Committee on Water

This agenda is subject to change.

 

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 Water

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Ballroom North & Renaissance West A

10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Joint Session with the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment

Solar Desalination (Ballroom North)

Desalination provides an option for a source of water in arid regions.  Traditional reverse osmosis desalination, however, is an energy intensive process.  Desalination technology is evolving and being paired with solar technology.  Is this pairing of technologies technically feasible?  Is the pairing economically feasible?  Is solar desalination a possible solution for drought challenged water utilities in the United States?  

Moderator:

Hon. Donald J. Polmann, Florida

Panelists:

Leon Awerbuch, IDA Director/Dean of the Academy, International Desalination Association

Kelly Beninga, Chief Executive Officer, SkyFuel, Inc.

Joe Cresko, Strategic Analysis Lead, Advanced Manufacturing Office, United States Department of Energy

Francois Perreault, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University

Peter E. Shanaghan, Senior Environmental Engineer, Infrastructure Branch - Drinking Water Protection Division, United States Environmental Protection Agency

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

Black Sky Hazards and Water Sector Resilience

This panel will feature Dr. Paul Stockton, a well-regarded expert on disaster preparedness and the implications of extended power outages. Dr. Stockton will discuss how Black Sky power outages - outages lasting a month or more and affecting multiple states - could turn a natural or manmade disaster into a catastrophe. He will also address resilience measures and provide insight on the factors that water and wastewater utilities might consider in order to maintain minimal service levels during Black Sky outages. Dr. Stockton, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense, is the author of the Electric Infrastructure Security Council’s Handbook II: Water, which focuses on Black Sky planning for the water sector.  Dr. Stockton is also the managing director of the firm Sonecon, LLC. The panel will also feature Lauren Wisniewski, an environmental engineer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Security Division. Ms. Wisniewski will provide an overview of EPA’s Power Resilience Guide. She will also discuss upcoming EPA and sector activities focused on Black Sky outages and resilience.

Moderator:

Hon. Ann C. Pongracz, Nevada

Panelists:

Paul Stockton, Managing Director, Sonecon, LLC

Lauren Wisniewski, Environmental Engineer, United States Environmental Protection Agency

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

Joint Session with the Committee on Consumers and the Public Interest

Strategies for Addressing Water Affordability

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 Y. Hall, Missouri

Panelists:

Stacey Isaac Berahzer, Senior Project Director, Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Sonia Brubaker, Program Manager, United States Environmental Protection Agency Water Finance Center

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

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

Business Meeting

The Water Committee will welcome Commissioner Robert F. Powelson of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission who will address the Water Committee and discuss current and emerging water-energy nexus issues.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency will provide an update and overview of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.  Items of Business of the Water Committee will be covered including discussion and action on Resolutions and approval of the minutes from the Annual Meeting.  Additionally, updates from the various partners of the Water Committee will be given, including NAWC, NARUC, and NARUC's Rate School.  Members of the Committee will also have time to brief the Committee on activities of interest in their State.  

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

Participants:

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 Water

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Renaissance West A
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

The Challenge of Regulating Small Water Utilities

Many regulators are faced with a common challenge – the regulation of small water utilities. Ensuring safe and reliable water service at affordable rates is already difficult and complex.  Those complexities are often multiplied when the water service provider is a small, rural utility.  Small, rural utilities often face difficulty in navigating and complying with various regulatory requirements, replacing infrastructure, and maintaining a viable utility in general.  This panel will explore how regulators have responded to the challenges faced by small water utilities, including the pros and cons of consolidation and simplified rate processes.  The panelists will also discuss options for a regulator facing the abandonment of a water utility.     

Moderator:

Hon. Brad Johnson, Montana

Panelists:

Christine Maloni Hoover, Senior Assistant Consumer Advocate, Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate

Matthew Klein, President, Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina

Kathryn Kline, Senior Research Associate, National Regulatory Research Institute

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

Responding to Crisis:  Storm Response Efforts

This past year, the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean experienced catastrophic storm and hurricane damage, and most recently, the Eastern United States experienced the "bomb cyclone" and resultant damage. This panel will discuss the efforts undertaken in the wake of those storms to restore critical utility services and primarily what efforts were undertaken to restore water and wastewater service.  The panelists will give an update as to the status of those efforts, the challenges faced, and any lessons learned that could be applied generally in storm response efforts and water utility resilience and hardening.  

Moderator:

Hon. Raymond Williams, United States Virgin Islands

Panelists:

Hon. Johann (John) A. Clendenin, United States Virgin Islands

Hon. Joseph L. Fiordaliso, New Jersey

Anthony Hurley, Associate Managing Director, Utility Practice, Witt O'Brien’s

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

Lead Service Line Collaborative Update

Composed of 23 national public health, environmental, water utility, labor, consumer, and state and local governmental organizations, the Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative released an online toolkit to help communities voluntarily develop and implement lead service line removal programs. The toolkit includes a roadmap for getting started, suggested practices to identify and remove lead service lines in a safe, equitable, and cost-effective manner, policies that federal and state leaders could adopt to support local efforts, and links to additional resources that may be helpful when developing local programs. The Water Committee hosted a presentation by the Lead Service Line Collaborative at the 2017 NARUC Winter Meetings.  The Lead Service Line Collaborative will provide an update of its activates since then and the continuing efforts to address lead service line issues.  

Moderator:

Grace D. Soderberg, Director of State Regulatory Relations, National Association of Water Companies 

Panelists:

Gail Bingham, President Emeritus, RESOLVE

Suzanne Chiavari, Engineering Practice Leader, American Water

Tom Neltner, Chemicals Policy Director, Environmental Defense Fund

Lynn Thorp, National Programs Director, Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund

Steve Via, Director of Federal Relations, American Water Works Association

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

Tax Reform and the Implications for Regulated Utilities

The recent federal tax package includes significant tax reform.  What does that tax reform mean for utilities, and in particular water utilities, which are often capitalized with substantial debt?  This panel will explore the aspects of tax reform applicable to regulated utilities and the issues regulators will face as a result.

Moderator:

Hon. Sadzi M. Oliva, Illinois 

Panelists:

Mark Beyer, Chief Economist, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (Retired)

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

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

David Spacht, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Artesian Resources Corporation

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