Daily Agenda

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This agenda is subject to change.

Saturday, July 15:

Staff Subcommittee on Telecommunications

9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Grand Ballroom A
9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Closed Session - State Staff

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Networking Break

10:45 a.m - 12:00 p.m.

Panel I:  911 Multi-state I/P Outages - Where To From Here?

The implementation of I/P Broadband networks has created opportunities for new telecom services, public safety 911 capabilities and 911 network diversity.  But at the same time, the additional complexities and expanded number of network failure points have proved challenging in assuring the reliability of the networks and the ability for consumers to reach 911. There have been numerous widespread 911 outages, causing federal and state entities to re-examine how best to address the challenges. This panel will explore some of the recent outages and discuss how all stakeholders can best come together to assure a reliable 911 public safety network.

Moderator: Daryl Branson, Colorado


Budge Currier, 911 Branch Manager Public Safety Communications, California Office of Emergency Services

Mary Boyd, VP:Govt & External Affairs, West Safety Services., Inc

Walt Magnussen, Chief Information Technology Consultant for Vendor & Agency Relations, Texas A&M University

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Lunch (On Own)

1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Current Issues:  Reports from NARUC

*Litigation Report – Brad Ramsay

*Legislative Report – Brian O’Hara

Joint Board & NRRI Reports

*Separations – George Young, Vermont

*Universal Service – Labros Pilalis, Pennsylvania

*706 Joint Conference - TBD

*NANC –Carolee Hall, Idaho

*NRRI – Sherry Lichtenberg, NRRI

 Subgroup Reports

*Consumer Issues – TBD

*Cyber Security –John McClain, US Department of Homeland Security

*Federal Regulation & Legislation – Joe Witmer, Pennsylvania

*Numbering – Bonnie Johnson, Minnesota

*State Regulation – Robin Ancona, Michigan

*Technology & Service Quality – Teresa Ferguson, Colorado  

1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Panel I:  FCC vs. FTC - Privacy NOW!

The FCC under former Chairman Wheeler imposed detailed privacy mandates on telecom carriers and providers.  However, on March 28, 2017 Congress took a final step and passed a resolution of disapproval of the FCC’s privacy regulations, which was later signed by the President.  Current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has stated that, “the FCC will work with the FTC to ensure that consumers’ online privacy is protected through a consistent and comprehensive framework.”  The panel will examine the legal structure guiding FCC-FTC regulation, recent case law on that topic, and the FCC’s possible use of the FTC practices as a way of ensuring internet privacy.

Moderator: Brad Ramsay, General Counsel, NARUC


Barbara Cherry, Professor, Indiana University

Lynn Follansbee, Vice President Law & Policy, US Telecom

Eric Null, Policy Counsel, New America Open Technology Institute

Michael Santorelli, Director, Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute, New York Law School

2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Networking Break

3:00 p.m - 3:30 p.m.

(Location:  Marina 4)

Presentation:  NRRI Colloquium - Broadband Adoption:  A State Perspective  


Sherry Lichtenberg, Principal Researcher - Telecommunications, NRRI

3:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Networking Break
3:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Resolution Introduction - Industry Input


Subcommittee on Education and Research

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Seabreeze

1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Closed Executive Session



2:15 p.m. Open Session
2:15 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.

Welcome and Introductions

Hon. Butch Howard - Subcommittee Chair - South Carolina

2:20 p.m. - 2:25 p.m. Approval of Minutes
2:25 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

NRRI Updates

Rajnish Barua, Executive Director

2:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.

Annual Reports (10 minutes each)

  • Jan Beecher - Director, Institute of Public Utilities, MSU
  • Cindy Blume - Program Manager, Center for Public Utilities, NMSU
  • Cara Lee Mahany Braithwait - Director, WI Public Utility Institute
  • Stephen Ferris - Executive Director, Financial Research Institute, MU
  • Mark Jamison - Director, Public Utility Research Center, UFL
3:20 p.m. - 3:25 p.m.

Certificate of Continuing Regulatory Education (CCRE) Update

Jan Beecher - Director, Institute of Public Utilities, MSU

3:25 p.m. - 3:35 p.m.

Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs

Jan Beecher - Director, Institute of Public Utilities, MSU


3:35 p.m. - 3:40 p.m.

