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Nov 2017
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Baltimore Hilton 401 West Pratt Street Baltimore , Maryland 21201
Tel: (443) 573-8700
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NARUC 129th Annual Meeting - National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

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Overview

Event Overview:

Join us in Charm City—Baltimore, Md.—for the 129th Annual Meeting and Education Conference! This meeting promises to be one of NARUC’s best yet. Energy policy, telecommunications, and other utility topics are issues at the forefront of trade and mainstream news. We convene engaged stakeholders, informed experts, representatives from industry, federal policymakers, and dedicated state regulators for robust, timely discussions.

Energy and utility matters affect everyone, every day. We look forward to seeing you!

About NARUC:

Founded in 1889, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to representing the State public service commissions who regulate the utilities that provide essential services such as energy, telecommunications, water, and transportation.

NARUC's members include all fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Most State commissioners are appointed to their positions by their Governor or Legislature, while commissioners in 14 States are elected.

Agenda

Nov 12   

Registration Open (8:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.)

Location: TBD

 

Subcommittee on Supplier and Workforce Diversity

 

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Staff Subcommittee on Energy Resources and the Environment

 

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Staff Subcommittee on Electricity

 

9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Staff Subcommittee on Electric Reliability

 

9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

Staff Subcommittee on Telecommunications

 

9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Staff Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs

 

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Task Force on Military Workforce Development

 

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Staff Subcommittee on Critical Infrastructure

 

10:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
10:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

New Commissioner Forum and Luncheon (10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., new Commissioners only)

Location: TBD

 

Washington Action (closed meeting)

 

10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
10:30 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Committee on Critical Infrastructure

 

1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: TBD
1:30 p.m. - xx:xx p.m.

 

 

 

Committee on Consumer Affairs

 

1:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Location: TBD
1:30 p.m. - xx:xx p.m.

 

 

 

Committee on International Relations

 

1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: TBD
1:30 p.m. - xx:xx p.m.

 

 

 

Staff Subcommittee on Executive Management

 

1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: TBD

1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

For Commission Staff Only.

·       Overview

·       Discussion items

o   From Blue to Black Skies - Preparing for Large Scale and Long Term Power Outages

o   Protecting Information - Being Transparent versus Being Secure

o   Operational Challenges - Roles and Responsibilities

o   State Legislative Updates – What’s Hot and What’s Not

o   Roundtable

·       Future Meetings/Adjournment

 

 

 

Task Force on Innovation

 

1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: TBD
1:30 p.m. - xx:xx p.m.

 

 

 

Staff Subcommittee on Gas

 

3:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: TBD
3:15 p.m. - x:xx p.m.

 

 

 

Welcome Reception (5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.)

Location: TBD
Nov 13   

Board of Directors Breakfast Meeting (7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.)

Location: TBD

 

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

Location: TBD

 

Committee on Telecommunications

 

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment

 

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Committee on Electricity

 

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Committee on Gas

 

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Uncovering the Opportunities for Natural Gas Access and Expansion Initiatives

Joint session with Task Force on Natural Gas Access and Expansion and Committee on Consumer Affairs

The energy challenges facing the nation are enormous and the possible solutions are multifaceted. Many State energy regulators are actively looking at ways to smartly modernize and expand their natural gas infrastructure. In recognition of these regulatory efforts, in April 2017, NARUC established a Natural Gas Access and Expansion Taskforce with the goal of examining, during its eight-month tenure, the development of best practices and recommendations regarding natural gas service for underserved and unserved areas of the country, including, but not limited to rural communities. These regulatory decisions are generally centered on ensuring safety and reliability at just and reasonable rates for consumers. Such natural gas expansion opportunities, if successful, can help leverage necessary benefits such as energy security; economic growth; community development and sustainability; increased energy efficiency; environmental goals; and lower costs for consumers. This moderated discussion will explore the real-life examples from several successful ongoing initiatives and share the status of the Taskforce review. As such, it is an important discussion for State regulators who may be interested in spearheading their own natural gas expansion efforts.

