I sincerely appreciate your covering NARUC and its outlook in the July 15, 1997, issue of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY (p. 26). I believe your summarization of my conversation with your Associate Editor and his depiction of NARUC sends a clear message about the unmatched resources and capabilities our organization enjoys by virtue of its membership.
Overall, the article generally captures the essence of our conversation. Nevertheless, it missed on my characterization of the NARUC staff's intended role with respect to the revitalized Washington Action Program. The article mentions that commissioners will be "coached" by NARUC staff on how to operate on Capitol Hill. On the contrary. As I mentioned during our conversation, most of NARUC's members are seasoned politicians themselves or have been appointed to commissions due to their political instincts. In fact, our members already possess a depth of knowledge on the issues. That knowledge, coupled with the strength of our member political institutions, marks the most valuable resource that the individual commissioners can offer to NARUC and to each other.
With that in mind, and by utilizing this unique resource, the role of the staff at NARUC is not specifically to lead efforts but to assist in facilitating the development of relationships with key players on and off Capitol Hill, by way of sharing critical information necessary to build such relationships. Many decision-makers play different roles at different times on any issue being debated in Congress. It is the responsibility of the NARUC staff not only to understand these dynamics, but also to offer such intelligence, when necessary, to any commissioner. My comments should have reflected these thoughts, and I hope this clarification is helpful.
Again, thank you kindly for giving me the opportunity to share my views with your readership about NARUC members' immense capability to shape the debate on critical issues, including electric restructuring, and to explain that what they would do is vitally important to the success (em and most often times is the genesis (em of changes in the regulation of utilities.
Margaret A. Welsh, Executive Director
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
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