U.S. Public Utility Commissioners Gather to Address Regulatory Oversight of an Evolving Power Grid
National forum builds on past gatherings to discuss regulatory and technology issues impacting the electric power system, including utility business model reform and electric vehicles
Washington, D.C., January 29, 2018 – Public utility commissioners, utility executives, and energy technology experts from across the nation gathered in Chicago to discuss ways to prepare for the evolving electricity system at a national forum facilitated by Advanced Energy Economy Institute last Friday. The AEE Institute’s National PUC Forum was a follow-up to similar regional meetings of public utility commissioners and representatives from advanced energy companies over the last several years, as well as past gatherings of CEOs and senior executives from utilities and advanced energy companies.
The gathering of current and recent former commissioners from 15 states (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington) delved into issues around utility business model reform and electric vehicles. Forum topics were selected in advance by the commissioners, who also led many of the interactive sessions. The topics reflect their interest in the latest technology advancements, the growth of distributed energy resources (like storage, demand response and solar), electric vehicles, and evolving customer expectations.
“The AEE Institute National PUC Forum provided excellent resources and guided a very interactive discussion that will assist our state as we address the issues of electric vehicle (EV) integration and modernizing our evolving power system,” said Sally Talberg, Chairman, Michigan Public Service Commission.
“The forum was a valuable opportunity to meet and connect with colleagues from other states and hear a range of perspectives on novel, cutting edge EV and utility business model issues,” said John Rhodes, Chair, New York Department of Public Service.
“As Illinois moves forward on its NextGrid Utility of the Future Study, it was valuable to learn about successes and challenges from my counterparts in other states that are addressing similar issues,” said Brien Sheahan, Chairman and CEO, Illinois Corporation Commission.
Discussions touched on a range of EV regulatory topics including the role of the utility commission; design of a planning process; rate design; financing; and the role of the utility. On the utility business model topic, participants explored possible visions of the future, and addressed challenges to achieving this vision, as well as pathways to getting there.
Participating advanced energy technologies experts represented CLEAResult, Dynamic Energy Networks, eMotorWerks, EVgo, GE, Greenlots, Schneider-Electric, Siemens, and UPS. Utility executives represented ComEd, Consumers Energy, Exelon, Xcel Energy, and Southern California Edison.
“AEE Institute is proud to facilitate forums that foster important conversations among utility commissioners about innovations in the way energy is generated, distributed, consumed, saved, and regulated,” said Lisa Frantzis, Senior Vice President, 21st Century Electricity System, at Advanced Energy Economy.
Hannah Polikov, Director of the Public Utility Commission Engagement Program, at Advanced Energy Economy added, “We look forward to continuing to engage with state regulators across the nation to cross-pollinate ideas and discuss ways to effectively regulate and modernize our electric power system.”
"I appreciated the opportunity to bring the consumer perspective on EV fleets to the forum,” said Jim Bruce, SVP & Chief Energy Policy Officer, UPS. “It was valuable to be part of the conversation on what issues utility commissions should consider to be ready for increased deployment."
Val Jensen, Senior Vice President of ComEd Customer Operations, commented, "At ComEd we are focused delivering a clean, lean and ultra-resilient energy future our customers want and deserve. It was helpful to hear different perspectives from PUC, utility and technology leaders from across the country on what the future might hold and possible pathways to get there."
AEE Institute’s Forums are part of a broader effort to engage industry and regulators in addressing key challenges and opportunities facing the utility sector, helping to define pathways toward new products and services, network infrastructure and operational models, and regulatory frameworks that will provide consumers with a more robust, resilient, dynamic, and consumer-oriented power system.
About Advanced Energy Economy Institute and AEE
The Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEE Institute) is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to raise awareness of the public benefits and opportunities of advanced energy. AEE Institute provides critical data to drive the policy discussion on key issues through commissioned research and reports, data aggregation and analytic tools. AEE Institute also provides a forum where leaders can address energy challenges and opportunities facing the United States. AEE Institute is affiliated with Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a 501(c)(6) business association, whose purpose is to advance and promote the common business interests of its members and the advanced energy industry as a whole. AEE and its State and Regional Partner organizations are active in 27 states across the country, representing more than 1,000 companies and organizations in the advanced energy industry.