State and Future of Power: NARUC


NARUC Electricity Committee Chair

Fortnightly Magazine - June 15 2018

PUF: How do you view your role as Chair of the NARUC Committee on Electricity?

Commissioner Jagdmann: In a word, education. We live in a time of incredibly rapid technological change. Regulation needs to keep pace with those changes. Renewables, energy storage, demand-side options, and highly-efficient gas plants are examples of positive changes that must be accommodated through innovative regulation.

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And, there is the negative impact of cyber-attacks that require diligent efforts to protect the integrity of our public utility infrastructure. My goal is to ensure that the Electricity Committee members - primarily state regulators - stay current on these evolving matters and that the Committee remains an honest and open forum to discuss and share workable ideas to address them.

PUF: What are your perspectives on the current state of the electric power industry and its regulation? 

Commissioner Jagdmann: Rapid technological change means that state regulation must be constantly reviewed for its relevance and, if necessary, changed to ensure sound and reasonable outcomes that serve the overall public interest. Of course, regulation flows from statutes passed by elected state legislators. So, state commissioners must work within that statutory framework.

On the federal level, FERC has been promoting regional wholesale power markets for the last twenty years. We are reaching a critical moment in time that requires considerable attention over the coming months.

Many states are rethinking their policies in ways that could either complement or complicate markets. Most importantly, state regulators are the ones who approve the retail rates that utility customers pay through their monthly bills. So, we must always be sensitive that our decisions are more than theoretical market constructs. Those decisions have real consequences for real people.

PUF: Are you optimistic or concerned (or both) about the near-term future of the electric power industry and its regulation?

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Commissioner Jagdmann: I am an eternal optimist. One of America's defining characteristics is its ability to meet difficult challenges with innovative technological solutions and creative ideas. The electricity industry embraces that spirit and I am confident that it will continue to successfully meet any and all near-term and long-term challenges.


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Also see NARUC Electricity Committee Chair Judith Jagdmann