center for partnerships & innovation

NARUC Center for Partnerships & Innovation

Our Mission

NARUC's Center for Partnerships & Innovation, formerly known as the Research Lab, helps State commissions serve the public interest by delivering research and results to the Committees on Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment, Gas, Water, and Critical Infrastructure. We are funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and other federal agencies.

CPI staff create and run projects that use research, papers, trainings, games, webcasts, and facilitated dialogues that provide answers to questions commissioners face in their decision-making. These projects currently address policy questions surrounding electric transmission, natural gas supply, liquefied natural gas, energy efficiency, wind, solar, and coal-fired generation, and infrastructure and cybersecurity issues for the energy, water, and telecommunications sectors.

What's New / What's Next:

Upcoming Site Visit

May 8 - 10, 2019: Birmingham, AL

CPI is planning a site visit to Birmingham, AL on May 8 - 10 to tour the National Carbon Capture Center, Plant Gaston, and Southern Research. All commissioners are invited to join and travel reimbursement funding is available thanks to NARUC's partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. For questions or RSVPs, contact Kiera Zitelman


CPI Webinar Series

CPI webinars are hosted on the second Thursday of each month from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET. 

Previous CPI Webinars

April 11, 2019: Lessons Learned in Applying Performance Incentive Mechanisms

This webinar explored what regulators can learn from past efforts to use performance incentive mechanisms to enhance utility regulation. Performance incentive mechanisms (PIMs) are one regulatory, outcome-based, revenue recovery augmentation tool that provides a financial incentive for the utility to meet performance goals. Traditionally, PIMs have been used to drive improvements in specific public policy goals such as energy efficiency, service quality, and, at times, demand response and customer service. Lately, states are looking to apply PIMs to broader public policy goals and increased utility performance overall.

Moderator: Commissioner Marion Gold, Rhode Island Public Utility Commission


  • Commissioner Abigail Anthony, Rhode Island Public Utility Commission
  • Peter Cappers, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

View presentation

March 14, 2019: Evolving Approaches to Electricity System Planning

Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) shared updates on state approaches to distribution system planning, grid modernization, and integrated resource planning. Topicsincluded analyses of the accuracy of past IRP load forecasts and utility procurement.

Webinar recording on the NARUC YouTube page

Water-Thermoelectric Energy Nexus Webinar Series Recording Available on YouTube

Throughout fall 2019, NARUC’s CPI hosted four webcasts on the water-thermoelectric energy nexus in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories. Read more and find links to the recordings on NARUC's YouTube channel

Upcoming CPI webinars

May 16, 2019: Stakeholder Involvement in Integrated Distribution Planning

Stakeholders are a key party for all Commissions with stakeholder engagement techniques vary from state to state. On this webinar, we take a closer look at a recent, robust stakeholder process in the District of Columbia, called "Modernizing the Energy Delivery System for Increased Sustainability" (MEDSIS). 


  • Naza Shelley, Attorney Advisor, DC Public Service Commission
  • Susan Mora, Director of Utility Innovation, Exelon/Pepco
  • Sharon Allan, Chief Innovation Officer, Smart Electric Power Alliance

Register here

June 13, 2019: All Hands on Deck: Cooperation among Regulators, Utilities, and State Agencies during Emergencies

Electricity delivery can be interrupted by any number of events. Learn how utility commissions have worked with utilities, first responders, and other stakeholders to respond and recover when disaster strikes.

Register here

July 11, 2019: The 411: Cybersecurity Fundamentals that Drive Infrastructure Resilience

Cybersecurity threats to infrastructure are growing and consequences could be devastating. This webinar will highlight key cybersecurity principles and how electric and gas utilities implement them to enhance resilience.

Register here


Papers, trainings, and more

New paper!

The Value of Resilience for Distributed Energy Resources: An Overview of Current Analytical Practices

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, along with Converge Strategies LLC, has released new research that reviews methodologies to quantify the value of energy resilience, particularly as it relates to investments in distributed energy resources. This report examines both regulatory decision-making and non-regulatory cost-benefit analyses to determine if, and how, a value of resilience was calculated and applied. 

