Concurrent Sessions

This agenda is subject to change.

Concurrent Sessions

Tuesday, November 14

Location: Key 9
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A1

The Bold and the Dutiful

Changing economics, ratepayer needs and expectations, renewable resource strategies, and distributed generation are just a few of the hot topics regulators and the utility industry are navigating today. As the pace of innovation and change in the energy landscape accelerates, regulators and utilities are being asked to think more strategically – and more short term.  Attendees will hear how regulators and utilities balance their core tenants: reliable service to consumers, affordable rates, sound risk management plans, and transparent processes in this new environment. Participants will answer the following: how do regulators see the balance of innovation vs the level of risk and ratepayer impact? How is innovation utilized without exposing companies to regulatory turbulence? How can innovation be effected without a substantial rate increase? Are these changes needed and cost-effective to the ratepayer?

Moderator: Hon. Brien Sheahan, Illinois


Hon. Nancy Lange, Minnesota

Paul Bonney, Sr. VP, Legal & Regulatory Strategy, Pepco Holdings

Tiffany Menhorn, EnerNOC, Inc., Wholesale Procurement

Lisa Wood, Executive Director, Institute for Electric Innovation

Location: Key 6
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A2

Is A Cyber 9/11 In Our Future?

In August, the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) unanimously approved a 45-page report that found the federal government and the private sector are “falling short” in protecting critical systems. The report also states that the nation faces “a pre-9/11-level cyber moment, with a narrow and fleeting window of opportunity to coordinate our resources effectively.”

Attendees will:

  • Receive an overview of the NIAC report and its specific 11 recommendations to address vulnerabilities.
  • Hear experts discuss their reactions to the report.
  • Learn what actions are being taken to secure critical infrastructure networks from cyberattacks.

View/download the text of the report (a PDF).

Moderator: Hon. Gladys Brown, Pennsylvania


Caitlin Durkovich, Leadership, Toffler Associates

Robert H. Mayer, Senior Vice President – Cybersecurity, USTelecom Association

Nick Santillo, Jr.,VP Internal Audit & Chief Security Officer, American Water

Location: Key 2
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A3

Weathering the Storm: Communications Network Resilience

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Superstorm Sandy, and the Derecho taught us many lessons. Changes in response time, resilience measures to the network, and mutual assistance procedures were just a few measures examined in some regions.  During this session, regulators will discuss how measures implemented from previous experiences impacted recent restoration efforts and timelines and what lessons were learned this time around.  


Moderator: Hon. Julie Brown, Florida


Hon. John Clendenin, Virgin Islands

Hon. Mary-Anna Holden, New Jersey

Hon. Gregg Sayre, New York

Hon. DeAnn Walker, Texas

Hon. Stan Wise, Georgia

Location: Key 7
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A4

The Battle for Peak Capacity: Batteries vs. Gas

The United States electric grid is expected to need more peaking capacity resources, both to replace retiring units and to integrate higher levels of variable generation. Natural gas-fired power plants are the dominant technology providing peaking capacity. But for how long? Rapid and significant cost declines in battery energy storage have some proponents arguing that it can substitute for the gas peaking equipment. This session will debate whether battery storage can really compete with gas peakers.

Through an interactive Jeopardy-style experience, attendees will:

  • Learn innovative ways regulators are approaching planning and procurement of new peaking capacity.
  • Learn what the benefits are (if any) to consumers.


Moderator: Hon. Ted Thomas, Arkansas


Mikael Backman, Regional Director, North America, Energy Solutions, Wartsila Corporation

Praveen Kathpal, Vice President, AES Energy Storage

Chris Villarreal, President, Plugged-In Strategies

Location: Key 12
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A5

From the Joneses to the Jetsons! Smart Communities and Infrastructure

If communities are getting “smarter,” regulators must stay ahead of the curve. Utilities are investing in a smarter electric grid that benefits customers and are working on projects in ‘smart communities’ to establish programs to bring more resilient and sustainable options to customers. As the smart technologies advance, industry, stakeholders, regulators, and policymakers should be on the same page.

Attendees will participate in a dynamic discussion that will address:

  • How 'smart communities' are defined and how the emerging technologies will affect utility customers.
  • What regulators may see in future proceedings and what investments utilities are making.
  • Stakeholder perspectives on how ratepayers may be affected, along with privacy and cyber concerns.
  • How financing these new programs will affect ratepayers in the near and far terms.
  • Benchmarks and metrics to assess performance.


