Daily Agenda

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Saturday, February 13

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Staff Subcommittee on Telecommunications
Ballroom North
8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Closed Session – States’ Issues Updates


9:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
Current Issue: Reports from NARUC
  • Litigation Report – Brad Ramsay
  • Legislative Report – Brian O’Hara


Joint Board & NRRI Reports
  • Separations – George Young, Vermont
  • Universal Service – Labros Pilalis, Pennsylvania
  • 706 Joint Conference – Bill Johnston, California
  • NANC – Cary Hinton, District of Columbia
  • NRRI – Sherry Lichtenberg


Subgroup Reports
  • Consumer Issues – Kerri DeYoung Phillips, Massachusetts
  • Cyber Security – John McClain, Department of Homeland Security
  • Federal Regulation & Legislation – Joe Witmer, Pennsylvania
  • Numbering – Bonnie Johnson, Minnesota
  • State Regulation – Robin Ancona, Michigan
  • Technology & Service Quality – Vacant


10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Networking Break


10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Panel I: CAF II – Current Issues and the Impact to States
The Connect America Fund II (CAF II) is a federal initiative set out in the November 2011 USF/ICC Transformation Order at Docket 10-90. CAF II supports the deployment of a modern network capable of providing voice and broadband in high cost areas of the country within cost benchmarks, particularly rural and tribal areas. A Remote Area Fund (RAF) will support similar goals in areas where the costs exceed the CAF II benchmarks. Last year, the FCC offered incumbent carriers (ILECs) support under CAF II for census blocks where the ILEC was providing supported service. Some ILECs declined that support, a decision that triggers an auction of the federal support for supported census blocks and, possibly, some RAF census blocks. The States served by ILECs who declined CAF II support may see new providers as a result of the auction. The panelists will discuss recent developments in the CAF II implementation, with a particular emphasis on issues for consumers and the rules for the auction, especially who should be eligible to participate, why, and on what basis.

Moderator: Joe Witmer, Pennsylvania
Patrick Cicero, Esq., Pennsylvania Utility Law Project
Stephen E. Coran, Esq., Lerman Senter
Joe Gillan, Gillan Associates
C. Douglas Jarrett, Esq., Keller and Heckman
L. Charles Keller, Esq., Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer LLP
Grant B. Spellmeyer, Executive Director, Federal Affairs & Public Policy, United States Cellular Corporation
Incumbent Carrier, Invited


12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch (On Your Own)


1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Panel II: Technology Transitions: A Bridge to Bandwidth or a Cul-De-Sac of Unintended Consequences?
New technologies offer the potential of providing more, for less, but is there a cost we didn’t anticipate? What are the lessons learned from the AT&T trials? Have the trials produced sufficient data to inform the policy debate and demonstrate that the transition to IP preserves the fundamental principles of universal service? This panel will explore these topics and give attendees the opportunity to ask questions and engage the panel on other aspects of the technology trials and other transitions.

Moderator: Teresa Ferguson, Colorado
Robin Ancona, Michigan
Pam Hollick, Associated General Counsel, State Public Policy, Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, Level 3
Chris Lewis, Vice President, Government Affairs, Public Knowledge
Frank Simone, Vice President, Federal Regulatory - Wireline, AT&T
Marianne Townsend, Ohio


3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Networking Break


3:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Resolution Introduction, Discussion & Industry Input


12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Subcommittee on Education and Research (closed for portions of meeting)
MR 2
12:00 p.m.
Closed Executive Session
Working Lunch for Committee and Staff Subcommittee Members Only


1:00 p.m.
Welcome and Introductions
Hon. John (Butch) Howard, South Carolina


1:05 p.m.
Approval of Minutes


1:10 p.m.
NRRI Update
Dr. Rajnish Barua, Executive Director – NRRI


1:25 p.m.
ICER VWG 4: Regulatory Best Practices
Hon. John Betkoski, III, Connecticut


1:35 p.m.
Update on Subcommittee Projects
Erin Hammel, Director, International Programs, NARUC


1:50 p.m.
Review of Applications for Support
Erin Hammel, Director, International Programs, NARUC


2:05 p.m.
Scholarship Review and Selections
Selection of final Scholarship recipients
Sue Daly, Chair, Staff Subcommittee on Education and Research


2:25 p.m.
Certificate of Continuing Regulatory Education (CCRE) Update
Dr. Jan Beecher, Director, Institute of Public Utilities, MSU


2:40 p.m.
New Business


2:45 p.m.


2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
NRRI Colloquium

View Presentations 

MR 3
2:30 p.m. - 2:35 p.m.
Opening Remarks

Moderator: Rajnish Barua, PhD, Executive Director, National Regulatory Research Institute


2:35 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Telecommunications Carrier of Last Resort: Necessity or Anachronism
This presentation will explore questions regarding the need for and continuation of carrier of last resort (COLR) requirements as the network transitions to Internet Protocol (IP). Will COLR survive the IP transition? How has legislation effected COLR requirements in the States? Is it time to require a broadband COLR?

Panelist: Sherry Lichtenberg, PhD, Principal Researcher, National Regulatory Research Institute


3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Fragmentation in the Water Industry and Regulatory Impacts
More than 155,000 public water systems serve the United States and over 100,000 of those serve less than 500 people. These small water companies struggle with access to capital, technical proficiency and regulatory complexity, among other challenges. This presentation addresses the regulatory challenges of small water companies and examines the considerations that a regulator must keep in mind when addressing them.

Panelist: Dan Phelan, Research Associate, National Regulatory Research Institute


3:30 p.m. - 4:10 p.m.
Review of Utility Billing and Customer Care: Current Issues and Future Directions
This presentation is based on an NRRI Research Paper in which the authors surveyed all 50 States and the District of Columbia to gather information about utility billing rules and practices and related customer communications, including consumer complaint data compiled and reported by the States. In addition to the survey, information was gathered from a literature review, sample utility bills, utility publications, and a Billing Symposium held by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in November 2015. The NRRI Research Paper reviews: (1) the many different goals and objectives for utility billing and customer care systems held by utilities, Commissioners, consumer interests, and society at large; (2) State billing rules, noting similarities and differences and identifying 16 important topics included in many State rules; and, (3) complaint data from almost half of all States, by industry type and topic of complaint.

Panelist: Tom Stanton, Principal Researcher, National Regulatory Research Institute, and Kathryn Kline, Research Assistant, National Regulatory Research Institute


4:10 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Vertical Arrangements for Natural Gas Procurements by Utilities: Rationales and Regulatory Considerations
This presentation discusses utility long-term commitment through utility ownership of gas reserves (UOGR) and a joint venture with an affiliate exploration and production company. All of the utilities proposing UOGR calculate expected gas cost savings for their customers based on information available at the time ? for example, a comparison of gas production costs with market price forecasts ? in addition to long?term hedging/price stability benefits and a more secure gas supply. Vertical arrangements raise several concerns that regulators must grapple with to protect customer interest. UOGR raises unique questions, especially about the risk-reward effect on utility customers relative to utility or its umbrella-company shareholders.

Panelist: Ken Costello, Principal Researcher, National Regulatory Research Institute


4:50 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Questions, Comments, and Closing Remarks

Moderator: Rajnish Barua, PhD, Executive Director, National Regulatory Research Institute