Consumer Affairs

Return to the Compiled Agenda

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Staff Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs

Renaissance Ballroom East
9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
9:00 a.m – 10:00 a.m.
Socializing the Cost of Solar

Solar energy is popular with customers and utilities. But, the debate on how to pay for residential solar is far from over. Some states have experienced a solar cost-shift to non-solar customers and, as a result, new demand rates for solar customers. Some utilities are implementing community solar projects that supposedly benefit all customers in a neighborhood. How are low-income customers being affected in this solar revolution? Join us as this panel examines the “cost” of residential solar.


Cynthia L. Muir, Director, Office of Consumer Assistance, Florida PSC


William H. Malcolm, Sr. Legislative Representative/State Advocacy, AARP

Galen Barbose, Electricity Markets & Policy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Tony Sanchez, NV Energy

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.
Fighting Utility Customer Scams

Over the last several years, the volume and complexity of scams aimed at utility consumers have been growing, costing customers millions of dollars annually. Scammers are becoming more aggressive and have added deceptive technologies such as caller ID spoofing and convincing but fake utility IVR menus. What is being done to address this problem and what can state commissions do to educate consumers and help stop these scams? Join this presentation to learn about Utilities United Against Scams, an industry collaborative across North America to share data and best practices and implement initiatives to inform and protect customers.


Jared Lawrence, Vice President of Revenue Services, Duke Energy, LLC

10:15 – 10:30 a.m
Networking Break
10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
Disability Access Communications — The Digital Migration
(Joint Session with the Staff Subcommittee on Telecommunications)

While providers manage the transition of network structures to digital and IP configurations, the equipment and services themselves and how they are being used by people with disabilities have also been undergoing radical changes. Hint: It’s not the TTY anymore, and hasn’t been for years. This panel will provide an overview of how the consumer and specialized equipment markets, equipment distribution and telecom relay programs, and state and federal policies are evolving. We’ll delve into the status and future of disabled access in the digital/IP world and how people with disabilities themselves are managing and driving change to continue


Jeff Richter, USF Director, Wisconsin


Laurie Flaherty, Coordinator, National 911 Program, USDOT

Karen Peltz Strauss, Deputy Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC

Gregg Vanderheiden, Professor, iSchool, and Director of Trace R&D Center, University of Maryland

Christian Vogler, Director of Technology Access Program, Gallaudet University NASRA/TEDPA, Invited

Committee on Consumer Affairs

Renaissance Ballroom East
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m.
Inclusive Financing for Distributed Energy Solutions

Low- and moderate-income communities have proven to be hard to reach with efficiency programs that offer an incentive for participation yet require a balance of payment in the form of either cash or credit with collateral. To overcome persistent barriers, utility commissions and oversight boards in multiple states have approved the use of an opt-in tariff for cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades. By tying investments to a meter rather than a person, utilities are able to finance efficiency projects regardless of the income, credit score, or renter status of a customer. With collective experience spanning more than 10 years, utilities offering tariffed on-bill investment programs have reported zero disconnections for non-payment, low risk to cost recovery, and elevated levels of customer satisfaction. Is their experience illuminating a bridge across the great divide that strands so many low- and moderate-income customers that commissioners, utilities, and consumer advocates are striving to reach?


Hon. Brandon Presley, Mississippi


Jim Gardner, Commissioner Emeritus, Kentucky

Geoff Marke, Economist, Missouri Office of Public Counsel

Wally Nixon, Legal Counsel, Arkansas Public Service Commission

Curtis Wynn, CEO, Roanoke Electric Cooperative (North Carolina)

2:45 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Give the People What They Want?: Polling in the Wake of 2016 Election and What it Means for Congress, the New Administration and State Decision Makers

In this panel, Mr. Ashford and staff of The Hawthorn Group will discuss numerous topics on public opinion and polling. First, the polling during the presidential election and if the polls were wrong and if so why. Because climate change and clean energy were big election discussions, panelists will look at public opinion on these issues to try to determine what they really think. Finally, this panel will examine polling on the apparent public mistrust of our federal institutions and explore if this distrust is limited to federal agencies or if it also extends to State agencies as well.


John Ashford, Chairman, The Hawthorn Group

Michael Meyers, Managing Partner & President, TargetPoint