Agenda


Print Program
(Includes content available as of November 2, 2016)

This agenda is subject to change.

Tuesday, November 15

 

Registration Open (8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.)

Location: La Cita

 

General Session

Location: Fiesta Ballroom
9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

The Election’s Finally Over. What Next for Energy & Telecom Policy?

In January, there will be a new administration and a new Congress. What will be their priorities? Perhaps more importantly, what should they be for the energy and telecom sectors?

This panel provides a read-out of what we know, what to look for, and offers ideas for reforms of the seminal laws and regulations that govern the regulated utility space

Moderator: Hon. Travis Kavulla, Montana

Panelist:
Bill Ritter, Jr., Former Colorado Governor, Founder and Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) at Colorado State University

Adam Bender, Associate Editor, Communications Daily

Devin Hartman, Electricity Policy Manager, R Street Institute

Ray Gifford, Partner at WBK and former Colorado Public Utilities Commission Chairman

 

Networking Break (10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.)

Location: Flores Foyer

 

Section B (10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.)

Location: Flores 5
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. B1

A Roadmap for a Successful Stakeholder Process

Before that thorny issue becomes a full-blown contested case before your Commission, consider engaging in a stakeholder process. But what does that mean? What does a successful one look like? Failure to engage a stakeholder process could lead to negative consequences such as protests and disruptions that detract from the issues. How do you prevent stakeholder engagement from just being a talk-a-thon leading up to a whole lot of nothing? Hear from stakeholders who will present their ideas about how to make the process work. Learn what tools are needed and how to map successful implementation. Also, learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of the process.

Moderator: Ellen Nowak, Wisconsin

Participants:
Michael Champley, Commissioner Emeritus, Hawaii

Cindy Schonhaut, Consumer Advocate, Colorado

Elizabeth Upchurch, Senior Program Manager, Stakeholder Relations, Tennessee Valley Authority

John Sterling, SEPA

View Presentations 

Location: Flores 1-3
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. B2

Methane Regulation: The Achilles Heel of Natural Gas?

Plan to attend this unscripted and honest discussion on the  PHMSA pending rulemakings on safety issues and on other planned regulations  that may help determine how durable a future natural gas has as the default fuel for American electric generation. Background: The EPA released sweeping rules targeting methane emissions from new or modified oil and gas wells, as well as equipment that transports and stores oil and natural gas. The regulations drew sharp criticism as costly and unnecessary. EPA says the new rules will cost operators at least $530 million – adding more financial burdens to a stressed industry laboring under comprehensive oversight. The EPA also signaled plans to apply similar rules to existing rigs/equipment and sought more data from industry to study how to further contain emissions. 

Moderator: Hon. Diane Burman, New York

Participants:
Ralph LaRossa, President and COO, Public Service Electric & Gas 

N. Jonathan Peress, Air Policy Director, US Climate and Energy, Environmental Defense Fund

Thomas Hutchins, P.E., Vice President of Environmental, Health and Safety, Kinder Morgan

Andrew Woerner, Partner, ERM

PHMSA, Senior Staff Representative

View Presentations 

Location: Flores 4
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. B3

Exploring Performance-Based Regulation

Some jurisdictions have moved away from the model of a return-on-rate-base/cost-of-service regulatory model, and have instead targeted utility revenues to establish measures of performance, such as customer satisfaction and reliability. This panel presents a few case studies on what has worked—and what hasn’t. In this session, participants will learn what experiences States and other countries have had in using performance-based regulation, as well as exploring what recommendations exist for implementing it at pilot or scale in your jurisdiction.

Moderator: Hon. Kenneth Anderson, Texas

Participants:

Hon. Ken Quesnelle, Ontario Canada

Sonia Aggarwal, Director of Strategy, Energy Innovation

Lisa Frantzis, Senior Vice President, Advanced Energy Economy

View Presentations 

Location: Flores 6
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. B4

Catch Me if You Can! Can New Technologies Stop Spoof Callers?

Consumers are increasingly inundated (and annoyed) by robo calls. While there are many legitimate robo calls, the ease with which phone numbers can be faked, or “spoofed," has led to a proliferation of scam calls. Rampant spoofing has undermined State and federal “do not call” lists and this makes identification of culprits and enforcement action difficult. Attendees will learn about new technologies that allow consumers to block unwanted calls. Attendees will understand the enforcement efforts at the State and federal level.

Moderator: Hon. Karen Charles Peterson, Massachusetts

Participants:

Hon. Brandon Presley, Mississippi

Debra Berlyn, President, Consumer Policy Solutions

Michael Brady, SVP, State Regulatory Affairs, Comcast

Brent Struthers, Senior Policy Advisor, Neustar, Inc.

