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Virginia’s Judge Jagdmann Installed as New President
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (November 11, 2021) — The much-anticipated meeting of the task force on transmission led by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was held on the final day of NARUC’s Annual Meeting and Education Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, November 7-10.
More than 800 state and federal regulators, industry, consumer advocates and others convened in person and virtually to witness this meeting and several other keynote addresses, committee meetings and other utility sector panels at the event. The conference kicked off with the annual changing of the guard, with new leadership installed for the coming year. Virginia State Corporation Commission Judge Judith Williams Jagdmann was elected as the new president, succeeding Commissioner Paul Kjellander, of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. Connecticut Commissioner Michael Caron is the first vice president and North Dakota Commissioner Julie Fedorchak is the second vice president, with Commissioner ToNola Brown-Bland of the North Carolina Utilities Commission remaining as treasurer.
The conclusion of the meeting marks the beginning of the second year of the three-year theme for the Association, Connecting the Dots: Innovative/Disruptive Technology and Regulation. In her installation remarks, Jagdmann said that it’s important to focus on sharing NARUC’s resources and analyses with members more widely to ensure that efforts “are not siloed.” Current challenges facing regulators such as rapidly evolving advancements in technology, customer expectations, decarbonization, electrification, cyber security, supply chain and an aging infrastructure are among the issues that will continue to be addressed.
"NARUC is not here to tell you what to do, but to assist you with analysis and information," she said.
A New Day for Transmission
The Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission represents a first-of-its-kind initiative. The 10 state members (two from each NARUC region) and four federal commissioners covered topics such as desired outcomes from the task force, incorporating state perspectives into regional transmission planning and next steps. Maryland Public Service Commission Chairman Jason Stanek, who serves as the task force vice chair, co-moderated a state-members-only panel with Jagdmann that preceded the joint forum.
FERC Chairman Richard Glick observed the “significant demand for additional investment in electricity transmission” and cited a host of things pushing the need (e.g., state policy, consumer demand and weather issues) to make the grid more resilient. He added that some issues come within FERC’s jurisdiction and others within state jurisdiction and “there's no need to look at this as a FERC issue or a state issue.”
Stanek described the forum as “a cross section of highly motivated state and federal commissioners…working together, finding issues and common solutions for this very difficult problem.”
More information on the public meeting and goals of the task force is available on FERC’s website at https://www.ferc.gov/TFSOET.
Understanding Emergencies and Navigating Dark Waters
Other sessions included an update from the NARUC Task Force on Emergency Preparedness, Recovery and Resiliency, which released publications that examine key regulatory considerations for emergency preparedness and disaster response and recommend specific actions for state public utility commissions to enhance energy system resilience to major disruptive events.
Another highlight of the meeting was Tuesday’s general session featuring a conversation with attorney and best-selling author Robert Bilott. His book, Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer's Twenty-Year Battle against DuPont, documents his battle to bring to light the harmful effects of PFOA chemicals contaminating the water in West Virginia and elsewhere. The book was the basis for the motion picture Dark Waters.
During the session, moderated by Illinois Commissioner Maria Bocanegra, Bilott described the “man-made toxins in drinking water, soil, vegetation and people.”
The full agenda from the conference is available here.
A slate of new resolutions were approved by NARUC’s board of directors as follows:
These resolutions, along with honorary resolutions, are available on NARUC’s 2021 Annual Meeting Resolutions page.
NARUC’s next meeting will be the Winter Policy Summit, scheduled as an in-person meeting in Washington, D.C., February 13-16, 2022.
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.