national council on electricity policy

Mini Guide Series

The NCEP mini guide series promotes dialogue among state electricity decision-makers by highlighting examples of successful engagement across NCEP members. Each mini guide features collaborative approaches, lessons learned, and interviews with leading state and local decision makers.


This mini guide provides insights into the relationships among regional transmission organizations, independent system operators and regional state committees across four regions: the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and the Organization of MISO States, ISO-New England and the New England States Committee on Electricity, Southwest Power Pool and the SPP RSC and finally, PJM and the Organization of PJM States. The mini guide provides a succinct background and overview of the functions of the RTOs and RSCs, explores engagement within states related to RTOs, shares examples of effective collaboration and features specific insights from interviews with executives from SPP, PJM, ISO-NE and MISO in addition to commissioners from Ohio, Indiana, Kansas and Connecticut who serve on the RSCs in their regions.

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Decisions on where to site transmission lines must balance the needs of the electric system with other uses of land. States have evolved several ways to organize this important decision-making process. This mini guide outlines the interests that must be balanced, organizational approaches being used, and insights into different state processes. Interviews with key agency leads and staff involved in the day-to-day work of siting transmission lines from Arizona, Kansas,  Massachusetts, and South Carolina offer observations about the relative consistency in responsibilities and approaches across different institutional structures.

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This mini guide describes the overlap and distinction between PUCs and CAs, examines the current and emerging state of engagement between the two parties, and offers ideas for how relationships can be strengthened based on the experiences of PUCs and CAs. To inform the paper, the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) conducted interviews with commissioners, commission staff, and consumer advocates (from state agencies and nonprofits) who have experience working with their counterparts.

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The relationship between SEOs and PUCs differs in each state based on statute, the organization and mission of executive branch agencies, the pace of change in energy markets and resources in the state, institutional norms at both agencies, and whether SEOs have traditionally intervened or otherwise participated in commission proceedings, either formally or informally. The four states interviewed for this Mini Guide represent different approaches to the relationship. States featured include Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, and North Carolina.

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Growing numbers of local governments, such as cities and counties, have identified benefits from working with public utility commissions (PUCs or commissions) to further their goals around clean energy, resilience, and affordability. Historically, local governments have sought direct partnerships with the utilities who serve their communities. Increasingly, local governments are investing in understanding and engaging in the regulatory process that influences those utilities. States featured include California, Colorado, Hawaii, and Minnesota.

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The purpose of this mini guide is to identify organizational models that enable effective state-level coordination during energy-related emergencies, describe their benefits, and highlight how some states have overcome challenges that may inhibit successful coordination. State agencies interviewed for this guide include public utility commissioners, state energy officials, and state offices of emergency management. States featured include Oregon, Wisconsin, and Virginia.

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This mini guide looks at ways PUCs and State Legislatures interact, how their relationships can be strengthened, and how legislators and commissioners can look to further engage with their counterparts. To inform the paper, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) conducted interviews with state legislators and commissioners who have been successful in forming effective working relationships across the two bodies. NCSL also conducted statutory research. States featured include Minnesota, Vermont, and Washington.

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