NRRI Fellows

Donna M. Attanasio

Senior Advisor for Energy Law Programs & Professorial Lecturer in Law, The George Washington University Law School 

Donna Attanasio joined The George Washington University Law School in July 2013 as Senior Advisor for Energy Law Programs, where she leads the Law School’s Sustainable Energy Initiative. Ms. Attanasio has worked on electric energy sector matters for over    30 years, including over 24 years as a lawyer in private practice. She is a former President of the Energy Bar Association and currently serves on the board of the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association. Ms. Attanasio received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and an A.B. in Economics from Smith College.  Her primary areas of research, writing and teaching relate to the electric utility industry and its transition to a sustainable fuel mix, with an emphasis on consumer protection. This work includes regulatory issues related to the deployment of microgrids, electric vehicles, and other emerging technologies. She hopes and expects that her work will be enhanced through collaboration with NRRI staff and fellows.

Theresa Flaim, Ph.D.

Principal, Energy Resource Economics, LLC

Energy Resource Economics, LLC, specializes in electricity pricing, energy efficiency and demand response, regulatory and business strategy, and industry restructuring issues. Prior to forming Energy Resource Economics, Flaim was Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Analysis at the Tennessee Valley Authority. She was recruited to TVA in June 2002 to lead the development of strategic plans that would help TVA transition its business model in anticipation of legislation that would have allowed its wholesale customers to choose other suppliers. In August 2005, her duties were expanded to include the pricing and contracts functions. She retired from TVA in January 2008.

Prior to joining TVA, Flaim served for nine years as Vice President of Strategic Planning at Niagara Mohawk. In that position, she led the development of business and regulatory strategy and the evaluation of competitive market conditions for the Syracuse, New York-based power corporation. Her responsibilities included the design of policies and procedures to facilitate retail choice, including rate designs that would accommodate distributed generation without shifting costs to other customers.

She is recognized nationally as an expert on the electric power industry and has written more than 100 articles, reports, and conference presentations. She has also testified before the New York State Public Service Commission in 11 separate regulatory proceedings, and before the Arkansas Public Service Commission.  Flaim has a doctorate and master’s degree in resource economics from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Missouri- Columbia.

Les Gulasi

Independent Energy Consultant

Les Guliasi is an independent energy consultant with Trans Bay Cable LLC and SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners, where he is responsible for governmental & regulatory affairs and business development. Following a lengthy career at PG&E, Les worked for Reliant/RRI Energy (now NRG Energy), and served as a consultant with

Booz|Allen|Hamilton, focusing on developing renewable energy projects on military installations. Les has worked with government agencies and independent energy producers and transmission owners in resource and strategic planning, business and renewable energy development, generation and transmission project permitting and development, and governmental and regulatory affairs. He has been a Board member of the Power Association since 2003 and previously served as Vice President.

Bernard F. Neenan, Ph.D.

Independent Research Consultant

Research interests and experience are characterizing how electric consumers and businesses use and value electricity to support the development of a portfolio of electric services that match diverse power demands with spatially and temporally varying supply costs.  At the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Neenan initiated primary field research to characterize how customers respond to price changes and to different price structures using robust statistical designs. He employed advanced research methods like discrete choice experiments to identify the factors that derive residential customer preferences for electric vehicles, photovoltaic systems, and among alternative retail pricing structures.

As a consultant to utilities worldwide, he has designed, managed, and interpreted the results of research initiatives to:

  • establish performance characteristics for power grid investments, including automatic metering reading (AMI), voltage and VAR control, distributed automation, distributed generation resources, and storage
  • quantify the performance of energy efficiency measures
  • compare the impacts of time-differentiated pricing designs including the influence of enabling, load management technologies; and
  • monetize the value of electric service

In collaborative efforts with agencies and universities, he developed a benefit/cost analysis framework widely used to evaluate grid investment alternatives, including distributed generation resources, established field research protocols, and synthesized research results to support policy deliberations.  Neenan worked with Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and other central market entities to develop demand response program. He devised performance evaluation techniques in response to FERC directives to conduct comprehensive program evaluations that are now the industry standard. These valuation protocols have been used to support seminal national policy studies, and to develop retail pricing portfolios for utilities and competitive retailers.  Dr. Neenan has published extensively in industry publications and professional journals. He is engaged by electric utilities, consumer groups, regulators, government agencies, RTOs, and technology developers to help them understand the impacts and consequences of changes in how electricity is produced and used.

Charles Zielinski

Attorney

Charles Zielinski focuses his practice on the legal and policy issues presented by economic, safety and environmental regulation of the telecommunication and energy industries. He has represented clients in a wide range of matters, including negotiation and preparation of power contracts, power equipment supply agreements, and power facility services agreements; rate case litigation and administrative agency rulemakings; energy facility certification litigation; qualifying facility, exempt wholesale generator and market-based rate authorizations; appellate advocacy and strategic counseling. Mr. Zielinski has represented clients before the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, State Regulatory Commissions and the federal courts.

Mr. Zielinski served as an attorney with the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., and later was Chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission, the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, as well as the New York State Task Force on Telecommunications Policy. Additionally, Mr. Zielinski chaired a national committee that produced a report analyzing the regulatory implications of the National Energy Act for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC). He also served on the Board of Advisors of the Electric Power Research Institute and New York State’s Environmental Board. Mr. Zielinski is a previous co-leader of Bryan Cave’s Energy and Natural Resources Group.