Moderators: 

Hon. John Coleman, Pennsylvania

Hon. Julie Fedorchak, North Dakota

Hon. Brandon Presley, Mississippi

Panelists:

Hon. Nick Wagner, Iowa 

   

 

 

Committee on Water

 

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - xx:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Staff Subcommittee on Law

 

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. - x:xx a.m.

 

 

 

Regulators Luncheon (Commissioners, Commission Staff and Commissioners Emeritus) (11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.)

Location: Key 8

Commissioners, Commission Staff and Commissioners Emeritus are invited to participate in the Annual Regulators Luncheon (pre-registration required). 

Attendees will assemble hygiene packages for The Baltimore Station (TBS). The Baltimore Station is an innovative therapeutic residential treatment program supporting veterans and others who are transitioning through the cycle of poverty, addition, and homelessness to self-sufficiency.  Over the course of their 28-year history, TBS has maintained a positive reputation for providing high quality services to homeless veterans. 

Robert Duvall, Vice President Customer Operations, Southern Company Gas, will explain programs they have implemented to hire US military personnel.

 

Opening General Sessions featuring Officer Elections and Terry Barnich Award

 

1:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Location: TBD
1:30 p.m. - x:xx p.m.

 

 

 

Networking Break (3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.)

 

General Session

 

3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Location: Holiday Ballroom

 

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

Shooting the Bull…What Regulators Need to Know to Understand Wall Street

This general session will be an engaging and edgy discussion with ‘Wall Street Insiders.’ Participants will share their insights and thoughts on what Wall Street really looks for when they are reviewing commission decisions and actions in the regulatory landscape. Attendees will learn valuable information on how commissioner and commission staff actions (and statements) may affect the financial health of the industry. Attendees also will learn how industry performance, financial trends and regulatory initiatives are used in rating utilities. Discussion will also touch upon Wall Street assessments post recent hurricanes and tropical storms.

Moderator: Hon. Diane Burman, New York

Panelists: 

  • Joy Brown,VP & Senior Analyst,  Duff& Phelps Investment Management
  • Heike Doerr, Senior Principal Analyst, S&P Global Market Intelligence
  • Anthony Ianno, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley
  • Greg Gordon, Senior Managing Director, ISI Group LLC
  • Leslie Rich – Managing Director, Equity Analyst, JP Morgan Asset Management

 

 

 

MACRUC Regional Meeting (invitees only) (5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)

Location: TBD

 

NECPUC Regional Meeting (invitees only) (5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)

Location: TBD

 

MARC Regional Meeting (invitees only) (5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)

Location: TBD

 

SEARUC Regional Meeting (invitees only) (5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)

Location: TBD

 

Western Regional Meeting (invitees only) (5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)

Location: TBD

 

Board of Directors Dinner (Board Members Only) (7:00 – 9:30 p.m.)

Location: Designated Hitters Room at Camden Yards
Nov 14   

Registration Open (8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)

Location: TBD

 

General Session

 

8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Location: TBD
8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Mother Nature—The Ultimate Disrupter!

The utilities industry has been facing disruptors coming from within the industry for many years now. We have talked about new business models and ways to increase demand and create new customers/revenue streams, but are we prepared for the disruptions to the industry from a force indifferent to the very existence of the industry? Recently, two major hurricanes have had severe impacts on the energy, water, gas, and telecommunications sectors. Some areas with total destruction are looking at starting from scratch. This session will feature federal, State, and local officials as well as high level representatives from the electricity, pipeline, water, and telecommunications industries.

During this timely session, attendees will:

  • Learn exactly what happened during these natural events
  • Understand how utilities were prepared for this kind of disruption
  • Learn how utilities will change their preparation for future natural disasters
  • Identify the role of the regulator in these circumstances—before, during, and after.
9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Networking Break
9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Mother Nature—The Ultimate Disrupter!

(See the description above.)

 

 

Networking Break (10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)

 

Concurrent Sessions Section A (11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)

 

Location: TBD
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A1  

 

 

 

Location: TBD
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A2

Is A Cyber 9/11 In Our Future?

In August, the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) unanimously approved a 45-page report that found the federal government and the private sector are “falling short” in protecting critical systems. The report also states that the nation faces “a pre-9/11-level cyber moment, with a narrow and fleeting window of opportunity to coordinate our resources effectively.”

