Concurrent Sessions


Concurrent Sessions Section A

10:45–11:45 a.m.

Texas A (4th Floor)

A1 FERC’s PURPA Reforms - What does it mean for consumers, commissions, and clean energy?

 At long last, it is finally here – the PURPA NOPR!  Come hear what regulators and other stakeholders are saying about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on changes to the implementing regulations associated with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, before comments are filed in December.  Participants will discuss the important aspects of FERC’s proposed changes, especially on rate-setting and which markets qualify for an exemption from PURPA’s “mandatory purchase obligation.” 


Moderator:  Travis Kavulla, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, NRG


Hon. Megan Decker, Oregon

Hon. Kristine Raper, Idaho

Hon. Daniel Scripps, Michigan 

Katherine Gensler, Vice President, Solar Energy Industries Association

Philip Moeller, Executive Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, EEI


Texas C (4th Floor)

A2 The Future of Natural Gas in Decarbonization Focused States

Natural gas demand has grown as a key energy source over the last decade and demand is expected to continue to grow. Issues surrounding the decarbonization of our energy delivered by utilities is a growing topic in the United States. It is important to understand the policy implications for the energy of the future. Such issues include conversations around the importance of fuel diversity, decreasing even more GHG emissions, increasing investment in current and new infrastructure and improving reliability of electricity transmission grid as natural gas power generation may be called upon to provide backup support to renewable generation as well as dependable baseload generation. This panel will discuss the details, benefits and roadblocks to delivering lower carbon energy to consumers.

Moderator: Hon. Diane Burman, New York


Dr. Roger Aines, Energy Program Chief Scientist, LLNL Global Security E Program

Dawn Constantin, SVP, Marketing & Regulatory Affairs, BP Energy Company

Thomas P. Meissner, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO, Unitil Corporation

Richard Meyer, Managing Director, Energy Analysis, American Gas Association

Dena E. Wiggins, President, Natural Gas Supply Association



Texas D (4th Floor)

A3 Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF): Will it be Effective?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently proposed the $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), which it has called its “biggest single step to date” to help close the rural digital divide by expanding broadband in unserved rural areas. The FCC believes the RDOF will “raise the bar” for rural broadband deployment by “making more areas eligible for support and requiring faster service than last year’s Connect America Fund (CAF).”

This panel will take a critical look at the RDOF and also discuss its potential impact.

Learning Objectives

  • Provide information regarding the RDOF Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and discuss what prompted its issuance by the FCC.
  • Examine what makes the RDOF different than the CAF II Auction (e.g., eligibility changes/service speeds requirement - minimum 25 Mbps/3 Mbps).
  • Discuss the potential impact of the RDOF and whether it can complement State broadband deployment initiatives.

Moderator: Hon. Brandon Presley, Mississippi


Hon. Chris Nelson, South Dakota

Joseph Gillan, Economist, Gillan Associates

Brian O’Hara: Senior Director Regulatory Issues – Telecom & Broadband, NRECA

Carol Mattey, Principal, Mattey Consulting, LLC





Concurrent Sessions Section B

1:45–2:45 p.m.

Texas C (4th Floor)

B1 The Texas Way: Energy Innovation in the Lone Star State

Texas is home to vast fossil and renewable resources, coming in at #1 among all states in oil and gas production and wind capacity and #5 in solar capacity. Massive investments in transmission infrastructure deliver these resources to market. Texas also hosts a number of cutting-edge energy pilot projects that illustrate the future of low-emission, high-efficiency electric power generation. With ERCOT, Texas utilities operate in a uniquely competitive energy market that provides some of the lowest retail rates in the country. What is it about Texas that attracts innovation, and what can other states learn from the successes and shortcomings of Texas's approach?

Attendees will:

  • Learn about the challenges Texas regulators and utilities face
  • Understand the pros and cons of ERCOT's market design and how it differs from other markets
  • Discuss how Texas has capitalized on its natural resources to provide affordable, reliable, and clean energy

Moderator: Hon. DeAnn Walker, Texas


Scott Burns, Head of Innovation/Customer Experience, and GM, Home Services/Security, Reliant Energy  

Russell Gold, Investigative Journalist, Wall Street Journal

Mike McGroddy, Principal, 8 Rivers Capital

Susan Williams Sloan, VP State Affairs, American Wind Energy Association

Texas D (4th Floor)

B2 Leading the Way to Smarter Systems

Energy markets and systems are transforming. Energy companies are integrating more technologies on the grid to meet customer expectations. Distributed energy resources and electrification allows for the two-way flow of energy on the distribution grid, requiring additional sensors and controls to maintain a secure and reliable system. Communities are using technologies, such as advanced metering infrastructure and smart electric vehicle chargers, and data analysis to make their communities smarter. Advanced communications networks can carry data from sensors and remote cameras that monitor the impacts of natural disasters; like storms and wildfires, on facilities, and take preventative measures to mitigate adverse impacts.