Linda Vandeloop, AVP External Affairs, AT&T

No Presentations Provided for this Session

Location: Flores 7-8
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. B5

Is Bigger Better? What You Need to Know about Mergers and Acquisitions

With a few high profile deals already done, another rejected, two recently announced and at least another ten utility companies looking ripe for takeovers, now is a good time to ask whether bigger is better. Experts will discuss why they are happening and how commissions should review them. Attendees will learn the reasons why - despite the time and controversies involved - utilities seek to merge with or acquire other utilities. Commissioners and staff will gain insight on different approaches to reviewing proposals and will learn how to spot the salient issues at stake.

Moderator: Hon. Willie Phillips, District of Columbia

Participants:

Hon. Thomas Gorak,Hawaii

Dan Ford, Managing Director, Barclays

Elin Katz, Consumer Counsel, Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel

Richard McMahon, Jr., Vice President, Energy Supply and Finance, Edison Electric Institute

View Presentations 

 

Networking Break (11:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)

Location: Flores Foyer

 

Section C (12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.)

Location: Flores 4
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. C1

How to Consider Big Data in Prudence Reviews and Rate Cases 

Big data is becoming an invaluable tool to power, water, gas, and telecommunications companies. The power of the Cloud and of predictive analytics are opening up services and markets that were unimaginable five years ago. Participants will answer the tough questions: What are the most promising leads? What are the trade-offs, cautions, and wait-and-see areas? Do regulatory structures create barriers, and if so, what can we do about it? What can we do to get out of the way? All attendees will learn about accounting and ratemaking implications of utility expenditures on remotely hosted software. Commissioners and staff will learn what opportunities can be realized for utilities and rate payers from big data analytics, what regulatory structures create barriers to this and how to remove them, and how to judge which investments are prudent in terms of preserving optionality for future innovative issues? Stakeholders will learn how to navigate those regulatory barriers.

Moderator: Hon. Brien Sheahan, Illinois

Participants:

Christopher Franklin, President & CEO, Aqua American Inc.

Dian Grueneich, Board of Advisors, FirstFuel and Senior Research Scholar, Stanford University, and Commissioner Emeritus, California PSC

Nikhil Krishnan, VP of Products, C3 loT Inc.

Kristin Munsch, Deputy Director, Illinois Citizens Utility Board

Kyle Seymour, President and CEO, S&C Electric

View Presentations 

Location: Flores 5
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. C2

Is There a Federal Infrastructure Package in Our Future?

For years Congress has been discussing new ways to fund investment to upgrade and repair aging infrastructure across the country. The recent events in Flint, Michigan have shed new light on the infrastructure challenges facing our nation. ASCE issues grades for the different infrastructures: Energy – D+; Drinking Water – D; Waste Water – D. Overall ASCE estimated that $3.6 trillion in investment is needed by 2020 to bring all our infrastructure up to a passing grade. The question is how to pay for it? Presidential and congressional candidates are increasingly talking about the need to invest in America’s infrastructure. With a new President and new Congress the initiative may get some traction in 2017. If so what form would this federal funding take? What priorities would States and the utility sector be looking for in such funding?

Moderator: Hon.Robert Powelson, Pennsylvania

Participants:
Hon. Mary Anna Holden, New Jersey

Anthony F. Earley, Jr., Chairman, CEO and President, PG&E Corporation

Christopher Guith, Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy

Walter Lynch, Chief Operating Officer, American Water

View Presentations 

Location: Flores 6
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. C3

RTO/ISO Governance: When Should States lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way?

States are all over the map in terms of their involvement in the decision-making process of ISOs and RTOs. Should they be in the driver’s seat on certain questions, like transmission cost allocation and resource adequacy, or should they tend to their knitting back home? State representatives will share their experience on the regional state committees that do everything from making decisions to providing advice to the multi-state organized markets. Commissioners and staff will learn about different approaches to the RTO/ISO stakeholder processes, the most effective ways to participate; how regional RTO/ISO committees differ from and interact with regional NARUC organizations; and what actions within and outside the stakeholder process can have the most impact. Stakeholders will hear about Commission priorities and learn about best methods to engage with Commissions on RTO/ISO issues.

Moderator: Hon. Sarah Hofmann, Vermont

Participants:
Hon. Asim Haque, Ohio

Hon. Angela Weber, Indiana

Paul Suskie, Southwest Power Pool

Stacey Crowley, California ISO

View Presentations 

Location: Flores 1-3
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. C4

Storage: A Power System Game Changer?   

