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:


New paper!

Regulating in the Public Interest: An Analysis of the Impacts of Electricity Price Shocks on Public Utility Commissions

The dual trends of utilities' increasing investments in the electric system and decreasing load growth have the potential to put upward perssure on electricity rates. Public utility commissions have the difficult responsibility of balancing the need to sufficiently fund electricity delivery with the need to preserve just and reasonable rates. This paper examines whether historic rate changes resulted in shortened tenure for public utility commissioners through a quantitative analysis of electricity rate and bill data and a set of interviews with current and former regulators. The analysis did not identify an obvious statistical relationsihp between large rate increases and effects on utility commissioners. However, the interviews resulted in a range of effective, ratepayer-centric strategies that have been useful to past commissions in times of crisis. 

Download it here

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

The compendium can be found here.

Upcoming Regional Workshops 

NIST and NARUC Plan Framework 4.0 Regional Workshops in Georgia, Indiana, California, and Rhode Island 

The four workshops are taking place between September and November 2018.

Click here for the details. 

Upcoming Solar Energy Innovation Network Workshop

How Can Distributed Energy Resources Advance System Resilience??

Wednesday, November 14 | 12:30 - 5:30 pm

Loews Royal Pacific Orlando

At this interactive workshop, state regulators and market stakeholders will discuss ways to use DERs to improve resilience in both restructured and vertically integrated states. The discussion will find intersections between state regulators and bulk power system operators, develop policy options to advance resilient DERs, and establish connections between stakeholders to continue this important conversation.

State commissioners and public utility commission staff are welcome to participate and can receive limited travel reimbursement. Contact Kiera Zitelman at to RSVP or request more information.

This workshop is open to commissioners and commission staff. Non-commission stakeholders are encouraged to contact Kiera Zitelman to discuss participation on a case-by-case basis.

Evolution of the Distribution System and the Potential for Distribution-Level Markets: A Primer for State Utility Regulators 

As distributed energy resource (DER) adoption grows, the electric industry is shifting from a centralized model towards two-way power flow. Consequently, state and federal regulatory frameworks, utility business models, reliability and operating standards, planning and investment approaches, and wholesale markets will all need to evolve. NARUC explores issues for regulators to consider during this transition.

The report can be found 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). 

In 2017, we 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, and the Legislative Energy Horizons Institute.   

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.

Webcast Recording! Risk Management for Regulators

On December 22, 2016, NARUC CPI team members Miles Keogh & Sharon Thomas ran a webcast about a new primer that the NARUC Lab issued in winter 2016 that introduces risk management tools and concepts for regulators who may not be specialists in that area. Watch it here!

NEW PAPER! Risk Management for Regulators

Do you ever feel like you're advised to make risk-based decisions, but aren't an expert at risk management? This is a paper about risk management for people who are new to it: what it is, how regulators can use it, and how they can ask questions to explore its use by the regulated utilities and other stakeholders they interact with. Risk management is a complex discipline that leverages statistics and other quantitative methods, as well as psychology and other qualitative methods, and this paper lays out an introduction to what risk management is and gives a few starting points for regulators interested in augmenting their processes with it. In particular, it focuses on ways that regulators can employ risk-informed thinking to make choices around the areas of critical infrastructure protection.  Read it!  

Center for Partnerships & Innovation Staff

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

Danielle Byrnett
Kerry Worthington
Kiera Zitelman
Matthew Acho



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 Management (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 (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Smart Grid (Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce)