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Resolutions Passed and New Task Force Announced
WASHINGTON (July 21, 2023) — More than one thousand members of the public utility community, comprised of state and federal regulators, industry, consumer advocates and others joined the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners for its Summer Policy Summit in Austin, Texas, July 16-19.
The event kicked off with NARUC President Michael A. Caron, a Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Commissioner, leading a discussion marking the 20-year anniversary of the 2003 Northeast Blackout, to better discern the nation’s readiness for and likelihood of a similar event in the future. A new video on the subject, produced by ReliabilityFirst, the Northeast Power Coordinating Council and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, made its debut during the session. According to panelists, today’s needs include accurately assessing black start capabilities, understanding cyber risks and creating and enforcing standards that keep pace with risks.
Other main stage topics included the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent regulations targeting per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances; workforce diversity and the role of utility regulators; and the effect of thermal generation retirements on reliability as many states advance aggressive clean energy goals. A look at how clean energy goals — particularly, the associated costs — may affect consumers concluded the meeting on Wednesday.
“Much of what we heard from our panels this week stressed the importance of greater communication among stakeholders, ways to engage regulators and the need to understand and prepare for the challenges ahead of us,” said Caron. “We appreciate the input from so many different corners of the utility space, and the NARUC meetings allow us to facilitate balanced discussions from varying perspectives.”
Task Force on Electric Transmission and New Task Force Announced
The seventh meeting of the Federal-State Joint Task Force on Electric Transmission, comprised of utility commissioners representing state interests and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, was held on Sunday. Members focused on Grid Enhancing Technologies, which featured guest speaker Electric Power Research Institute Vice President of Transmission & Distribution Infrastructure Sector Dr. Andrew Phillips. The webcast recording of the meeting is available at bit.ly/3OkHjqe.
During his opening remarks on Monday, Caron announced the formation of a new Presidential Task Force on Evolving Gas Infrastructure Planning to facilitate the development of state planning roadmaps. The new Task Force will highlight questions and provide information to assist state commissions in enhancing infrastructure planning processes and navigating the challenging landscape of utility decarbonization over the coming decades.
The NARUC Board of Directors approved a set of both substantive (policy driven) and honorary (noting individuals’ achievements) resolutions. The following four substantive resolutions were passed for telecommunications and water policies:
Stormwater Facilities Development, Expansion and Maintenance
The next NARUC meeting will be the Annual Meeting and Education Conference, in La Quinta, California, November 12-15. Abstracts to support suggested sessions for the meeting may be submitted to bit.ly/3rBwZBe through August 18, 2023.
NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC’s member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of state public utility commissions before the three branches of the federal government.