New Podcast: Consumer Advocates and the Energy Sector

Our new podcast on the role of state consumer advocates in addressing electricity policy is now available. Tanya McCloskey, Pennsylvania’s Acting Consumer Advocate, shares her expertise on the critical role consumer advocates play in the energy industry. As the electricity market evolves, legislators, consumers, regulators, and utilities are faced with increasing decision-making across the grid. New technologies, lower prices, and stable electricity use, as well as increasing interest in consumer-generated electricity, require effective participation by consumer advocates in regulatory and legislative hearings. Ms. McCloskey explains how consumer advocates work to ensure that rates paid by all consumers are just and reasonable.

Click here to listen.

NCEP Podcasts Now Available

The National Council on Electricity Policy is pleased to sponsor a series of short podcasts on how electricity is being generated, moved along the grid, and delivered to consumers throughout the country. As a voice for multiple perspectives, the Council supports state policymakers as they address the changing electricity marketplace.


The Evolving Electricity Marketplace – What State Legislators Want to Know

Representative Tom Sloan from Kansas’ 45th District shares his insights on the changing electricity marketplace and the role of state legislators in supporting new policies, technological changes, and greater customer engagement in the way their electricity is generated, transmitted, and delivered. Find the first NCEP podcast here.


How Utilities Operate: A Regulator’s Perspective

Commissioner Paul Kjellandar, Chairman of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, shares his knowledge – both as a regulator and former state legislator – of the premise behind utility regulation. The regulatory compact is based on a number of fundamental assumptions. In return for an obligation to serve customers and regulatory oversight, the utility has the opportunity to recover its prudently incurred expenses. Is this compact in danger of being upset? How does a state address a utility that spans multiple states? Find out here on the fourth NCEP podcast.


New Developments in Siting Energy Projects

Chairman Ed Finley of the North Carolina Utility Commission addresses transmission siting challenges in today’s new electricity market. He shares his knowledge and expertise on how greater use of renewables and distributed energy resources, siting proposals proposed by new transmission companies – other than incumbent utilities, and consumer concerns about siting transmission lines across their property are changing the traditional manner in which siting is done. Listen here on the third NCEP podcast.


Infrastructure and Cyber Security: State and Local Responsibilities

Commissioner Nick Wagner of the Iowa Utilities Board explores the ways that states, utilities, and private and public sector organizations are dealing with cyber and infrastructure security. He shares his knowledge of the critical issues that state and local governments must address to ensure that their citizens are protected against cyber attacks and threats against energy infrastructure, now and in the future. Find out more on the second NCEP podcast, here.



NCEP’s 2017 Annual Meeting a Success!

The National Council on Electricity Policy held its annual business meeting on May 12th via webcast. Over eighty NCEP members and friends participated on-line, representing energy and air regulators and staff, state legislators, state energy office officials, consumer advocates, trade associations, both private and public utilities, federal government agencies, businesses, national research laboratories, universities, and non-profits.

We discussed the Council’s direction for 2017-2018, provided updates on the Council’s recent activities, including federal-state jurisdictional issues, development of a valuation framework for assessing electricity resources, and updates to the Energy Zones Mapping Tool and activities of the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative.

Two panel discussions covered “Siting on Brownfields and Other Existing Infrastructure Sites for G&T Flexibility” and “Collaborative Strategies that Support Reliability, Resiliency, and Recovery for Cyber and Infrastructure Energy Assurance.” The first panel explored the ability to use siting of energy facilities on brownfields as a way to reduce public process conflicts and as a process for introducing resources that bring greater flexibility to the grid. The second panel explored the latest issues facing states in resilience and cybersecurity. Presentations from the two panels are available here.

This next year’s National Council strategic direction will address siting. We will focus on the many new, distributed and renewable resources that are being integrated onto the grid across the system, the increasing resiliency issues that result, potential impacts on the local environment, the manner in which resource diversity is being affected, how the system is evolving and what that means for future resource availability and diversity.

Siting is a “cross sector” and “cross-issue” topic, and as such, we will work on siting issues through continuing support for our five work areas. Learn more about these work areas here.

Visit this site often for news about the National Council’s upcoming reports and events!

Questions about NCEP? Please contact Jan Brinch at for more information.


Agenda for the May 12 NCEP annual meeting

The National Council on Electricity Policy will conduct its annual business meeting on May 12 in Washington DC – but if you don’t have a plane ticket, don’t worry!  The meeting is being conducted primarily online.  State participants are welcome to register online.   

Our agenda features elections and other organizational upkeep, updates from the NCEP programs that continue the activities of the Eastern Interconnection States Planning Council (EISPC) such as the Energy Zones Mapping Tool, and two educational sessions.  The first explores the ability to use siting of energy facilities on brownfields to reduce public process conflicts and as a way to introduce resources that bring greater flexibility to to the grid.  The second explores the latest issues facing states in resilience and cybersecurity.


Questions about our meeting?  Please contact Jan Brinch at for more information.

National Council at the FERC Technical Conference, May 1, 2017

Commissioner Sarah Hofmann of the Vermont Public Service Board represented the National Council at the FERC Technical Conference held in Washington DC on May 1 on how wholesale markets can accommodate state policy preferences.  In keeping with the collaborative approaches exemplified by the National Council, Cmr. Hofmann’s comments  focused on methods that leverage dialogue between states and federal decision-makers, rather than directly focusing on legislation or litigation as pathways to deal with jurisdictional simultaneity. 

The National Council at FERC Technical Conference, 1 May 2017

The National Council on Electricity Policy will be a participant in the upcoming FERC Technical Conference on May 1.  The technical Conference will address the interface between wholesale markets and state policy preferences.  NCEP Executive Committee member Commissioner Sarah Hofmann of the Vermont Public Service Board will provide insights into the state/federal jurisdictional issues that have been explored by the NCEP since April 2016 in two workshops:

  • Our April, 2016, Blurred Lines: State and Federal Jurisdiction in the Power Sector. NCEP members and speakers addressed “simultaneity,” or ambiguous, overlapping, and sometimes uncoordinated actions related to state and federal jurisdictional boundaries in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity; and
  • In January 2017 we convened an an Experts Roundtable on valuing baseload electricity resources, to explore the impacts of our nation’s changing generation fleet on how we price electricity, and the options for state officials to create just and reasonable rates given these changes.

These dialogues have led to the conclusion that where ovelaps and conflict between state and federal action exists, the path to resolution that leads through the courts should not be a first resort.  Examples like Hughes v Talen Energy Marketing and the Oneok and EPSA cases highlight how narrow a court-derived decision can be, leaving unresolved ambiguity in areas not considered by the courts.  Our conversations have suggested better outcomes come from approaches that resolve conflict, including joint explorations, collaboratives similar to the FERC/NARUC Collaborative on Demand Response and Competitive Procurement, and even the FERC May 1 technical conference.  These types of processes may yield less ambiguity, better common effort, and the development of tools that bridge and improve policymaking in the public interest.

Podcasts Coming Soon!

We’ve been hard at work recording podcasts – our first explores generation, transmission and distribution with the Honorable Tom Sloan from the Kansas House of Representatives; the second explains why we regulate utilities with Commissioner Paul Kjellander from Idaho. They’re fun to listen to – expect them to be posted within a couple weeks.