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NARUC Winter Policy Summit Addresses Critical State and National Priorities
Federal Representatives Encourage Continued Dialogue with State Leaders
WASHINGTON—More than 1,493 attendees convened in downtown Washington, D.C., to hear from state and federal regulators, stakeholders and national experts at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Winter Policy Summit.
This meeting represented the first conference under the leadership of NARUC President Nick Wagner of Iowa, under his year-long ‘Leading the Way’ theme. He kicked off Monday’s opening session, which featured representatives from federal agencies: Environmental Protection Agency, Energy and Information Administration and the United States Agency for International Development.
Other noteworthy presentations were delivered from the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and representatives of trade and consumer groups.
At the closing session, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski delivered an address, which noted priorities that are important to state regulators. One issue in particular is Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, for which NARUC has called for reforms. She noted that the energy landscape has changed since the inception of PURPA and that “common-sense reforms are in reach.”
Another item on the minds of NARUC and state commissioners is the matter of nuclear waste disposal and revisiting the process for determining a waste repository. Murkowski said that it’s “absolutely key” to move forward on this issue. Nothing that “I feel more optimistic than ever” that there will be action on nuclear waste disposal.
FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee’s presentation carried a theme of collaboration between state and federal regulators. He also noted that “bringing modernization of PURPA has been a priority.” FERC’s Order 1000 will be revisited, he said, along with Order 79, to better understand if the right types of transmission are being incented.
Chatterjee said that the recent passing of former FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre is a personal and professional loss still being felt, but still “continuing to reap the benefits of his leadership.”
Throughout the four days of meetings, most sessions had full audiences who were actively engaged in the panels.
“This was an excellent policy summit, full of enthusiasm and exciting speakers and panels. NARUC continues to focus on providing educational content to members and stakeholders in the utility regulatory space,” said Wagner. “We heard and learned about the issues that continue to be important across all sectors.”
Announcements and Resolutions
The substantive resolutions are available at http://bit.ly/2019WinterResolutions.
The next NARUC meeting is the Summer Policy Summit, which will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, July 21-24, 2019.
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.