Agenda

This agenda is subject to change.

Monday, February 12

 

OPSI Breakfast Meeting - Invitees Only (7:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.) Mount Vernon B

 

Registration Open (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

Location: Ballroom Foyer

 

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.

 

Networking Break (10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.)

 

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

Panelists: 

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

Panelists:

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 

Committee on Electricity

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Ballroom South
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Electric System Resiliency – What Is Our Mission?

Regulatory efforts to improve electric system resiliency can prove costly and controversial, so it’s important to understand their underlying goals. Whether the goal is to prevent major outages, recover quickly when they occur, or help communities survive them, resiliency efforts must be identified correctly and prioritized accordingly.  Furthermore, as services and the grid become more connected while outages remain unpredictable, the bulk power system’s resilience will be tested.  How does technology and regulation play a role in strengthening the resilience of the bulk power system? Our speakers will explore the many different and nuanced definitions of “resiliency”, explain the benefits and costs of new technology investments, and update us on actions at the Federal level including the recently initiated proceeding in response to the DOE NOPR.

Moderator:

Hon. John Rosales, Illinois

Panelists:

Arshad Mansoor, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, EPRI

Robin Lunt, Esquire, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP

Alison Silverstein, Alison Silverstein Consulting

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

Subcommittee on Nuclear Issues - Waste Disposal

Out of Site!  Accessing the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Fund to Accelerate Decommissioning 

Current regulations allow as long as sixty years to fully decommission a nuclear plant.  With a number of recent nuclear plant retirements and more expected within the next few years, the decommissioning of nuclear plants and restoring their sites for other uses is an issue that must be addressed.   Because full decommissioning requires the removal of onsite nuclear waste, additional retirements raise nuclear storage issues, which remain divisive.  Although the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has primary responsibility over decommissioning, State regulators may also play an important role.  Mark Lewis, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Energy Solutions, will discuss how the Decommissioning Trust Fund may hinder or prevent expedited decommissioning of plant sites and what actions can be taken to access the Decommissioning Trust Fund and accelerate the decommissioning of plant sites.  He will also discuss the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s proposed rulemaking regarding the Decommissioning Trust Fund.

Moderator:

Hon. Anthony O’Donnell, Maryland

Panelist:

Mark Lewis, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Energy Solutions

2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Networking Break
2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Subcommittee on Clean Coal and Carbon Management

The Rarity of Rare Earth Elements

Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are an essential component of countless items both for the military and civilians. With an ever-increasing demand for REEs, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) aids in the development of domestic sources from coal and coal by-products to capture these 17 prized elements. In the ever-interconnected global economy, few realize the relationship among supply, demand, and what could be a national security issue. Through the development of a successful domestic REE program, NETL not only addresses this concern but also ensures continued economic growth on a technologically critical family of elements. 

Panelist:

Mary Anne Alvin, Rare Earth Element Technology Manager, NETL 

Modular Gasification: New Markets for Coal Use

Modular coal gasification systems can potentially open new markets for coal applications and power generation. NETL is engaged in an innovative effort to reduce the cost and risk of modular gasification to enable deployment of technologies for power generation and coal conversion in regions with high cost of electricity and abundant fuel supply while simultaneously providing economic benefits to communities in which these systems are built. Recently DOE/NETL selected projects will support the development of advanced technologies fostering early adoption of modular coal gasification.  Project focus will be on the development of emerging modular gasification technologies with potential to add new coal use markets.

Panelist: 

Dave Lyons, Gasification/Fuels Technology Manager, NETL

3:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Networking Break
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Perspectives on Integrating Variable Resources 

Over the last decade the electric utility industry has seen an unprecedented amount of innovation.  This session will explore some of the front runners in the development and deployment of innovative technologies and how these technologies could help shape the modernized grid.   Discussions will include how utility-scale solar can be leveraged as an ancillary service to the grid as well as how smart inverters can be used to foster the integration of distributed energy resources onto the grid and support the development of microgrids.  The session will conclude with a discussion of the DOE’s Voices of Experience campaign that provides a platform for smart grid implementers at all stages of project development to share their experiences and learn from one another. 

Moderator: 

Hon. Matt Schuerger, Minnesota

Panelists:

Eric Lightner, Director of Federal Smart Grid Task Force, DOE 

Mahesh Morjaria, Ph.D., Vice President of PV Systems, First Solar, Inc.

Murali Gaggu, Manager of Energy Systems Optimization and Control Group, Power Systems Engineering Center, NREL

Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Ballroom North
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Joint Session with the Committee on Water

Solar Desalination

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.

Shark Tank the TV Show Takes on Electric Vehicles

What is the one thing that State Commissions need to do to further the adoption of electric vehicles?  Listen to several industry experts as they each try their hand at convincing Commissioners that they have the right idea.

