One of the most influential organizations in utility regulation is seeking a new executive after its director of more than 30 years resigned in the midst of strategic planning that could change the group's future.
Paul Rodgers, executive director and general counsel for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), made his July 25 resignation effective August 9. He was given two year's pay as severance.
Charles D. Gray, assistant general counsel, has taken over as acting general counsel. Michael Foley, director of financial analysis, has stepped in as acting executive director.
A NARUC search committee or a contracted headhunter will seek a replacement, one with a strong presence in Washington, DC, and connections on Capitol Hill. "I'm sure there are lots of rumors," says Cheryl L. Parrino, NARUC president and chair of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. "My expectation is there'll be a lot of ex-commissioners who might be interested in the job."
She adds: "Paul has done a super job managing the organization, leaving us financially in very strong shape going forward."
Rodgers's announcement came on the last day of NARUC's summer committee meetings in Los Angeles, where strategic planning sessions initiated changes that will alter the duties of NARUC's entire administration.
"I would hate to say there was a disagreement," Parrino says of Rodgers's leave-taking. "The job was changing. We had laid out what the new job would look like. I would hate to speculate on why Paul came to the decision that he wanted to seek early retirement."
NARUC took no action on its restructuring in Los Angeles, but will likely revisit the topic while at its 108th annual convention in San Francisco on November 16 to 21.
The summer meetings saw NARUC adopt principles to guide electric industry restructuring; a resolution supporting changes in the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA); and another resolution in support of legislation establishing a nuclear waste disposal program.
The principles call for "adequate, safe, reliable, and efficient energy services at fair and reasonable prices." They also dictate universal service, customer choice, and environmental safeguards. States are urged to address stranded costs "in a fair and reasonable manner."
Although these guiding principles aren't controversial, the legislative principles that follow might well be. Those principles will determine whether NARUC can support legislation to restructure the industry.
NARUC's PUHCA resolution supports reducing some of the restrictions and prohibitions of the Act, favoring changes that would provide access to holding- and exempt-company records; state consent for sale of jurisdictional utility assets; protection against abusive affiliate transactions; and independent audit authority.
"Any legislation must recognize that regulation should be reduced only as competition becomes effective at preventing monopoly abuses," the resolution states.
The nuclear waste resolution appears to express NARUC's support for Senate bill 1936, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act amendment, without clearly endorsing it. NARUC calls for swift action on both S. 1936 and a House companion bill. (em JS
Articles found on this page are available to Internet subscribers only. For more information about obtaining a username and password, please call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-368-5001.