You can look at the title in two ways: (a) "The sky is falling," or (b) "There's nothing new under the sun." But both views are wrong. Let me explain.
No one doubts that state public utility commissions (PUCs) must change. But we need not throw up our hands in despair or smile and pretend we've seen it all before. Yes, PUCs have seen major changes before. The 1930s expanded PUC authority from an advisory, sunshine role to serious oversight. The 1970s ended a long run of rate decreases and challenged PUCs to cope with financial distress at energy utilities. The 1980s broadened PUC regulation to include social concerns like environmental policy, conservation, safety nets, privacy, and health. And I believe that PUCs successfully accommodated all three trends with resilience, as I expect they will this latest round of change. But make no mistake: Current forces are so dynamic as to mark a difference in kind (em not just in degree.
Outward changes in regulated industries naturally occupy a good bit of attention at state PUCs. Introspection and self-reflection about internal changes at the PUCs themselves seem less common. Nevertheless, one can discern a few stirrings here and there.