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Mid-Atlantic Public Utility Commissioners Explore Transformative Technologies, Consider Challenges and Opportunities for Regulators

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Washington, DC, June 9, 2014 – Public utility commissioners from across the Mid-Atlantic states gathered today in Baltimore, MD, to explore ways that new technologies are fundamentally reshaping the electricity system and posing challenges to the way it is regulated.

 

The AEE Institute Mid-Atlantic Advanced Energy PUC Forum was co-hosted by Vice Chairman Jim Gardner of the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC), Chairman Robert Powelson of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman of the Maryland PSC and Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman of the New York PSC. The forum was the third in a series of regional forums held in cooperation with utility commissioners by the AEE Institute over the past year.

 

“I’m delighted to have played a role in today’s forum to understand what other states are doing to adapt to the changes that are taking place in the electric power system,” said Jim Gardner of the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC).  

 

“It’s important for all of us to have regular conversations with our fellow commissioners to find out how they’re approaching the challenges and opportunities inherent in overseeing a changing electricity system,” said Robert Powelson of the Pennsylvania PUC.  

 

“Distributed energy resources and the imperative to make our electric power system more reliable, more resilient, and easier to restore when an outage occurs are just two of the challenges all state utility commissions are grappling with,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman of the Maryland PSC. “We need to discuss these challenges not only within the confines of our state commissions, but with our counterparts in other states in the region.”

 

The forum included a fireside chat highlighting the cutting edge regulatory reform efforts under way in states around the country, featuring NY Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman, Chairwoman Ann Berwick of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities and Chairwoman Hermina Morita of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. More information about each of those states’ trailblazing approaches to utility regulation can be found here: NY, MA and HI.

 

“The Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding we have launched in New York is just one of the efforts to redefine utility business and regulatory models for a new era,” said Audrey Zibelman of the New York PSC. “I was glad to have the opportunity to compare notes with leaders of two other commissions engaged in similar efforts.”

 

A series of small group discussions also took place focusing on key issues in the Mid-Atlantic states involving integration of distributed energy resources as well as the “3Rs” of utility regulation – reliability, resiliency and restoration. Chairman Betty Ann Kane of Washington, DC, and Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman of Maryland kicked off the DER conversations, and New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Dianne Solomon, Chairman Robert Powelson of PA and Vice Chairman Jim Gardner of KY led the 3Rs discussion.

 

A number of thought leaders from industry and government were present to help enrich the discussions with regulatory and technical solutions from around the country.

 

“The AEE Institute is proud to work with these commissioners to facilitate important conversations,” said Hannah Polikov, director of the PUC Engagement Program at Advanced Energy Economy and the AEE Institute. “We look forward to hosting more forums around the country to engage state regulators in discussion of ways to effectively regulate our changing electric power system.”

 

The first AEE Institute Advanced Energy PUC forum was held in New England last May and the second was held in the Midwest in December, with 17 commissioners attending. AEE Institute will hold additional regional forums in other parts of the country in the coming months.

 

The AEE Institute’s Advanced Energy PUC Forums are part of a broader effort to engage industry and regulators in shaping a process of utility transformation. Advanced Energy Economy has held a series of 21st Century Electricity System CEO Forums, in which executives of utility companies, advanced energy companies, and regulators in various states discussed new business and regulatory models to encourage the adoption of advanced energy technologies in the power sector. Together, the AEE and Institute programs are helping to define pathways toward supporting distributed generation, grid resiliency, demand management, and new consumer choices in a complex network of electricity providers and users.  

 

About the AEE Institute

The Advanced Energy Economy Institute is a nonprofit educational and charitable organization committed to raising awareness about the public benefits of advanced energy. The AEE Institute is affiliated with Advanced Energy Economy (www.aee.net), a national association of businesses that are making the global energy system more secure, clean, and affordable. The AEE Institute helps to spread the word about advanced energy and its value in moving the country and the world toward a better energy future.