A variety of storage technologies are capable of providing grid-supporting functions.  Participants will discuss how the latest research on power system storage, including large-scale and aggregated small scale stationary batteries, hold potential to support the power grid, and what the latest technology and cost trends are.  Commissioners and others will learn how it can be evaluated in the context of an IRP.  Lastly, attendees will learn what types of services storage provides that should be paid for in an RTO setting, including what the different rules are for different types of storage systems, and what initiatives are helping or hindering incorporation of electric storage assets into the wholesale markets.

Moderator: Hon. Matthew Schuerger, Minnesota

Participants:

Hon. Liane Randolph, California

Kiran Kumaraswamy, Market Development Director - AES Energy Storage

Steve Willard, Technical Executive - Energy Storage and Distributed Generation, EPRI

View Presentations 

Location: Flores 8
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. C5

The Price of Privacy

This panel will look at privacy practices and policy issues in the telecom, water, and electric sectors. It will explore what each sector can learn from the experience of the other. It will examine current policy debates at the federal and state level. In addition, the panel will look at “pay for privacy” plans – are they being seen in other utility sectors, or just Telecom? Will the “Market” be effective in “regulating” utility privacy practices? What are the marketing and education needs of consumers to make an informed choice on allowing the use of their personal data by utilities?

Moderator: Hon. Crystal Rhoades. Nebraska

Participants

Claude Aiken, Legal Advisor, Wireline, FCC

Doug Brake, Telecom Policy Analyst, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Dallas Harris, Policy Fellow, Public Knowledge

Kevin Rupy, US Telecom

No Presentations Provided for this Session

 

Installation Luncheon (1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.)

Location: Fiesta Ballroom

 

NARUC Board of Directors Meeting (2:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

Location: Studio

 

National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI) Colloquium

Location: Flores 6
2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Opening Remarks & Introductions

Moderator: Rajnish Barua, Ph.D., NRRI Executive Director

2:35 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Broadband Access and Adoption – Where are we?

The FCC, providers, public interest groups, and others have encouraged broadband deployment and access through programs such as the Connect America Fund, the Broadband Lifeline Program, and carrier-sponsored programs such as Comcast's Internet Essentials.  The states have also implemented programs to encourage broadband availability and adoption,.  This presentation will these programs and others (including Facebook's proposed free internet program) in order to assess the status of broadband adoption across the country.

Presenter: Sherry Lichtenberg, Ph.D., NRRI Principal Researcher-Telecommunications

3:00 p.m. - 3:25 p.m.

Reimagining Interconnection Rules for an Eventual Plug-and-Play DG Future

The recent rapid growth in applications for distributed energy resources is partly the result of major technological improvements and cost reductions.  Some of those improvements are enabling changes in utility interconnection procedures for distributed generation and storage, especially for systems that use new smart inverters.  Interconnection standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and testing standards from Underwriters Laboratory (UL) are both undergoing major revisions, in keeping with the new technical capabilities for safe integration with the electric grid.  Forthcoming work by NRRI Principal Researcher Tom Stanton and Research Associate Kathryn Kline will explore the kinds of technical revisions that are in the works and identify possible changes in pre-existing interconnection rules, standards, and practices that state commissions might consider, to reduce interconnection challenges for both utilities and system designers, installers, and their customers.  This colloquium presentation will outline plans for that research and invite any additional questions or topics to be included in this project.

Presenters:
Tom Stanton, NRRI Principal Researcher-Energy & Environment

Kathryn Kline, NRRI Research Associate

3:30 p.m. - 3:55 p.m.

When Are Multiyear Rate Plans in the Public Interest?

This presentation is based on a research report released Ocotober 2016 and lays out a general approach for regulators in evaluating Multiyear Rate Plans (MRPs) as a ratemaking mechanism with the potential to advance the public interest.  It first discusses the expected benefits and outcomes of MRPs over traditional ratemaking practices.  The paper then takes a more critical approach by accounting for the downsides of MRPs.  The fact that relatively few utilities are currently operating under a MRP suggests that like most other mechanisms it has its costs as well as benefits.  An overall evaluation therefore requires a cost-benefit review. Utility customers can potentially benefit from MRPs in four major ways:  (1) lower prices, (2) more moderate price changes over time, (3) utility supply of more services, (4) higher reliability and improved customer service, and (5) more immediate price benefits from improved utility performance.  For regulators, the question is:  What would it take to produce these benefits?  This research attempts to answer this question, although admittedly not definitely and completely.

Presenter: Ken Costello, NRRI Principal Researcher-Energy & Environment 

3:55 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Rajnish Barua, Ph.D., NRRI Executive Director