research lab

NARUC Research Lab

Our Mission

NARUC's 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.

The Research Lab staff creates and runs 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 webinar: Do rate increases lead to unemployed regulators? 

Thursday, August 17 | 1:00 - 2:00 pm EDT

NARUC and the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis collaborated to research the links between large electricity rate or bill increases and public utility commissioner tenure. Through a series of interviews with former regulators and statistical analysis of electricity prices and regulator tenure, we examined whether rising rates leads to fired commissioners and what other circumstances might affect public outcry over rate increases. We invite interested commissioners and staff to hear our conclusions and offer feedback for improving the paper when it is released as a final product in September 2017. 

Please register in advance to receive access information. 


Carbon Capture Storage & Utilization Site Visit to Petra Nova

Houston, Texas | September 22, 2017

State commissioners and staff are welcome to join NARUC on a site visit to the Petra Nova carbon capture for enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) project at the W.A. Parish Plant in Thompsons, Texas, southwest of Houston. Petra Nova is the world's largest post-combustion carbon capture facility and the leading example of carbon capture technology in the U.S. The project captures over 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide per day from a 240-MW coal unit and transports the gas via pipeline to an oilfield, where it is pumped underground for enhanced oil recovery and permanent sequestration. Commissioners and staff will travel to Houston on September 21 and will spend September 22 touring the facility and hearing presentations from NRG project staff before returning home later that day. 

Travel assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Contact Kiera Zitelman for more information or to confirm your place on the trip. 


NEW PAPER! 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 Lab 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 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!  

Research Lab Staff

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

Sharon Thomas
Kerry Worthington
Kiera Zitelman



We have a number of currently active projects.

  • Electricity Policy Innovation (Funded by the US Department of Energy)
  • State Electricity Regulators Technical Assistance (Funded by the US Department of Energy)
  • Carbon Management (Funded by the US Department of Energy)
  • Energy Assurance & Critical Infrastructure Protection (Funded by the US Department of Energy)
  • Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization (Funded by the US Department of Energy)
  • Smart Grid (Funded by the US Department of Commerce)