PUC Portal Website Helps Users Better Understand and Navigate the Complex,High Stakes Realm of State Energy Regulation
WASHINGTON, DC – Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national businessorganization representing the advanced energy industry, today unveiled a “Public UtilityCommission Portal,” an online database that provides insight into the official bodiesresponsible for energy regulation in the 50 states. The site also includes key energydata for each state and a comparison tool that allows users to analyze states side byside.
Decisions made by PUCs will influence the $100 billion in utility infrastructureinvestments expected each year between now and 2020, ranging from smart meters totransmission lines to new power plants. As a result, commission rulings affect theelectric and natural gas bills paid by every business and household in the country. Butthese state regulatory bodies and their members are little known by the public, and theiractions little understood. Each state has its own commission (typically made up of threeto seven commissioners), with most appointed by governors to terms of varying length,but some are elected. All told, there are nearly 200 PUC commissioners nationwide, butthe lineup is constantly changing. Turnover among utility commissioners is about 25percent a year; there have been 20 new commissioners seated so far this year.
To help stakeholders and the public better understand and navigate this complex andever-changing regulatory arena, the Advanced Energy Economy Institute, AEE’scharitable and educational affiliate, has developed the PUC Portal website to give usersinformation about the key players in energy policy in each state and the energyinfrastructure they oversee. For each state, the PUC Portal provides the names andbiographies of each commissioner, along with political affiliation, method of selection,term of office, and requirements for qualification. The site also provides information onother key players in state energy policy, such as executive branch officials and keylegislative committees, and data on electricity prices and in-state power generation. Upto four states can be selected for comparison side by side.
“For making our energy system more secure, clean, and affordable, state Public UtilityCommissions are the most important institutions most people don’t know anythingabout,” said Graham Richard, CEO of AEE and the AEE Institute. “The new PUC Portalwill help our members, policymakers, media and the public better understand howelectric and natural gas utilities are regulated at the state level, and get key informationon the energy circumstances in each state. This information is vital to everyone whocares about making the transition to a smarter energy future.”
“The PUC Portal provides a dynamic and effective resource for those seeking furtherunderstanding of state utility regulation,” said Paul Hudson, former chairman of thePublic Utility Commission of Texas and an advisor to AEE. “Public utility commissionsand those who serve on them are critical decision makers in changing our energyresource mix to be more secure, clean, and affordable. State regulators deserve to bebetter known, their actions better understood, and their decisions made with greatertransparency. The PUC Portal makes that possible.”
“Public Utility Commissioners play a critical role in promoting and influencing energyefficiency, clean power, and infrastructure investments at the state level,” said MichaelSachse, SVP of Regulatory Affairs and Legal Counsel at Opower. “For companies likeOpower that work with utilities in many states across the US, the PUC Portal will be ahelpful tool for understanding how energy policies and regulations are set at the statelevel, and how commissions impact utility investments.”
The PUC Portal is part of the AEE Institute’s Public Utility Commission program, run byprogram director Hannah Polikov. The program held its first Public UtilityCommissioners Forum, in association with the New England Conference of PublicUtilities Commissioners (NECPUC) and the New England Clean Energy Council, inMay.
The PUC Portal can be found at http://pucportal.aee.net/
The PUC Portal is the second new web product released by AEE in recent weeks tohelp users understand the realm of state energy policy. In May, AEE teamed withColorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) to unveil theAdvanced Energy Legislation (AEL) Tracker – an online database of energy-relatedstate legislation pending in all 50 states, from solar to natural gas and everything inbetween. The Tracker shows that state legislatures are considering more than 2,100bills that could change the way Americans produce, purchase and use energy. The AELTracker identifies those measures and monitors the progress of advanced energy billsas they move forward. AEL Tracker can be found at www.aeltracker.org.
About Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and the AEE Institute
Advanced Energy Economy is a national association of businesses and businessleaders who are making the global energy system more secure, clean, and affordable.The vision of AEE is a prosperous world that runs on secure, clean, affordable energy.Its mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energycompanies. The AEE Institute’s mission is to raise awareness of the public benefits ofadvanced energy, drive the policy debate on key topics, and provide a forum whereleaders can address energy challenges and opportunities facing the United States. http://aee.net
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