For Immediate Release: November 19, 2015
Contact: Regina L. Davis, 202-898-9382, email@example.com
Clean Power Plan, cyber and telecommunications among a host of timely and controversial issues
WASHINGTON—At the 127th meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, members elected Montana Commissioner Travis Kavulla as President. The membership also elected new officers, passed several resolutions and confirmed former Michigan Commissioner Greg White as the new Executive Director.
The meeting attracted more than 1,200 attendees to Austin, Texas, where sessions covered a range of issues relevant to utility regulators. Among those topics were the Clean Power Plan, broadband, cyber security and a closing panel focused on the effect of the legal marijuana industry on a variety of utility sectors.
NARUC is the national association representing the State utility regulators who regulate essential utility services such as electricity, telecommunications, gas, water and transportation.
Immediate Past President Lisa Edgar led general sessions on “Consumers, Convergence, and Change,” which was her theme for 2014-15. The discussions explored the challenges faced by diverse utilities and the collaborative potential for better serving consumers.
Speakers included Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy; Tesla’s CTO Jeffrey Brian (J.B.) Straubel; and FERC Commissioners Tony Clark, Colette Honorable and Cheryl LaFleur.
NARUC members also elected Commissioners Robert Powelson of Pennsylvania as First Vice President and John Betkoski of Connecticut as Second Vice President. Each will serve a one-year term.
“It is my honor to lead NARUC in its 127th year of representing the interests of State Commissions, who are charged with balancing the needs of consumers while regulating the utilities in a fair, reasonable manner,” said President Kavulla. “I am looking forward to working alongside First Vice President Powelson and Second Vice President Betkoski, as well as our talented and focused Executive Board as we address the pressing issues faced by our members. Also, I commend Past President Edgar on her excellent leadership during the past year.”
Kavulla’s installation remarks captured the essence of those issues, as he heralded the technological revolution of the communications sector and indicated that the electric sector needed to be prepared for similar innovations. He highlighted the topics he will feature during his year at the helm of the Association, including the organization of the nation’s wholesale electricity markets and the pricing of customer-owned generation. Kavulla also criticized what he referred to as “rent-seeking behavior” that might result from the EPA’s regulation of carbon-dioxide emissions. These topics will be addressed during his “Efficient Markets, Effective Regulation” 2015-16 term as president. His complete remarks are here on the NARUC website.
“I congratulate Commissioner Kavulla on his new leadership position,” said Immediate Past President Lisa Edgar. “He brings a wide depth and breadth of knowledge on regulatory issues, which will serve the Association and its members well. It was a pleasure to work with him this past year in his role as First Vice President. I also congratulate First Vice President Powelson and Second Vice President Betkoski on their new roles. I thank them and the members of the Executive Committee for their outstanding work on some very tough issues this year.”
With my colleagues, we were able to ensure that the collective voice of the States continues to be heard on a number of important issues, including pipeline safety, telecommunications, nuclear waste and of course, the Clean Power Plan. President Kavulla and his team at NARUC will be able to continue to effectively advocate on these and other matters.”
As President, Commissioner Kavulla will provide general oversight of the Association, serving as the primary voice of the Association, leading NARUC before Congress, the courts and administrative agencies. He will also be responsible for designating members to the NARUC Board of Directors, committee leadership positions and other Association appointments as necessary.
President Kavulla was elected to the Montana Public Service Commission in 2010. He also serves on the NARUC Board of Directors and co-chairs the Northern Tier Transmission Group Steering Committee and is a member of California ISO’s Energy Imbalance Market Transitional Committee. He is also a member of NARUC’s Telecommunications Committee and the Advisory Council of the Electric Power Research Institute. President Kavulla received his bachelor’s in History at Harvard University and holds a graduate degree from the University of Cambridge, England, where he was a Gates Scholar.
First Vice President Robert Powelson is a Commissioner and former Chair of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. He was confirmed to the agency in 2008 and served as Chair from February 2011 to May 2015. Commissioner Powelson has chaired the NARUC Committee on Water and serves on the Association’s Board of Directors. Previously, he served as the President of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry, a 1,600-member business organization that he joined in 1994.
Second Vice President John Betkoski III is Vice Chairman of Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Commissioner Betkoski has served on Connecticut’s utility regulatory authority since 1997, when he was named a Commissioner of the Department of Public Utility Control. He was elected Vice Chairman of that body in 2007. He also serves as President of the New England Conference of Public Utilities Commissioners and is Vice Chair of NARUC’s Consumer Affairs Committee and serves on the Executive Committee.
Substantive resolutions were passed urging generator owners and operators to improve primary frequency response; creating a NARUC staff subcommittee on rate design; establishing additional PHMSA pipeline safety training facilities; calling for Congressional action on the Pipeline Safety Reauthorization Act; accelerating the deployment of next-generation 911 systems; supporting the Connect America Fund and its Remote Areas Fund component; celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University. The complete substantive and honorary resolutions can be found on NARUC’s website at http://bit.ly/1PxV6pI.
NARUC will hold committee meetings in Washington, D.C., at the Renaissance Washington Hotel February 14-17, 2016.
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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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