Moderator:

Hon. Phil Jones, Commissioner Emeritus, Washington

Panelists:

Joe Halso, Associate Attorney, Sierra Club Environmental Law Program 

David Kolata, Executive Director, Illinois Citizens Utility Board

Patrick Bean, Associate Manager, Policy & Business Development, Tesla

Laura Renger, Principal Manager, Air & Climate Policy, Southern California Edison

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

How to Create a Distribution System Planning Process: Lessons Learned From Fellow Commissioners

Edison Electric Institute members spent $32B nationally in 2016 on distribution systems alone. Investments are likely to increase as utilities harden power systems to maintain reliability and resilience, pursue improved visibility and control with higher levels of distributed energy resources, and enable new services for customers.

Interest in distribution system planning is growing as more utilities invest in advanced grid technologies. A new report for the U.S. Department of Energy, State Engagement in Electric Distribution System Planning, documents Commission activities in 16 states, including eight states with statutory or Commission requirements for distribution system or grid modernization plans — California, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan and New York. In this panel, Commissioners in several of these states will share their experiences:

  • Driving forces – What do Commissions expect to achieve through distribution system planning?
  • Getting started – What are the building blocks for successful outcomes?
  • Oversight roles – How are Commissions involved in various planning activities?
  • Barriers – What are the roadblocks, and how can they be overcome?

Other Commissioners and Staff are welcome to join in the discussion.

Moderator:

Lisa Schwartz, Deputy Group Leader/Energy Efficiency Team Leader Electricity Markets and Policy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Help Me Help You: Planning for Distributed Energy Resources in the Wholesale Market

This panel will discuss how state commissioners can best enable DERs to participate in wholesale markets and best leverage these DERs to reduce costs for all customers in their jurisdiction. As more retail customers establish the ability to control their energy usage, the greater the impact will be on the high-voltage transmission grid and the local distribution grid.

This panel will explore the opportunities, as well as the jurisdictional and technical issues, that can arise from integrating distribution-connected DERs resources into the bulk electric system, such as:  How can state commissions identify and resolve technical challenges when integrating distribution-connected DERs into the bulk electric system?  How could a model tariff be structured to promote DER participation in wholesale markets while capturing/creating benefits to the distribution grid? What specific issues should state commissioners be paying attention to in the FERC NOPR addressing storage and DERs? What changes should state commissioners advocate for within ISOs/RTOs?

Moderator:

Hon. Phyllis Reha, Commissioner Emeritus, Minnesota

Panelists:

Marcus Hawkins, Director Member Services and Advocacy, Organization of MISO States (OMS)

Lon Huber, Head of Consulting, Strategen

Greg Geller, Director of Government Affairs at EnerNOC

Raiford Smith, Vice President, Energy Technology and Analytics, Entergy

Committee on Gas

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Congressional Ballroom
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 

PHMSA Administrator Howard “Skip” Elliott shares his vision and personal perspective at the Committee on Gas meeting.  

Following his keynote speech Mr. Elliott will help kickoff a brief educational session on today’s important regulatory and multi-industry issues regarding Pipeline Safety Management System (SMS).

Moderator:

Introductory Remarks:  Hon. Norm Saari, MI, Chair Pipeline Safety Subcommittee Chair

Panelists:

Howard "Skip" Elliott, PHMSA Administrator (Keynote Speaker) 

Steve Allen, Pipeline Safety Director, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission

Shawn Lyon, Vice President of Operations, Marathon Pipe Line LLC

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

All Gas, No Pipe

Some state utility commissions are doing their part to advance natural gas infrastructure as demand increases and new supplies are discovered, but will capacity constraints worsen as federal permitting of interstate pipelines crawls? Are state universal service programs moving fast enough to make gas more available?

Presenter:

Hon. Stan Wise, GA, Chair Committee on Gas 

Rebuttal panel :

TBA

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

21st Century Security: Preserving Trust and Promoting Innovation in the Utility Sector

As security breaches and digital threats grow in number and scope across business and government agencies, regulators and utilities are actively seeking solutions to protect their critical data while improving service delivery. An issue for regulators and utilities to consider is how new technologies like cloud computing are being used to strengthen cyber security and improve services, and how to modernize systems and regulatory frameworks to hasten the deployment of more secure services. This panel will engage a cross section of experts from various sectors to discuss cybersecurity and the delivery of public services with modern technology. Panelists will share models for how cloud solutions support cybersecurity goals in other industries and identify obstacles to improve cybersecurity for utilities and public utilities commissions, and how these issues can be addressed through best practices and policy.

