Committee on Consumers and the Public Interest

This agenda is subject to change.

Sunday, February 11

Committee on Consumers and the Public Interest (Tentative)

1:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Closed Business Meeting

1:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Closed Business Meeting




Monday, February 12

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. 
Location: Ballroom Central

Joint with Committees on Consumers and the Public Interest, Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment, Gas, Telecom, and Water: General Session

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. 

Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival

Michael Webber, author of Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival, will sit down with NARUC President John Betkoski III, Hon. Mary- Anna Holden, Chair of the Committee on Water and Hon. Judy Jagdmann, Chair of the Committee on Electricity, for an insightful discussion of the water-energy nexus.  Dr. Webber is the deputy director of the Energy Institute, co-director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator, and associate professor of mechanical engineering and Josey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources at the University of Texas.

Committee on Consumers and the Public Interest

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Rooms vary - see below
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Joint with Committee on Telecommunications 

Lifeline Changes: Where Do We Go From Here?

Renaissance East

With the recent FCC actions, where do we go from here and how are consumers affected? Will there be a competitive environment or will the schism of haves and have nots continue to grow in the low income information divide?

Moderator:  Hon. Maida Coleman, Missouri


Elin Swanson Katz, President of National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates and Consumer Counsel, Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel

Mark Rubin, Senior Executive for Government Affairs, TracFone Wireless

Joseph K. Witmer, Assistant Counsel, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission

M. Teresa Hopkins, Executive Director, Navajo Nation Telecommunication Regulatory Commission

Claude Aiken, Wireline Legal Advisor to Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Federal Communications Commission

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

Joint with Committee on Water

Strategies for Addressing Water Affordability

Renaissance West A

This panel will explore one of the most challenging and widespread concerns facing the water industry – affordability. Aging infrastructure and increasing costs to comply with regulatory standards has contributed to rapid increases for water and wastewater services across the United States. This panel will first provide a snapshot of the magnitude of water affordability issue. Panelists will then focus on how utilities finance low-income customer assistance programs.

Moderator: Hon. Daniel Hall, Missouri


Sonia Brubaker, Program Manager, EPA Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center

Stacey Isaac Berahzer, Senior Project Director, Environmental Finance Center, University of North Carolina School of Government

Maureen Westbrook, Vice President, Customer and Regulatory Affairs, The Connecticut Water Company 

Tuesday, February 13

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Joint with Committees on Consumers and the Public Interest, Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment, Gas, Telecom, and Water: General Session

Location: Ballroom Central
9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. 

Welcome by NARUC President, Hon. Jack Betkoski.

Remarks by The Hon. Kevin J. McIntyre, Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 


Implications and Complications of Tax Reform 

Moderator: Hon. Sadzi Oliva, Illinois


Hon. Tom Forese, Arizona

Ryan Wobbrock, Vice President - Senior Analyst, Moody's Investors Service

Danny Kermode, Assistant Director for Water and Transportation, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

Marty Kropelnicki, President and Chief Executive Officer, California Water Service Group


Reading Materials:

Regulated Utilities – U.S. Tax Reform is Credit Negative for Sector, but Impact Varies by Company (January 24, 2018)

Rating Action: Moody's Changes Outlooks on 25 U.S. Regulated Utilities Primarily Impacted by Tax Reform (January 19, 2018)

Tax Reform – U.S. Corporate Tax Cut is Credit Positive, while Effects of Other Provisions Vary by Sector (December 21, 2017)

Utilities – U.S. Tax Reform Likely to Increase Credit Risk, Impact Dependent Regulatory Response (March 15, 2017)


Committee on Consumers and the Public Interest

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Rooms vary see below
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Joint with Committee on Electricity

Will Big Ideas and Innovation Benefit the Small Consumer?

Ballroom South

As technology increases the electric infrastructure, programs, and tariffs that are possible, identifying who would benefit from, and pay for, their implementation is often a threshold question for utilities and regulators alike.  But how many of the big ideas on the horizon can benefit customers with limited financial means?  What should regulators consider when deciding whether implementation or cost allocation should be broad or targeted?  Which ideas should be voluntary?  Panelists will answer these important questions, including any lessons learned from investments during the past decade in, among other things, “smart” meters, prepaid electric programs, net metering tariffs, and electric vehicle infrastructure. 

Moderator: Hon. Martha Guzman-Aceves, California


Bill Malcolm, Senior Legislative Representative-State Advocacy and Strategy, AARP

Tara Oglesby, Vice President, Customer Experience, Ameren Missouri

Nat Treadway, Managing Partner, Distributed Energy Financial Group LLC

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

Joint with Committee on Gas

Creating a Win/Win for Consumers on Natural Gas Distribution Energy Efficiency Programs, Conservation, and other Innovative Consumer Focused Strategies in Today’s World.

Congressional Ballroom

Energy efficiency and conservation programs are a key component in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping consumers manage their energy bills. Proper regulatory incentives for utilities to promote energy efficiency, conservation, demand response and innovation are important.  Imperative is delivering savings to consumers through programs that actively promote cost-effective and prudent approaches to such efficiencies and consumer focused innovations.  This dynamic discussion will showcase the current energy efficiencies, conservation, demand response and innovative gas consumer focused technologies that are helping to drive major advancements in the natural gas arena.  It will examine the regulatory policies that help support consumer choices, increased energy efficiency, conservation, demand response and these innovations.

Moderators: Hon. Dianne Solomon, New Jersey

                      Hon. Brandon Presley, Mississippi 


Steven Nadel, Executive Director, ACEEE

Carlos Nouel, Vice President, New Energy Solutions, National Grid

Holly Pearen, Senior Attorney, EDF

Tanya J. McCloskey, Acting Consumer Advocate, Pennsylvania

Daniel Lefevers, Director, State and Consumer Programs, Gas Technology Institute

Wednesday, February 14

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. 

Joint with Committees on Consumers and the Public Interest, Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment, Gas, Telecom, and Water: General Session

Location: Ballroom Central

Remarks by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska


Remarks by The Hon. Mignon Clyburn, Federal Communications Commission


The Great Debate: All of the Above? 

Sometimes adversarial, occasionally cooperative, and always dynamic, the relationship between the electric industry’s leading trade association and the nation’s foremost environmental advocates has again been tested in recent years. In their fourth appearance before NARUC’s general session, representatives of the Edison Electric Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council return to a topic at the center of their first debate, in 2002: the appropriate role for utility regulators in guiding the selection of the resources we use to generate electricity.

Making a debut appearance for EEI is Phil Moeller, executive vice president for the association and a former FERC commission. For NRDC, an old hand makes a return to NARUC’s main stage: Ralph Cavanagh, the co-director of the organization’s energy program.

Taking the affirmative and negative sides, respectively, they will debate the following proposition:

Resolved: As a guiding principle for oversight of utilities’ planning and investment, NARUC’s membership should embrace an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

Moderator: Hon. Travis Kavulla, Montana

Panelists: Ralph Cavanagh, NRDC 

                  Phil Moeller, EEI

  Concluding Remarks by NARUC President, The Hon. Jack Betkoski