Committee on Electricity

Final Program  (Using agenda content available as of June 25, 2016) 

Return to the Compiled Agenda

Monday, July 25

Location: Broadway E
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Hedging and Long-Term Contracting: What Does it All Mean? (Joint session with the Gas Committee.)

Price spikes can trigger howls of protests from customers. Long-term contracting for fuel supplies used to be the norm but has fallen out of favor in the last few decades. Hedging has become synonymous with the use of short-term market instruments to hedge short-term risk. Utilities have available a wide range of hedging instruments and strategies to keep price surprises at a minimum. This panel will discuss short-term hedging of market risk, long-term commodity supply contracts, and reserves investments (where the utility owns the resource-in-the-ground) and explore what State commissions might want to consider when evaluating prudent hedging and contracting standards.

Hon. Diane Burman, New York

Hon. Lamar Davis,  Arkansas

Hon. Eric Skrmetta, Louisiana

Dr. Craig Pirrong, University of Houston

Orlando Alvarez, President and CEO, BP Energy

Tim Sherwood, Vice President Gas Supply Operations, AGL

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1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 

Clean Coal & Carbon Management Subcommittee (Joint session with the full Electricity Committee.)

Moderator: Hon. Brian Kalk, North Dakota

Fred Eames, Partner, Hunton & Williams: Policy parity for carbon capture and storage technologies.

David Malkin, Drax Biomass: Co-firing of pellets with coal to reduce CO2 and other emissions at existing coal-fired power plants.

Tom Clarke, President, Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund:  Offsetting CO2 emissions with reforestation.

Evan Granite, NETL: Recovering rare earth metals from coal and coal ash. Preview of September NARUC visit to NETL in Pittsburgh.

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2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

The Plains & Eastern Line: What's in the Public Interest?

In March of 2016 the US DOE announced that it would directly participate by owning the Arkansas portion of the proposed Plains & Eastern high-voltage direct-current power line, and that it would use its eminent domain powers as necessary to ensure that the line gets built. This panel will tackle a host of issues that are raised by the Plains & Eastern project: How does the public interest get defined in such cases? When should a federal agency's definition of public interest trump that of an impacted State? What are the limits to DOE's authorities under Section 1222 of the 2005 Energy Policy Act? What has DOE done to make sure this line is needed and that State concerns are addressed? Will DOE play a similar role with other projects?

Moderator: Hon. Ted Thomas, Arkansas

Cary Kottler, General Counsel, Clean Line Energy Partners, LLC

Sam Walsh, Deputy General Counsel, US Department of Energy

Jordan Wimpy, Attorney, Gill Ragon Owen, PA

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4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

State Regulation of Physical and Cybersecurity of Utility Distribution Systems (Joint session with the Water, Critical Infrastructure and Gas Committees.)

Hear about the actions that two States have taken to address the increasing threats against utility distribution systems. FERC Commissioner LaFleur will then provide a federal perspective on these State actions. The discussion will include how all parties may coordinate efforts and provide information sharing using, among things, the Cybersecurity Act of 2015.

Moderator: Hon. Philip Jones, Washington

Hon. Cheryl LaFleur, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Hon. Richard Mroz, New Jersey

Hon. Arthur House, Connecticut

Presentation Resources:

Tuesday, July 26

Location: Broadway E                             
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Net Metering: The Debate Continues

Joint session with the Energy Resources and the Environment Committee.

In December of 2015, Public Utilities Fortnightly published an article entitled "Solar Battle Lines," by Dr. Charles Cicchetti (former chair of the Wisconsin Commission) and Jon Wellinghoff (former chair of FERC). In February, Ashley Brown (former Ohio commissioner) challenged many of the Cicchetti/Wellinghoff assertions in a lengthy response that prompted a rebuttal by Cicchetti. In this panel, Brown and Cicchetti will explain their opposing positions and continue the debate about the costs and benefits of net-metering. Afterwards, three committee members will provide "responses from the trenches."

Moderator: Hon. Edward Finley, North Carolina

Dr. Charles Cicchetti, Pacific Economics Group and Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California

Ashley Brown, Harvard Electricity Policy Group

Hon. Beverly Heydinger, Minnesota

Hon. David Noble, Nevada

Hon. Audrey Zibelman, New York

1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Carbon-Free Baseload Power: The Nuclear Options

Joint session with the Nuclear Issues Subcommittee

Are Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) the future of nuclear? SMRs are small -- 300 megawatts or less -- compared to a typical 1,000-MW nuclear power plant. They can generate emission-free electricity in remote locations or provide process heat to industrial applications. Their "modular" design means they can be manufactured completely in a factory and delivered and installed at the site in modules. What's happening on the advanced nuclear front? Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TVA and EPRI will overview SMR and advanced nuclear technology, research and prospects. TVA's Watts Barr Nuclear Plant Unit 2 began start up in May, and TVA submitted an Early Site Permit application with the NRC to build a new, smaller type of plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Moderator: Hon. Ann McCabe, Illinois

Dr. Phil Ferguson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Director of Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems Division

Tina Taylor, Director of External Affairs -- Nuclear, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

Jeffrey Perry, Program Manager, Tennessee Valley Authority

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2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Business Meeting

Committee Chair: Hon. Edward Finley, North Carolina

Consideration of Resolutions

Hon. Beveryly Heydinger, Minnesota

Janet Sena, Ex. VP, NERC

Chris Mele, Legislative Director, NARUC

Katrina McMurrian, Ex. Dir., Critical Consumer Issues Forum

4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

What's Up in Ohio?

The Buckeye State is ground zero in the debate about competitive electricity markets, at-risk base load plants, retail competition, and the limits of State jurisdiction. In March 2016, the Ohio Commission approved applications by FirstEnergy and AEP for power purchase agreements that would allow their generation fleets to benefit from "non-bypassable surcharges" imposed on retail customers. By late April FERC rescinded the two companies' waivers of affiliate power sales restrictions. Back in Ohio, rehearing requests and new proposals add to the confusion. Two former Ohio commissioners with different perspectives will explain the fast-paced goings-on. Our third panelist will discuss how State efforts to drive generation decisions lead to State-Federal conflicts.

Moderator: Hon. Audrey Zibelman, New York

Steven Lesser, Sr. Counsel, Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP

Todd Snitchler, Principal, Vorys Advisors LLC

Ari Peskoe, Sr. Fellow in Electricity Law, Harvard Law School