2010 Mid-Year Meeting

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2010 NASUCA Mid-Year Meeting
Marriott San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf
San Francisco, California
June 13 – 16

Final Agenda

Meeting Presentations

Monday June 14th

“Still Cramming after All These Years: What Must Be Done To Stop It?”
“Telemarketing scams. Doctored verification recordings. $7 directory assistance charges. Bogus Internet signups. “Sloppy” billing practices. Inadequate dispute resolution. And that’s on a good day! Why is this still a problem? What is the role of the LEC? the billing aggregator? enforcement authorities? Panelists will explore the nature, scope and sources of the cramming problem and suggest strategies to deal with it.”

Moderator:
Craig Graziano, Attorney, Office of Consumer Advocate, Iowa Department of Justice, Des Moines, IA

Panelists:
Joel Gurin, Bureau Chief, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC
Laura Kim, Assistant Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC
Chris Witteman, Legal Division/Telecommunications, California Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco, CA

“Smart Meters – The Promise and the Problems”
Today’s Smart Meters offer many potential benefits, including giving customers a much better handle on their energy consumption through Home Area Network devices. They also provide a platform for various Smart Grid opportunities. However, deployment of such meters in Northern California has raised concerns about the accuracy of bills, security and privacy. Questions have also been raised about whether they provide as good a “bang for the buck” as Energy Efficiency programs. The four panelists will discuss these issues from different viewpoints and how these concerns are being addressed.

Moderator:
Christopher Danforth, Program and Projects Supervisor, California Public Utilities Commission, Division of Ratepayer Advocates, San Francisco, CA

Panelists:
Jana Corey, Director of Integrated Demand-side Management, (IDSM) Policy Planning, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Francisco, CA
Cameron Brooks, Senior Director, Market Development and Policy Strategy, Tendril, Inc., Boulder, CO
Mark W. Toney, Ph.D, Executive Director, The Utility Reform Network, San Francisco, CA
Jennifer M. Urban, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, University of California Berkeley School of Law, Berkeley, CA

“Full Credit Reporting on Residential Gas and Electric Accounts: Train Wreck for Essential Safety Net Public Policies”
Like wolves in sheep’s clothing, industry proponents of full credit reporting claim it will build credit histories and improve consumer access to credit. In actuality, far from delivering a benefit to consumers, full credit reporting poses a new and profound threat to the well-being of both low-income consumers and a wide swath of consumers who are not low income but who for reasons including illness and layoff are not always able to make gas and electric payments on time. The panel will explain and discuss the nature and breadth of the threat and what can be done to prevent the imminent threatened harm.

Moderator:
Joseph W. Rogers, Assistant Attorney General, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Boston, MA

Panelists:
David Rinebolt, Executive Director and Counsel, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, Findlay, OH
John G. Howat, Consultant, National Consumer Law Center, Boston, MA -Note: His presentation was given by Mr. Rinebolt

” The Next Generation of Energy Efficiency: Transforming Markets through Long-term Strategic Planning”
This panel on Energy Efficiency will provide lessons learned from California and the Northwest on forward-looking strategies that seek to increase energy savings by integrating efficiency into the marketplace as business as usual. Both California and the Northwest are using strategic planning and market transformation strategies to achieve this goal. The theory of market transformation is to identify market barriers to normal market adoption of energy efficient products and services and implement programs directly targeted at removing those barriers to ultimately lower the cost of energy efficiency for all consumers. Jeanne Clinton will discuss the motivations, background, and goals of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for sponsoring the Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan that is being used to guide implementation of energy efficiency programs using Zero Net Energy and Market Transformation strategies. Jeff Harris will discuss lessons from the Northwest related to its demonstrated success of Market Transformation as a significant component of a comprehensive energy efficiency program portfolio since the early 1990’s.

Following these two presentations, there will be an open forum for all states to discuss with panelists issues and opportunities to coordinate across borders on strategic planning and market transformation.

Moderator:
Cheryl Cox, Senior Policy Analyst / Project Manager, Energy Efficiency, Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), California Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco, CA

Panelists:
Jeanne Clinton, Manager of the Climate Strategies Branch, California Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco, CA
Jeff Harris, Director of Emerging Technologies for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), Portland, OR

“Shale Gas Development’s Impact on Energy Market Dynamics and Contracting Strategies”
Melissa Whitten of La Capra Associates, Inc. will highlight the key issues, data and companies to monitor in order to understand the impact of shale gas on the build out and integration of the US natural gas pipeline grid, regional energy costs, and energy policy in general.

Moderator:
Joseph W. Rogers, Assistant Attorney General, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Boston, MA

Speaker:
Melissa Whitten, Consultant, LaCapra Associates, Boston, MA

Tuesday, June 15

“Gas Distribution Company Rate Design: What Is In the Customer’s Best Interest?”
This panel will explore the various forms of gas distribution company rate design from straight fixed-variable to inclining block rates. The panelists will discuss how well these rate designs achieve the long-standing rate structure goals of: Efficiency, Simplicity, Continuity, Fairness and Earnings Stability, in an attempt to determine what is best for customers.

