This agenda is subject to change.


Sunday, February 11

Staff Subcommittee on Electricity

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

(Closed Meeting from 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.)

Location: Rooms vary - see locations below

Joint with Staff Subcommittee on Electric Reliability

10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Joint session with Staff Subcommittee on Water

Closed Meeting (Meeting Room 16)

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

Advancing Electrification: How to Ensure it is Efficient and Beneficial (Ballroom South)

Accelerating the adoption of electric technologies has the potential to boost efficiency, increase productivity, reduce costs, reduce emissions, and improve grid operations.  Efficient electrification is central to what the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) calls the Integrated Energy Network (integratedenergynetwork.com) — a vision for a pathway to the future energy system. The benefits of efficient electrification can be summarized as three E’s: economics, efficiency, and environment. The Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) frames the opportunity similarly, characterizing as beneficial electrification implementations that embrace these multiple benefits explicitly.  In this session, two leaders in electrification will discuss the benefits and costs of electrification; enabling technologies, policies, and rate structures to enable it; implementation issues; future opportunities, drivers, and challenges for electrification; and some early results from EPRI’s National Electrification Assessment.


Michael Marchand, Arkansas Staff  


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

Ken Colburn, Principal and Director of U.S. Programs, RAP

2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Distribution Poles and Lines -  How Strong is Strong Enough?  

(Ballroom South)

Across the country much of our electric infrastructure exists above ground supported by wood poles and cross arms.  These assets serve as the backbone to the electric distribution system and understanding their design standards as well as their failure modes is key to understanding the overall resiliency of any distribution system.   This panel will explore the work of the NESC, which develops the standards for utility pole strength and loadings, and how utilities are testing the limits of these assets in the field through experiments such as the Tappan Lake test. 


Ryan Laruwe, Engineering Specialist, Michigan Public Service Commission


Nelson Bingel, Chairman, National Electrical Safety Code

2:45 p.m. - 3:15 pm

Fossil Energy R&D Benefits Analysis

(Ballroom South)

The National Energy Technology Lab's Systems Engineering and Analysis office uses state-of-the-art integrated economic models to optimize the lab's R&D activities. This presentation will outline how NETL uses energy market modeling to prioritize research activities and forecast how technology deployment will impact economic outcomes such as employment, income, GDP, and electricity costs. 


Chris Nichols, Analyst, Systems Engineering and Analysis, NETL

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

Joint with Committee on Critical Infrastructure

EMP- What Regulators Need to Know (Ballroom North)

EPRI initiated a three-year research project in April 2016 to assess the potential impacts of high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) on the bulk power system and to develop cost-effective mitigation options.  As a part of this research effort, EPRI is collaborating with DOE, the national labs and DoD.  EPRI has released two reports that, together, provide a scientifically-based understanding of what the E3 component of a high-altitude EMP attack could do to the power grid. The first report focused on the potential risk of thermal damage to bulk power transformers.  The most recent report, released in December 2017, assessed the potential for voltage collapse.  Ongoing research is investigating the impacts of E1, E2, and E3 from a HEMP event as well as identifying appropriate, cost-effective mitigation options.  Panelists will discuss EPRI’s work to date, next research steps, and the implications for Federal and State regulators.




Hon. Cheryl LaFleur
Commissioner, FERC

Randy Horton
EMP Program Manager, EPRI

Mike Howard
President and CEO, EPRI

Devon Streit
Deputy Assistant Secretary - ISER, DOE

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 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.


Hon. John Rosales, Illinois


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.


Hon. Anthony O’Donnell, Maryland


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. 


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.


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. 


Hon. Matt Schuerger, Minnesota


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

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 Electricity

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

Joint with Committee on Consumers and the Public Interest

Will Big Ideas and Innovation Benefit the Small Consumer?

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.


Hon. Martha Guzman Aceves, California


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

Tara Oglesby, Vice President of Customer Experience, Ameren Missouri

Nat Treadway, Managing Partner, Distributed Energy Financial Group LLC

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

Resiliency Made Real What Worked, and What Didn't, When Severe Weather Events Hit the US in 2017

Over the past year, Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico faced widespread outages following hurricane winds and heavy rains, California experienced devastating loss from wildfires, and much of the nation faced extreme colds.  As we move forward in the new year what lessons have we learned?  What does a resilient grid look like in relation to weather events?  Does this image change for a resilient island?  How have the industry’s mutual assistance agreements worked to ensure resiliency? 


Hon. Jeremy Oden, Alabama


Hon. Angela O'Connor, Massachusetts

David Owens, Chair, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority Transformation Advisory Council


2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Networking Break
2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Business Meeting
3:45 p.m - 4:00 p.m.

Networking Break

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

PURPA in 2018 – At the Tipping Point or Still on Point?

With the introduction of the PURPA Modernization Act of 2017 (H.R. 4476, Walberg - MI) and the recent appointment of four new FERC Commissioners, will 2018 bring changes to PURPA or its federal regulations?  Have FERC’s “one-mile rule” or its 20-megawatt presumption for market access run their course?  Have Congress and FERC struck the appropriate balance between State and federal responsibilities under PURPA?  Panelists will discuss experiences under PURPA while exploring these and other issues.    

Moderator:  Hon. Judith Williams Jagdmann, Virginia


Hon. Travis Kavulla, Montana

Todd Glass, Esquire, Partner, Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati

Kendal Bowman, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Policy - NC, Duke Energy 

Steve Thomas, Energy Contract Manager, Domtar 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