NASUCA is an association of 61 consumer advocates in 45 states and the District of Columbia Barbados, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. NASUCA’s members are designated by the laws of their respective jurisdictions to represent the interests of utility consumers before state and federal regulators and in the courts.
The History of NASUCA
In May 1979, 16 state consumer advocate office representatives met in Columbus, Ohio to establish the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA). The founders established NASUCA for agencies designated by state law to act as independent ratepayer advocates. The purpose was to provide a forum to exchange ideas, improve consumer representation at the state and federal levels, and encourage greater consumer participation in the regulatory process.
The history of state utility consumer advocacy began in the 1970’s, when state agencies were created by state legislatures after natural gas and electric prices were driven up by the energy crises of the 1970’s. Since the 1970’s and early 1980’s, the role of the state advocates was to challenge proposed rate increases by the electric, natural gas, telephone and water monopolies. This role was carried out largely by intervening in formal, economic regulatory cases before public utility commissions. In the 1990’s and into the 21 st century, the state advocates have been at the forefront of protecting consumers during the ongoing transition from monopolies to less regulated markets in which utilities and other firms increasingly compete with one another. Today, as the trend for competition and industry deregulation continues, state consumer advocates shift their focus to consumer protection issues, such as service quality, reliability, and price stability.
The organization membership has grown to 61 member offices in 45 states and the District of Columbia, Barbados, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica.
The diverse representation of NASUCA is best exemplified by the list of its 24 national presidents:
24. Christopher Ayers, North Carolina Utilities Commission Public Staff, 2021-present
23. Jackie Roberts, West Virginia Consumer Advocate, 2019-2020
22. Mark Schuling, Iowa Office of Consumer Advocate, 2019
21. Elin Swansan Katz, Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, 2017- 2019
20. Robert Nelson, Montana Consumer Counsel, 2014-2017
19. Lewis R. Mills, Jr., Missouri Public Counsel, 2013-2014
18. Paula Carmody, Maryland Office of the People’s Counsel, 2011 – 2013
17. Mary Healey, Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, 2009-2011
16. David Springe, Kansas Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board, 2007-2009
15. John Perkins, Iowa Office of Consumer Advocate, 2004-2007
14. Timothy Hay, Nevada Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection 2003-2004
13. Rob Tongren, Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, 2002 -2003
12. Stephen Ward, Maine Office of the Public Advocate, 2000-2002
11. Fred Schmidt, Nevada Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection, 1998-2000
10. Irwin “Sonny” Popowsky, Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, 1996-1998
9. Edward Petrini, Virginia Attorney General Insurance and Utilities Regulatory Section 1994-1996
8. Martha Hogerty, Missouri Office of Public Counsel, 1992-1994
7. Ronald Binz, Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel, 1991-1992
6. Donna Sorgi, Massachusetts Department of Attorney General Utilities Division, 1989-1991
5. David Barasch, Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, 1987-1989
4. Felshaw King, Utah Department of Commerce Committee of Consumer Services, 1985-1987
3. Steven Hamm, South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, 1983-1985
2. Jack Shreve, Florida Office of Public Counsel, 1981-1983
1. William Spratley, Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, 1979-1981.
*This information is based on a section of the “Encyclopedia of the Consumer Movement,” written by William Spratley, 1997.