Moderator:
Joseph W. Rogers, Assistant Attorney General, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Boston, MA

Panelists:
Joseph A. Ferro, Manager, Regulatory Policy, Bay State Gas Company, division of NiSource, Westborough, MA
Lee Smith, Managing Consultant, LaCapra Associates, Boston, MA
William Marcus, Consultant, JBS Energy, Inc., West Sacramento, CA

” Transmission Planning – Integrating Non-transmission Alternatives: State Siting and RTO Planning Considerations”
Discussion about the nuts and bolts of transmission planning as performed by RTOs and Utilities, in the context of a state approval docket. There will also be a discussion of how non-transmission alternatives fit into these cases.

Moderator:
Eric Bryant, Senior Counsel, Maine Public Advocate, Augusta, ME

Panelists:
Drew Murphy, Executive Vice President and Regional President, Northeast, NRG Energy, Inc, Princeton, NJ
Dr. Richard Silkman, Founding Partner, GridSolar, LLC, Portland, ME
Andrew L. Ott, Senior Vice President, Markets, PJM Interconnection, Norristown, PA

“Ratepayer Perspective on Water Revenue Decoupling in California : progress to date and future directions”
Discussion of the water revenue decoupling mechanism pilot programs that the CPUC has adopted through settlements between the Division of Ratepayer Advocates and Class A water utilities. The panel will share preliminary observations of the effects of revenue decoupling mechanisms, the required ratemaking changes that accompany water revenue decoupling, and will also explore ideas for future direction of revenue decoupling in the water industry in California. The panel will also discuss why the water utilities’ Return on Equity should be adjusted downward to reflect the reduction in business risk due to the implementation of sales decoupling mechanisms.

Moderator:
Danilo E. Sanchez, Program Manager, California Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco, CA

Panelist:
Terry L. Murray, Independent consultant, Sebastopol, CA
Lisa Bilir, Senior Policy Analyst, Division of Ratepayer Advocates, California Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco, CA

“PSTN to IP- Evolution or Revolution?”
The ILECs try to characterize the IP transition as an entirely new network; but industry insiders contend that digital protocols and broadband capacity are the result of decades of technological and system upgrades. In fact, the layered model of the Internet suggests that broadband was never not telecommunications; the distinctions between the physical layer and other layers (data, IP, transport and application) argue for functional separation as a means of regulating bottleneck monopolies and of enforcing net neutrality.

Moderator:
Denise Mann, Program Manager, Division of Ratepayer Advocates-Communications Policy, San Francisco, CA

Panelists:
Lee L. Selwyn, President, Economics and Technology, Inc., Boston , MA
Chris Witteman, Legal Division/Telecommunications, California Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco, CA

“Throw me a Lifeline: Bringing low-income telephone assistance programs into the 21st century”
As traditional wireline carriers seek to slough off their POTS service and as consumers (low-income and otherwise), due to lifestyle changes and simple economics, move away from such service, the need to assist low-income consumers in maintaining communications remains. The recent growth in wireless Lifeline USF funding shows one direction

Moderator:
Christine Mailloux , Telecommunications Attorney, The Utility Reform Network, San Francisco, CA

Panelists:
Steve Albertson, New Initiatives Director, Community Voice Mail National Office, Seattle, WA
Mitchell F. Brecher, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Washington, DC
Julie Buechler, Manager Government Programs, Cricket Communications, San Diego, CA

“Is it getting hot in here? The ratepayer’s interest in greenhouse gas regulation strategies”
As the reality of climate change is becoming clear, several states have adopted or are in the process of developing GHG reduction programs. What approaches are available, and what will be the impact of those strategies on energy consumers? This panel will discuss the development of a GHG cap-and-trade program in California, the impact of various GHG regulation strategies on utility ratepayers, and considering the alternative of a Carbon Tax.

Moderator:
Meri Levy, Regulatory Analyst, Division of Ratepayer Advocates, San Francisco, CA

Panelists:
Scott Murtishaw, Senior Regulatory Analyst, Energy Division, California Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco, CA
Bruce Biewald, CEO, Synapse Energy Economics, Cambridge, MA
Laurie Williams & Allan Zabel, Carbon Tax Advocates, Oakland, CA -Presentation coming

Resolutions Passed at NASUCA’s Mid-Year Meeting
Transmission Planning and Development -2010-01

Calling for Reform of the Lifeline Program, including Reform for Prepaid Wireless Lifeline Services-2010-02

Opposing “Full Credit Reporting” of Payment Histories on Residential Gas and Electric Accounts-2010-03