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NARUC President Presley Announces New Task Force Members, Convenes Utility and Energy Dialogues at National Policy Summit
Resolutions, Federal Speakers and Awards also Highlighted at Utility Conference
WASHINGTON (February 12, 2020) — Utility regulators from across the country convened in Washington, D.C., at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Winter Policy Summit February 9-12 to address energy and utility priorities facing U.S. states.
NARUC President Brandon Presley of Mississippi led four days of committee meetings and general sessions focused on a range of utility issues across the electricity, water, gas and telecommunications spectrum. The approximately 1,500 attendees heard from a range of representatives from state regulatory commissions, consumer advocates, federal representatives and industry groups.
At the opening general session, Presley announced the names of state regulators tapped to serve on the new Broadband Expansion Task Force: Chris Nelson, chairman (S.D.); Crystal Rhoades, vice-chair (Nebr.); Tremaine Phillips (Mich.); Lea Marquez Peterson (Ariz.); Maida Coleman (Mo.); Todd Hiett (Okla.); Sarah Hoffman (Vt.); Karen Charles Peterson (Mass.); Talina Mathews (Ky.); Charlotte Lane (W.Va.); and Paul Kjellander (Idaho).
“The availability of broadband service in underserved areas is of critical importance,” said Presley.” I am pleased to have assembled an excellent team of commissioners, each of whom bring exceptional perspectives and expertise to the issue. Broadband is the electricity of the future.”
The charter outlining the purpose and rationale for the task force is located online at bit.ly/broadbandtaskforce.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee addressed state commissioners, detailing the need for PURPA reform, continued focus on cyber security and ways that the agency can engage collaboratively with state regulators. He also noted new changes coming to the FERC website. Chatterjee stressed that despite areas of contention with the states, there are many areas of collaboration between FERC and state regulators.
FERC Commissioner Bernard McNamee, who delivered comments to a packed audience, said that although he will not seek re-nomination, he will not leave the commission without a quorum.
The NARUC Board of Directors approved its first slate of resolutions for 2020.
The resolutions are available at bit.ly/2020WPSFinalRes. Honorary resolutions recognizing several members were also approved and are online at bit.ly/2020WPSHonoraryRes.
NARUC held a brief awards presentation on Tuesday named in honor of the late Ray Baum, staff director of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who was a former commissioner at the Oregon Public Utility Commission. Joe Witmer, Pennsylvania Public Service Commission staff member and counsel to Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, received the Ray Baum Memorial Leadership Award, which was presented by Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, a friend and colleague to Baum. The event was attended by Baum’s widow, Kristine, and their six children.
Several members were also recognized for their service on NARUC committees.
NARUC will host two more meetings in 2020: the Summer Policy Summit in Boston, Mass., July 19-22, and the Annual Meeting and Education Conference in Seattle, Wash., November 8-11..
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.