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Behind the Limelight: An Interview with the Advisors for Five Key Regulators

Fortnightly Magazine - June 1 1998

state level, you're not concerned about all the other states and what they're doing.

You have a more informed intervenor group here than in the state arena¼ and the intervenors are much more prepared than they were at the state level.

How can parties make certain their case receives the attention it deserves, especially from staffers who exert the "first cut"? I think even though you can't talk about cases once they're filed, as the industry thinks or a particular group thinks that issue is important, there is generally a story in a publication that's hot about that particular issue. And I think the media, the trade media, does a really good job in bringing a lot of those issues to peoples' attention.

Once it's filed, I don't know of any way other than through speaking engagements to get feedback from the constituency, through the media and the press¼ Obviously, you can't come up here and visit with anybody about it.

What is the most important issue your boss faces at the moment? Competition cannot reach the level of the industry visionaries without better transmission. However, companies aren't voluntarily out there building transmission so everyone can come into their arena to compete; you need incentives for transmission. Codes of conduct and different rules and regulations don't solve the constraint in system.

[And] we have to have a very balanced mix of resources for energy and one of the things that has been declining over the years is the capacity for hydro facilities. And it doesn't get any greener than that.

How is seamless policy developed while faces on the commission change? It's our duty to be consistent and¼ predictable in the industry because the industry deserves some steady guidance. Because they are taking a lot of risk and they have got to have a regulator who is somewhat stable and consistent and predictable, and I think that is the goal of everyone. Sometimes it doesn't come out that way but we should do our best to strive for that.

What is the most common misperception of regulators? How do you change that? That maybe sometimes we don't act as promptly as we should, and that has been one of the things that Commissioner Hébert has focused on. Trying to make the decision promptly and let the parties move on. Because that's what they deserve.

Bob Lane: Advisor to Commissioner Jessie J. Knight Jr. (Calif.PUC)

HIS COMMISSIONER'S PHILOSOPHICAL SOUL MATE. Boss: California Commissioner Jessie J. Knight Jr. Background: Graduated with a B.A. in economics from New Mexico State University in 1986. Received a master's in economics in 1988 from the same school's Center for Public Utilities. Had two internships, one with United Telephone (now Sprint) and was hired by the California commission in 1988. Is one of Knight's two advisers. Age: 38.

Do you aspire to become a commissioner? I haven't really thought about that. I've enjoyed working for the commission and that's an awfully big step¼ It's gubernatorial appointed. It's a very senior position. Traditionally, we haven't had people here at the