Update on Subcommittee Projects

  • 2017 Summer Internships (NARUC)
  • New Commissioner Regulatory Orientation

 Erin Hammel - Director, International Programs, NARUC

3:40 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Review of Applications for Support

Erin Hammel - Director, International Programs, NARUC 

3:45 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Scholarship Report and Awardee Selection

Sue Daly - Chair, Staff Subcommittee on Education and Research

3:50 p.m. - 3:55 p.m.


Hon. Jack Betkoski, III - Chair, ICER

3:55 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. New Business

NRRI Colloquium

Location: Marina 4
2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Kathryn Kline, Senior Research Associate  

Distribution System Investment Charges: A Retrospective

Distribution System Investment Charges were first implemented in Pennsylvania over two decades ago to allow for non-revenue producing investments to replace aging infrastructure. Benefits of implementing these charges include: enhanced quality of service, fewer leaks, avoidance of rate shock, and significant progress in replacing aging infrastructure. Currently more than 17 States allow for some form of DSIC for water, wastewater, and even sometimes natural gas utilities. This presentation will present an overview of which States currently use some form of DSIC, which utilities are eligible to use DSIC charges, and what types of systems most frequently utilize this regulatory tool. It will also review arguments for and against the use of DSICs, and present brief case studies presenting different utility experiences with DSICs.


Sherry Lichtenberg, Principal Researcher - Telecommunications

Broadband Adoption:  A State Perspective

The National Broadband Plan envisioned extending broadband availability throughout the country by modifying the focus of existing universal service initiatives to include the ability for all U.S. citizens to access both voice and high speed data services regardless of their location - urban, rural, or insular, including tribal lands. Since the Plan's release, the FCC has used the federal Universal Service High Cost Fund, rechristened the Connect America Fund (CAF), to extend broadband availability, redefine broadband speed requirements, and create initiatives to make broadband services available to all. The States have met this challenge by creating or refocusing State funds to support broadband build out and by creating new programs to increase the adoption and use of broadband by their citizens, including establishing State broadband funds. This paper will review State efforts to increase broadband availability and adoption through the development of State broadband programs, the funding of broadband initiatives as an adjunct to federal programs, including broadband in State universal service programs, and including broadband in State-funded Lifeline programs. The paper will also examine the impact of the technology transition and the reduction of State oversight of IP and wireless services on the States' ability to encourage universal broadband deployment.


Ken Costello, Principal Researcher - Energy & Environment

Natural Gas Under Siege

The U.S. natural gas industry has enjoyed a great run over the past eight years. It has contributed to the economy by creating new jobs and significantly reducing households’ and businesses’ energy bills, and to the environment by accelerating the retirement of coals plants. Up until the last two or so years, most environmental groups viewed natural gas favorably in facilitating the transition to a low-carbon environment. Today, these groups as well as others have changed their perspective of natural gas. They see natural gas as a barrier to achieving climate change targets that, in their minds, will help assure against catastrophes. They propose to phase out, as quickly as possible, the use of natural gas in electricity generation and to include in the dialogue the idea of residential and business customers switching their consumption of natural gas and other fossil fuels for space heating, water heating, and other end uses to electricity (labeled “electrification”). This presentation will examine these proposals in terms of their merits and how State Utility Commissions can address them. 


Tom Stanton, Principal Researcher - Energy & Environment

Updating State Utility Interconnection Rules for Improved Distribution System Modeling and Advanced Inverter Functions

Distributed generation interconnection rules have been adopted by at least 32 states and the District of Columbia. DG interconnection rules describe the procedures used by applicants and utilities to ensure that applications are processed expeditiously and the interconnected systems will not harm the utility system or any other utility customer’s equipment.This research paper, co-authored by Michael Coddington, Principal Engineer for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, briefly summarizes the current status of interconnection rules and reviews the many changes now being developed within the IEEE and Underwriters Laboratory (UL) standards working groups, as well as the various screening methods used for evaluating interconnection applications that states and utilities have recently updated. Updated standards, along with rapid progress in modeling software used to evaluate proposed DG interconnections, offer the triple promises of: 
(1)    higher levels of grid hosting capacity for DG; 
(2)    improved processing timelines for both applicants and utilities; and, 
(3)    reduced risks of negatively impacting electric reliability and overall safety. 

The paper also reviews several practices for facilitating safe and reliable interconnections that are already working well in some jurisdictions, and that could be readily adopted by other states and utilities.