Attendees will:

  • Receive an overview of the NIAC report and its specific 11 recommendations to address vulnerabilities.
  • Hear experts discuss their reactions to the report.
  • Learn what actions are being taken to secure critical infrastructure networks from cyberattacks.

View/download the text of the report (a PDF).

Moderator: Hon. Rick Mroz, New Jersey

Participants:

Robert H. Mayer, Senior Vice President – Cybersecurity, USTelecom Association

 

 

 

 

 

Location: TBD
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A3

Weathering the Storm: Communications Network Resilience

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Superstorm Sandy, and the Derecho taught us many lessons. Changes in response time, resilience measures to the network, and mutual assistance procedures were just a few measures examined in some regions. During this session, utility providers, emergency management experts, and regulators will discuss how measures implemented from previous experiences informed recent restoration efforts and what lessons were learned this time around.

 

 

 

Location: TBD
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A4

The Battle for Peak Capacity: Batteries vs. Gas

The United States electric grid is expected to need more peaking capacity resources, both to replace retiring units and to integrate higher levels of variable generation. Natural gas-fired power plants are the dominant technology providing peaking capacity. But for how long? Rapid and significant cost declines in battery energy storage have some proponents arguing that it can substitute for the gas peaking equipment. This session will debate whether battery storage can really compete with gas peakers.

Through an interactive Jeopardy-style experience, attendees will:

  • Learn innovative ways regulators are approaching planning and procurement of new peaking capacity.
  • Learn what the benefits are (if any) to consumers.

 

 Moderator: Hon. Ted Thomas, Arkansas

 

 

 

Location: TBD
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A5

From the Joneses to the Jetsons! Smart Communities and Infrastructure

If communities are getting “smarter,” regulators must stay ahead of the curve. Utilities are investing in a smarter electric grid that benefits customers and are working on projects in ‘smart communities’ to establish programs to bring more resilient and sustainable options to customers. As the smart technologies advance, industry, stakeholders, regulators, and policymakers should be on the same page.

Attendees will participate in a dynamic discussion that will address:

  • How 'smart communities' are defined and how the emerging technologies will affect utility customers
  • What regulators may see in future proceedings and what investments utilities are making
  • Stakeholder perspectives on how ratepayers may be affected, along with privacy and cyber concerns
  • How financing these new programs will affect ratepayers in the near and far terms
  • Benchmarks and metrics to assess performance

 

 

Annual Officer Installation Luncheon and Innovation Awards (12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.)

Location: Holiday Ballroom 

 

Concurrent Sessions Section B (1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.)

 

 

Location: TBD
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. B1  

 

 

 

Location: TBD
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. B2

Frenemies and Free Riders

Who doesn’t want a free ride? Utility poles are in place but are they available to anyone? A recommendation from the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) on pole attachments is expected in early November. This report will likely include major changes to the rules governing pole attachments, conduits, and rights-of-way. The report may also suggest pre-emption of State and local authority.

Attendees will:

  • Become better informed about the recommendations of the BDAC.
  • Hear reactions to the realities on pole attachments and the BDAC’s recommendations from the panel of experts representing telecommunications and electricity providers, regulators, and local governments

 

 

 

Location: TBD
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. B3  

 

 

 

Location: TBD
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. B4

Upstream with A Paddle

The water industry is grappling with challenges that require significant financial investment, technical expertise, and technological innovation. These challenges are exacerbated by widespread fragmentation. There are more than 52,000 community water systems where 83 percent of the water systems serve less than 3,300 people. Many small and mid-sized water utilities lack resources needed to surmount the critical issues they are facing. State legislatures have instituted legislative and regulatory solutions that encourage acquisition of struggling waters systems and incentivize investment. This panel will explore legislative and regulatory options to help ensure that water can be safely, reliably, and affordably provided to consumers.

Attendees will be presented with:

  • Ideas to manage market fragmentation
  • Solutions to improve troubled water systems
  • Incentives to encourage long-term infrastructure investment.

 

Moderator: Hon. Sadzi M. Oliva, Illinois

 

 

 

Location: TBD
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. B5  

 

 

NRRI Colloquium

 

3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Location: TBD
3:00 p.m. - xx:xx p.m.

