning, emergency preparedness & response and recovery challenges in the energy sector. A post-meeting bonus was the “Investing in Grid Resilience: Capitalizing on Federal Funding and Technical Assistance Opportunities” workshop. The half-day workshop featured representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy Grid Deployment Office, who provided an overview and answered questions on federal grid resilience programs, including those under sections of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and other related federal programming.
The opening general session, which included officer nominations and elections, an In Memoriam tribute and reflections from Jagdmann, also featured a special honor for international service. Commissioner Dan Scripps, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission, received the Terry Barnich Award for his record of international volunteerism.
The prestigious award recognizes state commissioners and staff who promote international cooperation among utility regulators and the development of professional regulation. The award is named in honor of former chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission Terrence "Terry" Barnich, who served as chairman from 1989 to 1992. He was killed on Memorial Day, May 25, 2009, while working as the deputy director of the State Department office overseeing U.S. reconstruction projects in Iraq. The Terry Barnich Award is the highest honor bestowed by NARUC’s Committee on International Relations. To read the related press release, visit bit.ly/Barnich22.
The NARUC Board of Directors passed three resolutions during the meeting that are focused on water and electric vehicles, as follows:
Resolution on the Urgency of Preparing for Widespread Transportation Electrification
Sponsored by the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment, the resolution recommends that relevant agencies and groups work with NARUC to develop resources and/or training programs to address issues presented by widespread EV adoption and work with utilities to ensure that new investments are coordinated with existing programs and minimize costs.
And two resolutions sponsored by the Committee on Water, as follows:
Resolution Calling for Permanent Annual Federal Funding for a Low-Income Water and Wastewater Assistance Program
Resolution urges Congress to provide permanent annual funding for a federal low-income water and wastewater assistance program.
Resolution Supporting Fair and Equal Customer Access to Federal and State Drinking Water and Wastewater Funding Programs
Resolution urges Congress and state general assemblies to take steps and make any necessary program modifications in federal and state law to assure that customers served by private utilities have fair and equal access to federal and state water and wastewater programs.
Read the full descriptions of these resolutions at bit.ly/NARUCANNUAL22Resolutions.
The next NARUC meeting will be the Winter Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., February 12-15, 2023.
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.