Moderator: Hon. Odogwu Linton, Maryland


Donna Cooper, President, Pepco Region for PHI

Brigham A. McCown, Nouveau, Inc

Michael Murray, President, Mission:data

David Owens, Retired Executive Vice President, Edison Electric Institute

Russ Vanos, VP Global Software, Services & Smart Cities, ITRON

Location: Key 2
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. B1

Power to the Market

The need for traditional sources of baseload electricity has taken the spotlight recently, particularly with the Department of Energy’s filing of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking directing FERC to "accurately price generation resources necessary to maintain reliability and resiliency." Because coal and nuclear generate half of the nation’s electricity, some believe that these sources are necessary to ensure grid reliability, resilience and fuel diversity.  Others believe the concept of baseload is outmoded and challenge the need to modify the rules or market.  What is not in dispute is the large amount of traditional baseload generating capacity that has retired with more on the horizon.  This panel will discuss: the future role of coal and nuclear; whether reliability and resiliency are being valued now and if not, whether they should be; what attributes should be valued; and what changes, if any, are needed to ensure just and reasonable rates?   

Moderator: Hon. Ellen Nowak, Wisconsin


Hon. Kara Brighton, Wyoming

Paul Bailey, CEO, ACCCE 

Kathleen Barron, Senior Vice President, Competitive Market Policy, Exelon

Martin (Marty) J. Durbin, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, API

Steve Herling, Vice President - Planning, PJM

Location: Key 6
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. B2

Frenemies and Free Riders

Who doesn’t want a free ride? Utility poles are in place but are they available to anyone? A recommendation from the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) on pole attachments is expected in early November. This report will likely include major changes to the rules governing pole attachments, conduits, and rights-of-way. The report may also suggest pre-emption of State and local authority.

Attendees will:

  • Become better informed about the recommendations of the BDAC.
  • Hear reactions to the realities on pole attachments and the BDAC’s recommendations from the panel of experts representing telecommunications and electricity providers, regulators, and local governments.

Moderator: Hon. Michael Caron, Connecticut


Hon. Wendy Moser, Colorado

Hon. Karen Charles Peterson, Massachusetts

Allen Bell, Support Manager, Georgia Power

David Don, Vice President, Regulatory Policy, Comcast NBCUniversal

Mitsuko Herrera, Dept. of Technology Services, Montgomery County, Maryland


Session Materials:

Guide to Public Hearings for Antenna Attachments to Utility Poles

Motion to Take Administrative Notice (Fairfield CT SC5)


Location: Key 12
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. B3

Charging Ahead: Part II

As sales of electric vehicles continue to rise, commissions are increasingly being presented with proposals from utilities to allow financial recovery for charging infrastructure investments.  Building upon last year’s panel, where regulators learned about electric vehicles and rate design, this session will examine developments that have occurred over the last year.  Specifically, regulators will learn about recent State commission decisions on whether to finance electric vehicle infrastructure through general customer rates or other means.  The application of traditional rate setting concepts, such as fairness to consumers and distribution of benefits, will also be explored.

Moderator: Hon. Rachael Eubanks, Michigan


Hon. Daniel Hall, Missouri

Max Baumhefner, NRDC

Phil Dion, Vice-President, Technology Business Development, AEP

Sandra Mattavous-Frye, People's Counsel, Office of the People's Counsel, District of Columbia





Location: Key 9
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. B4

Upstream with A Paddle

The water industry is grappling with challenges that require significant financial investment, technical expertise, and technological innovation. These challenges are exacerbated by widespread fragmentation. There are more than 52,000 community water systems where 83 percent of the water systems serve less than 3,300 people. Many small and mid-sized water utilities lack resources needed to surmount the critical issues they are facing. State legislatures have instituted legislative and regulatory solutions that encourage acquisition of struggling waters systems and incentivize investment. This panel will explore legislative and regulatory options to help ensure that water can be safely, reliably, and affordably provided to consumers.

Attendees will be presented with:

  • Ideas to manage market fragmentation.
  • Solutions to improve troubled water systems.
  • Incentives to encourage long-term infrastructure investment.


Moderator: Hon. Sadzi M. Oliva, Illinois


Mayor Michael Cherepko, City of McKeesport, PA 

Deborah Dewey, President, Indiana American Water

Ellen Tarquinio, Environmental Protection Specialist, EPA

Richard Verdi, Senior Equity Research Analyst-Water, Atwater Thornton

Location: Key 7
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. B5

Myth Busters... Family Feud Style 

Reliability for wind and microgrids have been put to the test! Wind has earned a reputation for beating to its own drum – but does that make it unreliable from an operator’s perspective? Is a low or no carbon grid possible? Are microgrids a reliability silver bullet? This session will explore some of the research and experiences people in the industry have to share about familiar antidotes to today’s grid issues. Some say that wind is intermittent and therefore unreliable, while an operator may know something different. Some say that a low or no carbon grid is absolutely possible and that we should get a move on it already. Is that reality and what do others have to say about it? Microgrids might be a perfect fit for one campus, but should they be adopted everywhere? This session will break down some of the common, general questions and themes we are hearing.

Welcome to Family Feud. Our goal is to make this educational and entertaining. See our panelists go head to head to guess the top answer from a survey question. The winner gets to pass or play, stake their claim first, or wait and rebut the others' claim. We'll then closeout the board by panelists guessing the rest of the survey answers. Three strikes and the other team can steal the board with a correct guess! Plan to join us for a fun and informative discussion. The winners won't get to play fast money, but they'll have NARUC bragging rights.