Four specific criteria were used to evaluate the methodologies, which include the method’s ease of use, scope of outputs, geographic scalability and power interruption duration analysis capability. Recent cases were examined where requests to recover the costs of microgrid investments from ratepayers were considered by state public utility commissions—two in Maryland and one in Illinois. The Value of Resilience also presents several trends in regulatory approaches to resilience, centering on the lack of a standardized approach to determining value. 

Download it here


The Interface between Utility Regulation and Financial Markets

The purpose of this paper is to review the interfaces between regulators and capital markets to explain the significance of financial market knowledge in public utility regulation. This topic is critical because IOUs finance their investments in utility infrastructure through debt and equity capital obtained from capital/financial markets. This report reviews the significance of financial markets to regulation, describes how key variables (such as cost of capital) are calculated, and describes opportunities for regulators to become educated about relevant financial market activity. 

Download it here


Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration: Technology and Policy Status and Opportunities

This paper examines the present state of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS and the challenges to widespread deployment in the energy sector. It explores the policy and technology environment for coal-fired power generation and CCUS for energy and industrial uses. It offers an array of actions policymakers and regulators can use to encourage CCUS adoption to extend the life of existing coal-fired power plants while drastically cutting carbon dioxide emissions, illuminating how the coal plant of the future could look.

Download it here


Cybersecurity Strategy Development Guide

NARUC developed this Cybersecurity Strategy Development Guide to support state public utility commission (PUC) regulators in developing cybersecurity strategies tailored for their own commissions. This document aims to guide commissions’ interactions with their utilities on issues related to cybersecurity, drawing from the experiences of federal, state, and private-sector stakeholders, including state PUCs themselves. Further, it provides guidance and practices for regulators to consider as they develop and implement their strategies. Commissions that have already developed a strategy can use this guide to review and enhance their current strategy. 

Download it here


NCEP Compendium of Resources for State Electricity Policy Officials: Evolving Transmission & Distribution Intersections 

NCEP hosted a well-attended annual meeting and workshop in May 2018 to explore the evolution and effect of distributed energy resources (DERs) on the transmission and distribution systems in the context of planning, operations, and markets at the state level. State electricity decision makers discussed DERs such as energy efficiency, distributed generation [e.g., solar photovoltaic (PV) systems], energy storage, demand response, electric vehicles, and more. During the workshop, participants offered examples of projects and decisions from across the country that help illustrate how the interactions between transmission and distribution might evolve. Participants also provided helpful resources and references, and facilitators documented questions and research that still need to be addressed. These valuable insights can help guide state decision-makers and provide a research agenda for the broader energy community. 

Download it here

Games with CPI

CPI has developed game-style trainings for regulators, commission staff, legislators, energy officials, and anyone who wants to be better informed about energy policy. These trainings consist of a presentation by Lab staff followed by an interactive gameplay session. We can adapt these trainings to benefit energy experts and novices alike.

We currently offer trainings on: 

  • distribution system planning; 
  • utility risk management; and
  • utility business models and performance-based regulation. 

Check out our brief video demo of the MegaModel utility business model game (duration: 7 minutes). The game explores performance-based and cost-of-service regulation for vertically integrated and restructured utilities. 

We have offered these trainings for the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, the National Association of State Energy Officials and National Conference of State Legislatures, Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the Legislative Energy Horizons Institute, and other energy sector decision-makers. 



Cybersecurity Primer for State Regulators, 3.0

This third edition of NARUC’s cyber primer for regulators explores issues including cost recovery, information protection, supply chain issues, management of insider threats, and links to risk management processes. It also offers guidance for how state commissions can engage proactively and strategically by building on best practices of leading state in the field. It also provides twice the number of sample questions as version 2.0 of the primer that  help explore how utilities are making prudent investments in cyber-preparedness. The report can be found here.

Center for Partnerships & Innovation Staff

Have a question? We’re friendly and here to help!

Danielle Byrnett, Director
Lynn Costantini, Deputy Director
Kerry Worthington, Senior Manager
Kiera Zitelman, Senior Manager
Matthew Acho, Program Officer
Dominic Liberatore, Program Assistant



We have a number of currently active projects.

  • Electricity Policy Innovation (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • State Electricity Regulators Technical Assistance (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Partnership (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Energy Assurance & Critical Infrastructure Protection (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization Partnership (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Smart Grid (Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce)
  • Resilient Distributed Energy Resources (Funded by the National Renewable Energy Lab)