Consumer Affairs

This agenda is subject to change.

Consumer Affairs

Sunday, November 12

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: Key 9

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

 

 

 

How the Sun is Shining in Low Income Communities
In the past few years, solar has become more affordable for even the average electric customer. But, how is access to solar options faring for low income customers and communities? This panel will explore some interesting programs and alternatives that are helping the sun shine in low income communities.
 
Moderator: Charlene Ketchum, Policy Advisor & Legal Counsel to Commissioner Maida Coleman, Missouri PSC
 
Panelists:
 
Sandra Mattavous Frye, Esq., People’s Counsel, DC Office of the People’s Counsel
 
Alison Kling, Project Specialist, Demonstration & Pilot Projects, Con Edison   
 
Taresa Lawrence, Deputy Director, Energy Administration, Department of Energy & Environment
 
Melanie Santiago-Mosier, Program Director, Low-income Solar Access, Vote Solar
 
Ingrid Schwingler, Policy & Regulatory Coordinator, GRID Alternatives
10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Networking Break

 

10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.

Is Net Metering Dead?

Utilities and some regulators say that current net metering of rooftop solar customers results in a subsidy paid by all other utility customers to the solar customer. Some states have never allowed net metering while others are beginning to move away from it. The solar industry and environmental groups say there is no subsidy and that the system attributes of rooftop solar are not being recognized by the utilities. This panel will explore these opposing viewpoints and seek to find common ground. 

Moderator: Phil Boyle, Consumer Services Manager, Oregon Public Utility Commission

Panelists:

Sean Gallagher, VP of State Affairs, SEIA

Ted Kelly, Assistant Counsel, New York Department of Public Service

Bill Malcolm, Senior Legislative Representative, AARP

Nathan Phelps, Program Manager DG Regulatory Policy, Vote Solar

Joelle Steward, Director of Rates & Regulatory Affairs, Rocky Mountain Power

 

1:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Location: Key 2
1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Business Meeting (closed session)

2:00 p.m. - 3:10 p.m. 

Not in My Backyard

A dynamic discussion exploring the complex issues surrounding utility and merchant transmission line projects including: federal versus State jurisdiction; federal, State, and utility eminent domain authority; utility easement rights; and the potential environmental impacts associated with high voltage transmission lines.

Moderator:

Hon. Colette Honorable, former FERC Commissioner, Partner with Reed Smith LLP Global Energy and Natural Resources

Panelists:

Ted Thomas, Chairman, Arkansas PSC

Rob Gramlich, President, Grid Strategies, LLC

Arturo Hernandez, Gibbs Pool and Turner, P.C. 

3:10 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Utilities United Against Scams

A brief update on the work of over 100 electric, water, and gas utilities' consumer education efforts on imposter scam awareness and its 2017 Utility Scam Awareness Week Campaign (Nov. 13-17).

Speaker:

Sheri Givens, Executive Director, Utilities United Against Scams and President, Givens Energy

Monday, November 13

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
Location: Key 6
9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Joint session with Task Force on Natural Gas Access and Expansion and Committee on Gas

Uncovering the Opportunities for Natural Gas Access and Expansion Initiatives

Wednesday, November 15

Wednesday, November 15

Registration Open (8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)

Location: Key Foyer

 

Concurrent Sessions Section C (9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.)

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.

Facilitators:

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

Participants:

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

Participants

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.

 

Networking Break (10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)

Location: Holiday Foyer

 

Closing General Session

10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: Holiday Ballroom
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Happy First Anniversary! and NARUC Business Meeting

The General Session will begin with the NARUC Annual Business Meeting. Commissioners are requested to take seats in the front of the meeting room. 

The U.S. House of Representatives has designated the third Wednesday in November as Utility Scam Awareness Day. This year, we recognize it on November 15. Today, or on any given day, utility customers are receiving calls from people falsely asserting they represent a utility company. Callers are threatening to disconnect electric, water, or gas service, if immediate payment isn’t made. These villains target vulnerable populations, including senior citizens and non-native English speakers. They use sophisticated tactics, including caller identification spoofing technology and recordings of the utility company’s telephone menu messages. Utilities United against Scams (UUAS) is comprised of more than 100 (and growing) electric, water, and gas utilities, along with their respective trade associations in North America. The aim of UUAS is to educate customers about scam tactics in the hopes of ultimately putting an end to these types of crimes.

Attendees will:

  • Learn how these scams have a negative financial, fear-inducing effect of fraud on utility customers.
  • Learn the vital role that regulators play in working with utilities to protect consumers from scams.
  • Learn the types of phone, in-person, and Internet scams utility customers are currently experiencing.
  • Learn tips to share with constituents/consumers to avoid falling for utility impostor scams.
  • Explore solutions adapted for websites, social media, and in-person outreach events/town halls.
  • Hear about steps utilities and their partners have taken to educate consumers on these scams.

Moderator: Hon. Jack Betkoski, NARUC President, Connecticut

Participants:

Bryan Batson, SVP, Southern Operations, Southern Company Gas

Sheri Givens, Author,  Consumer Scam Awareness Guide & Executive Director, Utilities United Against Scams 

Kristin Keckeisen, Director, AARP Campaigns

Elin Swanson Katz, Consumer Counsel, State of Connecticut

Maureen Westbrook, VP Customer & Regulatory, Connecticut Water Company

Session Materials

AARP's Fraud Watch Network