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New Partnerships Announced, Telecom Resolutions Passed
WASHINGTON (February 17, 2023) — More than 1,600 attendees converged in the nation’s capital for four days of sessions focused on priority issues facing U.S. state and federal regulators. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners concluded its annual Winter Policy Summit, which, along with utility regulators, brought together consumer representatives, industry leaders and other stakeholders.
The event attracted high-profile speakers, including Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who noted in her remarks that NARUC is “one of DOE’s most important partnerships” and highlighted DOE’s investments to reflect the “geopolitical shift around energy resources.”
The themes of collaboration and partnerships were expressed by other federal speakers as well, including former NARUC president Commissioner David Wright of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Administrator Robin Carnahan, U.S. General Services Administration; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation Anna Shpitsberg; Joint Office of Energy and Transportation Executive Director Gabe Klein; Deputy Director for Energy Justice Tony Reames, Department of Energy; and White House Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi.
NARUC’s collaboration with the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission on the Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission was referenced during the summit, and the sixth meeting of the task force was held at the conclusion of the summit. Past FERC commissioners, including immediate past chair Rich Glick, discussed their experiences on the Commission and the evolution of FERC’s relationship with state regulators.
Attendees filled meeting rooms to hear discussions ranging from broadband, water infrastructure and intelligent rate design to natural gas infrastructure, electric vehicles, customer outreach and more.
Cyber and critical infrastructure were highlighted in both committee meetings and during the closing general session. Issues such as phishing prevention, hardening equipment for infrastructure protection and improving the response after a physical attack were discussed. During the closing session, NARUC Center for Partnerships and Innovation Deputy Director Lynn P. Costantini announced a new initiative with the Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response to co-lead a joint advisory group to develop a comprehensive set of cybersecurity recommendations to help jump start and support state efforts.
Other announcements made at the summit include the launch of an Advanced Nuclear State Collaborative, which is a partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials, and an update was provided on National Petroleum Council decarbonization studies.
Measuring equity and its importance was featured during the opening general session and during a panel discussion that featured a keynote from Acting FERC Chairman Willie L. Phillips. During the general session, moderated by NARUC President and Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Commissioner Michael A. Caron, panelists discussed the need for business strategies and tools to better address equity issues.
Resolutions and Awards
Two telecommunications-focused resolutions were passed by the NARUC Board of Directors during the meeting, one aimed at preserving essential broadband funding and the other supports extending the Federal Communication Commission’s spectrum auction authority by using proceeds to fund the FCC “rip and replace” program and accelerate deployment of Next-Generation 911 systems within state jurisdictions.
Several honorary resolutions were passed that recognized Rich Glick; past NARUC President Judith W. Jagdmann; former/departing commissioners Ellen Nowak, M. Beth Trombold and Kimberly O’Guinn; former New York Public Service Commission Water Director John F. Guastella; Washington, D.C. PSC Office of External Affairs Director Cary Hinton; and former NARUC Senior Manager Kerry Worthington.
Two awards were conferred during the meeting, the Mary Kilmarx Award for Good Governance, Clean Energy and the Environment and the Ray Baum Memorial Leadership Award.
Kerry Worthington received the Kilmarx Award for providing critical and unwavering support to the Energy Resources and the Environment Committee during her NARUC tenure, which included organizing countless panels, working groups, trainings and webinars that helped NARUC members improve their understanding of electricity delivery, distributed generation, distributed energy resources, performance regulation, distribution system planning, transmission planning, utility compensation, risk management and grid modernization. Learn more about the Mary Kilmarx Award at https://bit.ly/NARUCKilmarx.
Nebraska Public Service Commission Director of Telecommunications Cullen Robbins received the Ray Baum Award. As noted by Nebraska PSC Commissioner Tim Schram, Robbins is “a successful leader” and “is held in high regard for his solid character, seasoned expertise and authentic presence. He invests in his staff, developing and enabling his team to achieve greatness. He is focused on effective solutions and works tirelessly to provide efficient processes and products to help ensure the highest quality of advanced telecommunications and broadband services for our citizens.” For more on the Ray Baum Award, visit bit.ly/RayBaum.
The NARUC 2023 Summer Policy Summit will be held July 16-19 in Austin, Texas, and the 2023 Annual Meeting and Education Conference is slated for November 12-15 in La Quinta, California.
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.