Moderators:

Hon. Robert M. Pickett, AK

Hon. Richard S. Mroz, NJ

Panelists:

Kimberly Denbow, American Gas Association

William F Hederman, Senior Fellow, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, University of Pennsylvania

Alan Halachmi, Senior Manager of Solutions Architecture, Amazon Web Services 

Paul Kurtz, CEO and Founder, TruSTAR Technology

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

Demystifying Natural Gas Marketing and Trading

Natural gas markets have many moving parts and price formation is not always obvious to someone who does not live in the market every day. 

This session will try to dispel some preconceptions about trading in the US natural gas market.  It will shed some light into what is needed for a well-functioning market to operate, how various market participants complete their gas transactions, and the differing needs of various customer groups.  The discussion will touch upon the day to day operations of a marketing and trading organization and highlight the key price formation factors, including how global prices can impact US prices.  Finally, the panel will answer questions in a Q&A session from a real life trader’s perspective

Moderator:

Hon. Odogwu Obi Linton, MD

Panelists:

Dena Wiggins, President Natural Gas Supply Association

Orlando Alvarez, President and CEO, BP Energy Company

Kevin Maule, US Natural Gas Trading Manager, Statoil

Committee on Telecommunications

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

What Regulators Need to Hear

Communications service providers are in the midst of profound changes driven by the inexorable forces of the market, technology and consumer preference. These changes have enormous implications for customers in both rural and urban settings, and create challenges for companies in the wireline, wireless and cable industries. It is important that State regulators hear the fundamental dynamics that are disrupting business as usual. The introduction of new players and rapidly advancing technologies on the global level challenge many of the legacy policy constructs that have been in place for more than 80 years, and the impact of regulation on investment and broadband deployment must be understood if we are to be successful in delivering promises of new technology and competition. You will hear three senior executives representing the largest trade associations engage in a discussion about how the public interest can best be served during these transitions. 

Moderator:  Hon. Paul Kjellander, Idaho

Respondents: 

Hon. Gregg Sayre, New York

Hon. Tim Schram, Nebraska 

Panelists:

Jon Banks, Senior Vice President Law & Policy, USTelecom

Scott Bergmann, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, CTIA

Rick Chessen, Senior Vice President, Legal and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Legal Officer, NTCA

 

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

Joint with Committee on Consumers and the Public Interest

Lifeline Changes Where Do We Go From Here?

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

Panelists: 

Claude Aiken, Wireline Legal Adviser to Commissioner Clyburn, FCC

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

Mark Rubin, Sr. Executive for Government Affairs, Tracfone

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

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

2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Networking Break
2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

 

Wall Street Analysis

What is the future of Telecommunications in the coming market shifts and technological changes? Who are the winners or losers? Will the markets move advancement of Telecommunications and Broadband for all investors?

Moderator:  Hon. Sarah Freeman, Indiana

Panelists: 

Jennifer Fritzsche, Managing Director, Wells Fargo

Tim Horan, Managing Director, Communications and Cloud Equity Research

Frank Louthan, Managing Director, Telecom Equity  Research, Raymond James

3:45 p.m. - 4:00p.m.

Networking Break

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

Local Number Portability Administrator (LNPA) Transition: What Commissioners and Consumers Need to Know

Beginning in April, the systems that make up the national number portability database that serves the United States will be transitioned from Neustar to iconectiv. This is a large systems transition for which carriers and vendors are in the midst of preparing. Regiona migrations are scheduled to occur between April 8 and May 20, 2018. What do Commissioners need to know to be prepared for the transition? When will the transition take place for each State? What resources are available if Commissioners or consumers have questions? Finally, what plans are in place to address transition issues, if or when they arise?

Moderator: Hon. Wendy Moser, Colorado

Panelists: 

Greg Chiasson, Transition Oversight Mngr., Price Waterhouse Cooper 

Jim Falvey, Partner, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC. 

Teresa Patton, NAPM LLC Co Chair, AT&T

Bill Reidway, Vice President, Product Management, Neustar

Betty Sanders, Senior Director, Charter Communications 

Kathy Timko, LNPA Administrator, iconectiv

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.  

Staff Subcommittee on Law

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Meeting Room 6
10:45 a.m.  - 5:00 p.m.

Agenda to be distributed at the meeting.

 

Lunch - On Your Own (11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.)

 

Committee and Staff Subcommittee Chairs Luncheon (11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.) Renaissance West B

 

Networking Break (2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.)

 

Networking Break (3:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.)

 

Commission Staff Power Hour

5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.

(Red Tags Only)

Location: Renaissance West B
5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. 

Commission Staff Power Hour

Here's the deal - go straight to Renaissance West B because we expect a full house!   

No ticket required - just your red badge. 

 

 

Regional Meetings

5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.

(Invitees Only)

Locations - see below
5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. 

Regional Meetings (invitees only)

  MACRUC - Meeting Room 2
  MARC - Meeting Room 4
  NECPUC - Meeting Room 5
  SEARUC - Meeting Rooms 8 & 9
  Western - Meeting Room 3