Moderator: Hon. Nick Wagner, Iowa


Hon. Michael Huebsch, Wisconsin

Rob Gramlich, President, Grid Strategies, LLC 

Bruce Rew, Vice President, Operations, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. 

Susan L. Satter, Public Utilities Counsel, Office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Illinois 

Matthew Wald, Senior Communications Advisor, Nuclear Energy Institute

Don Wingate, Vice President –  Utility Sales, Strategic Customers and Microgrid Solutions, Schneider Electric

Wednesday, November 15

Location: Key 9
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. C1

To Know or Not to Know: That is the Ethical Question

Scenario: A State Right-to-Know (RTK) requester was the Appellant in ongoing litigation he filed against a State utility in a court proceeding. The RTK requester asked the State public utility commission (PUC) for e-mail exchanges between counsel for the PUC and counsel for the utility regarding the PUC’s strategy and participation as amicus curie in that court proceeding, as well as disclose the exchange of draft legal arguments. Because these communications were an attorney-client work product between the Commission’s attorneys and the utility’s counsel and were PUC counsel’s legal strategies and consultations in furtherance of representation of the PUC’s legal interest, those communications were withheld as confidential attorney-client and attorney work product.

The RTK requester appealed and the State Office of Open Records (OOR) ordered the disclosure of the communications. The OOR determined that because no confidentiality agreement existed between the PUC attorneys and the utility’s counsel, and the Commission was only an amicus party, the Commission waived the privilege. OOR created a new separate standard for government attorneys when only the State Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the practice of law. No such requirement of an agreement exists when attorneys share the same litigation position. The OOR also ignored the ethical dilemma placed upon the attorneys by granting the RTK requester and his attorney access to privileged documents that could never be obtained under the Canons of Ethics. The ethical question was also raised for attorneys acting as solicitors for municipal governments, which are subject to the RTK Law in that State.

Attendees will:

  • Learn how to identify information and certain types of records to determine if the record fits the definition of a State’s RTK Law.
  • Review how to determine if a record is a public document or if it is protected by exemption from disclosure.
  • Participate in a discussion on the ethical responsibility to protect certain types of information balanced against transparency of government operations and the public’s right to know.


Hon. David Sweet, Pennsylvania 

Rosemary Chiavetta, Secretary, Pennsylvania


Location: Key 11
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. C2

Water and Electric Cybersecurity: Stakeholder Perspectives and Partnerships

During this panel we will explore cybersecurity approaches that are being used in the water sector as well as how coordination is conducted with the electric sector, which has common control systems. Speakers will discuss the controls and programs that water companies use to avoid being hacked, including how recent cyber incidents were prevented such as WannaCry, Petya, and more. We will also hear the regulatory perspective on the potential adverse impacts caused by cyber incidents in water and electric systems, including health threats, as well as how these threats are managed at the state level. Lessons from Indiana's recent cross-sector exercise, CritEx, will be shared. Additionally, we will learn about the role that partnerships can play in resiliency and cybersecurity, including lessons learned from Indiana’s strategic approach in developing cross-sector partnerships through the Indiana Executive Council on Cybersecurity. 

Moderator: Hon. Sarah Freeman, Indiana


Hon. Mary-Anna Holden, New Jersey

John Lucas, Vice President, Citizens Energy Group

Michael Luu, CIO & VP, Customer Service, California Water Service

Chetrice Mosley, State of Indiana Cybersecurity Program Director

Nick Santillo, VP Internal Audit & CSO, American Water


Location: Key 8


9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.  C3

Oh, What a Beautiful ‘Site’? New Realities in Siting

Multiple State and federal agencies are involved in transmission planning and siting. States are being asked to evaluate non-traditional projects, and economic and reliability projects are being proposed by a number of parties through integrated resource planning and other planning processes. New ways of thinking about electricity resources are affecting traditional transmission planning and siting, cost allocation, and the roles of State officials, utilities, and consumer advocates in these decisions. Siting discussions now include independent transmission owners and multiple local, State, and federal organizations, in addition to traditional utilities.

Attendees will:

  • Hear the perspectives of State agencies as they navigate the changing transmission siting landscape.
  • Learn processes for identifying infrastructure corridors on private and public lands.
  • Tune into the State-level process challenges.

Moderator: Hon. Betty Ann Kane, District of Columbia


Hon. Ted Thomas, Arkansas

Patrick Donlon, Executive Director, Ohio Power Siting Board and Director, Rates and Analysis, PUCO

Marissa Gillett, Senior Advisor to Chairman Obi Linton, Maryland 

Fred Hoover, Senior Program Director, NASEO

Tanya McCloskey, Acting Consumer Advocate for Pennsylvania and Executive Committee Member of NCEP.