This session will:

  • Explain technologies that are rapidly and efficiently modernizing the grid;
  • Review possible investment incentives and targets;
  • Discuss how energy companies, customers, technology providers, and regulators are leading the way to a dynamic and secure energy future. 

Moderator: Hon. Ted Thomas, Arkansas

Hon. Carrie Zalewski, Illinois

David Kolata, Consumer Advocate, Citizens Utility Board

Chuck Kosak, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Transmission Permitting & Technical Assistance Division Office of Electricity, DOE
Jess Melanson, COO, Utilidata

Rob Schwartz, President & COO, Anterix, Inc.

Paula Gold-Williams, President & CEO, CPS Energy


Texas A (4th Floor)

B3 New Transmission Investments & FERC Order 1000


FERC Order 1000 outlines the transmission planning process for new transmission investment, in certain instances, removes a transmission owner's federal right of first refusal, and allows for a competitive bidding process for new projects. The jury is out on whether the competitive bidding process has been beneficial for end-use customers or not. This panel will explore the following questions: How is FERC Order 1000 performing to date? How much potential savings do transmission solicitations offer customers? Where are there room for improvements in planning procedures? Is expansion of competitive solicitation the answer to our transmission woes or are there other underlying obstacles to building the grid of the future? 

Moderator: Hon. Sally Talberg, Michigan

Hon. Talina Mathews, Kentucky

Judy Chang, Principal, The Brattle Group

Dr. Emma Nicholson, Senior Project Manager, Concentric Energy Advisors

Neil Millar, Executive Director of Infrastructure Development, California ISO

Ed Tatum, VP RTO and Regulatory Affairs, American Municipal Power





Concurrent Sessions Section C

9:00–10:00 a.m.

Lone Star A

C1 Ex Parte Communications: the Rules of the Game and Pitfalls to Avoid

This session has been submitted for CLE Ethics credits. A separate sign-in form and certificate will be located inside the room if needed.

This panel discussion will highlight various state ex parte statutes and rules, and compare state ex parte requirements or limitations to those at the federal level. The presenters will provide anecdotal information as to how ex parte problems have arisen in various states. Additionally, presenters will highlight pitfalls to avoid when practicing before or with a state PUC, including the potential hazards of inadvertent ex parte communications.


Rosemary Chiavetta, Esq. Secretary, Pennsylvania

Debrea M. Terwilliger, Assistant General Counsel, Nevada

Lone Star B

C2 The Dynamic Role of Commissions in Addressing Infrastructure Resilience

The role of state commissions in the discussion about resilience for energy, water, and communications infrastructure is often limited to the scope of their authority in defining, measuring, and regulating resilience. However, commissions play an important role as a convening entity, ensuring utilities and asset owners are working closely with state government partners to maximize their ability to anticipate, absorb, adapt to, and rapidly recover from major disruptions. Given new technologies and services as well as evolving threats like cyberattacks, hurricanes and floods, wildfires, and extreme heat, the commission's role in aligning utility regulation and resource planning, energy assurance, and emergency operations is essential to ensuring grid resilience. This panel will explore how commissions can lead productive collaboration among multiple stakeholders to improve resilience at least cost to ratepayers.

Attendees will

  • Gain an understanding of how commissions approach energy and water resilience
  • Learn about the role of commissions, utilities, and other state entities in resilience planning.
  • Understand how changing technology, threats, and customer demands influence resilience.

Moderator: Hon. Jay Balasbas, Washington


Frank Almaraz, Chief Administrative & Business Development Officer, CPS Energy

Jonathon Monken, Senior Director, Electricity Infrastructure Policy, PJM Interconnection, LLC

Jay Morrison, VP of Regulatory Affairs, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Paul Stockton, Managing Director, Sonecon, LLC

Lone Star C

C3 Advances, Challenges, and Opportunities with Comprehensive Electricity Planning

The NARUC-NASEO Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning (, announced one year ago, is a multi-year initiative envisioning how to better align distribution, resource, and transmission planning processes. Sixteen pairs of state utility commissions and energy offices have met twice in robust working sessions to iterate on opportunities to improve planning. During this session, attendees will hear about progress made to date, plans for the coming year, and key issues Task Force members are discussing as they develop roadmaps that could serve as starting points for any state.

As planning moves from process design to implementation, identifying needs, setting criteria for solutions, and prioritizing investments become paramount. Panelists will discuss emerging thinking on applying energy optimization approaches to planning as planners weigh numerous distributed and centralized options for meeting grid needs. The discussion will also include an overview of modeling tools that can be useful to aide in these efforts and of new investments being made to support planning-related decision making.


Moderator: Hon. Jeff Ackermann, Colorado


Carl Linvill, Principal, Regulatory Assistance Project

Samir Succar, Director, ICF

Johanna Zetterberg, SEE Action Network, U.S. Department of Energy