CEOs of NRECA and NiSource in July's PUF

NRECA's Jim Matheson:

You hear about the notion of a member driven business model and the democratic process. I went to an annual meeting at Berkeley Electric Cooperative in South Carolina. It's one of the largest in the country. The members come to the meeting and they rent the county fair site, where we meet. 

We went in for the actual business meeting with several thousand people in the room. The co-ops conducted their meeting. Then it was time for question and answer, and any individual could stand up and ask whatever question they want. It's the way it ought to be. That connection with the consumer is something that the co-ops have, that no one else has.

I saw several thousand people on a Saturday morning, spending their time together, and talking about their electric co-op. They were voting on resolutions. I just don't think you find that in the energy world outside of co-ops. That was a pretty special thing for me to see. (Read the interview here.)

 

NiSource's Joe Hamrock:

The way I think about it is, all politics are local. But, I think our job is to bring stakeholders together. To bring as much of the balanced solution to the regulator as we can. 

I think that's the best way to work collaboratively versus take something on the edge of the spectrum, leave some of the stakeholders out by design and let the regulator do the heavy lifting. 

Regulators clearly have a role in that, but if we're doing our job well, we'll bring all the stakeholder perspectives together. As we shape strategy, it's reflective of the needs of our community. 

That's the model we subscribe to. That's the model that we really implemented here. I'd say, for the most part, we're very successful at that. 

There are going to be times where obviously, you can't please everybody. There are some more complicated, challenging decisions our regulators face in many of our states, but we try to minimize that, to the extent we can.  (Read the interview here.)

 

The magazine for commentary, opinion and debate on utility regulation and policy since 1928, Public Utilities Fortnightly. "In PUF, Impact the Debate."

Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly

E-mail me: mitnick@fortnightly.com