 

 

 

Board of Directors Meeting (3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

Location: TBD
Nov 15   

Concurrent Sessions Section C (9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.)

 

Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. C1

To Know or Not to Know: That is the Ethical Question

Scenario: A State Right-to-Know (RTK) requester was the Appellant in ongoing litigation he filed against a State utility in a court proceeding. The RTK requester asked the State public utility commission (PUC) for e-mail exchanges between counsel for the PUC and counsel for the utility regarding the PUC’s strategy and participation as amicus curie in that court proceeding, as well as disclose the exchange of draft legal arguments. Because these communications were an attorney-client work product between the Commission’s attorneys and the utility’s counsel and were PUC counsel’s legal strategies and consultations in furtherance of representation of the PUC’s legal interest, those communications were withheld as confidential attorney-client and attorney work product.

The RTK requester appealed and the State Office of Open Records (OOR) ordered the disclosure of the communications. The OOR determined that because no confidentiality agreement existed between the PUC attorneys and the utility’s counsel, and the Commission was only an amicus party, the Commission waived the privilege. OOR created a new separate standard for government attorneys when only the State Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the practice of law. No such requirement of an agreement exists when attorneys share the same litigation position. The OOR also ignored the ethical dilemma placed upon the attorneys by granting the RTK requester and his attorney access to privileged documents that could never be obtained under the Canons of Ethics. The ethical question was also raised for attorneys acting as solicitors for municipal governments, which are subject to the RTK Law in that State.

Attendees will:

  • Learn how to identify information and certain types of records to determine if the record fits the definition of a State’s RTK Law.
  • Review how to determine if a record is a public document or if it is protected by exemption from disclosure.
  • Participate in a discussion on the ethical responsibility to protect certain types of information balanced against transparency of government operations and the public’s right to know.

Facilitator: Rosemary Chiavetta, Pennsylvania

Participants: TBD

 

 

 

Location: TBD
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. C2  

 

 

 

Location: TBD

                                                                  

9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.  C3

Oh, What a Beautiful ‘Site’? New Realities in Siting

Multiple State and federal agencies are involved in transmission planning and siting. States are being asked to evaluate non-traditional projects, and economic and reliability projects are being proposed by a number of parties through integrated resource planning and other planning processes. New ways of thinking about electricity resources are affecting traditional transmission planning and siting, cost allocation, and the roles of State officials, utilities, and consumer advocates in these decisions. Siting discussions now include independent transmission owners and multiple local, State, and federal organizations, in addition to traditional utilities.

Attendees will:

  • Hear the perspectives of State agencies as they navigate the changing transmission siting landscape
  • Learn processes for identifying infrastructure corridors on private and public lands
  • Tune into the State-level process challenges

 

 

Networking Break (10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)

 

Closing General Session

 

10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Location: Holiday Ballroom
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Happy 2nd Anniversary!

November 15 has been designated as Utility Scam Awareness Day by the US House of Representatives. Today, or on any given day, utility customers are receiving calls from people falsely asserting they represent a utility company. Callers are threatening to disconnect electric, water, or gas service, if immediate payment isn’t made. These villains target vulnerable populations, including senior citizens and non-native English speakers. They use sophisticated tactics, including caller identification spoofing technology and recordings of the utility company’s telephone menu messages. Utilities United against Scams (UUAS) is comprised of more than 100 (and growing) electric, water, and gas utilities, along with their respective trade associations in North America. The aim of UUAS is to educate customers about scam tactics in the hopes of ultimately putting an end to these types of crimes.

Attendees will:

  • Learn how these scams have a negative financial, fear-inducing effect of fraud on utility customers.
  • Learn the vital role that regulators play in working with utilities to protect consumers from scams.
  • Learn the types of phone, in-person, and Internet scams utility customers are currently experiencing.
  • Learn tips to share with constituents/consumers to avoid falling for utility impostor scams.
  • Explore solutions adapted for websites, social media, and in-person outreach events/town halls.
  • Hear about steps utilities and their partners have taken to educate consumers on these scams.

Moderator: Hon. Jack Betkoski, NARUC President, Connecticut

Participants:

Elin Swanson Katz, Consumer Counsel, State of Connecticut

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