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:

 

Games with the Lab

The Lab 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. 

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. 

Due to our partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, Lab staff may be able to conduct these trainings at no cost to states. Contact the Lab if you are interested in bringing us to your state. 

  

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

 

Projects

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)