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August 11, 2009
     
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State Regulatory Relations


North Carolina Appoints New Commissioner

Commissioner Brown-Bland

Commissioner Brown-Bland was appointed to the North Carolina Utilities Commission by Gov. Beverly Eaves Perdue for an unexpired term ending on June 30, 2009, and for a full term that began on July 1, 2009, and ends on June 30, 2017.

Born in Burlington, N.C., Brown-Bland attended Eastern Alamance High School in Mebane, graduating as valedictorian of her class. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in 1987, she graduated from Duke University School of Law.

Brown-Bland began her professional career as federal law clerk to the Honorable Alexander B. Denson, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and in 1989, entered private practice in Greensboro, N.C., with the law firm Hill Evans Jordan & Beatty (formerly Nichols, Caffrey, Hill, Evans & Murrelle). In 1995, she became in-house attorney for AT&T Corp. (subsequently Lucent Technologies), where she was promoted to senior attorney and primarily supported the company’s federal contracting and related commercial technology licensing and business lines in Greensboro.

She joined the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State in 2001, serving as director of the Business License Information Office and of the Charitable Solicitations Licensing Section. In December 2002, Brown-Bland became a member of the North Carolina Utilities Commission staff, where she was an attorney in the Administrative Division. From 2005 until her appointment to the Commission, she served as associate general counsel with the City of Greensboro.

Brown-Bland has a history of community and civic service, having served on several boards including the Greensboro Bar Association, the Alamance County Historical Museum and Western Piedmont Residential Services, a nonprofit that provided residential service to autistic adults. She is presently a member of the board of trustees of her church. She and her husband, André, make their home in Alamance County.


 

DPUC Commissioners Elect Chairman and Vice Chairman

The Commissioners of the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control recently elected a new chairman, Commissioner Kevin M. DelGobbo, to succeed Donald W. Downes, who served 12 terms as chairman of the DPUC and who retired from state service effective July 1, 2009. Commissioner John W. (“Jack”) Betkoski III was re-elected for a third term as vice chairman.

Chairman DelGobbo

Chairman DelGobbo was appointed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell as a commissioner of the Department of Public Utility Control in January 2009, filling the unexpired term of Jack Goldberg, until June 30, 2011. He specializes in electric industry issues and serves on the National Association Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Committees on Electricity and International Relations. DelGobbo is a former member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, where he played a key role in the development of significant state initiatives in the energy, telecommunications and water industries, and was a principal co-author of the State’s Energy Independence Act. He was a member of Gov. Rell’s working group to develop her "Energy Vision" policy for the state and was named "Legislator of the Year" by several organizations, including the Northeast Energy Efficiency Council and the CT Water Works Association.

Vice Chairman Betkoski

Vice Chairman Betkoski has specialized in water utility issues, serving as chairman of the Connecticut Water Planning Council and was a member of the EPA National Drinking Water Advisory Council. A former legislator and chairman of the House Commerce Committee, he has served on the American Water Works Security Working Group and its Research Foundation’s Public Council on Drinking Water Research. He is on the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners Board of Directors and was the former chairman of its Committee on Water. Betkoski presently serves as NARUC’s chairman of the Subcommittee on Educational Research. He is also lead commissioner for the Department’s Consumer Education Outreach Program and the Department’s annual review of the electric utilities’ Conservation and Load Management programs. His commissionership expires June 30, 2013.

 


NARUC Praises Senate Confirmations

National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) President Frederick Butler of New Jersey issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate confirmed both Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Meredith A. Baker to the Federal Communications Commission, and Jonathan Adelstein as administrator of the Rural Utilities Service:

"On behalf of NARUC, I want to applaud the Senate for moving so quickly to confirm the nominations of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and Meredith A. Baker to the Federal Communications Commission, and Jonathan Adelstein to lead the Rural Utilities Service. Commissioner Clyburn will bring a strong consumer focus to the commission. She will be missed at NARUC and I want to thank her for her years of service to the Association, the ratepayers of South Carolina, and now the country as a whole. I also congratulate Commissioner Baker, whom we know well from her tenure at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and her strong record of public service. We look forward to working closely with all the members of the FCC. In addition, we are excited to work with Administrator Adelstein in his new role leading the RUS. Administrator Adelstein was a good friend to NARUC during his time at the FCC, and we are very appreciative of his service to this country."

 

 

Wisconsin Water Rates

As reported in the July 24, 2009, PUR Utility Regulatory News, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the City of Waukesha Water Utility’s request for a 16 percent overall water rate increase and to create different block sizes for duplex and triplex customers on a single meter.

According to the PSC, the new rates refine Waukesha’s existing residential inclining block structure to better distinguish between subclasses of residential users and to send a stronger price signal to encourage conservation. The utility requested the rate increase in an effort to reduce per capita water use 20 percent, as set forth in its 2006 Water Conservation and Protection Plan, and to ensure adequate revenue for radium compliance.

The commission said that the utility has implemented numerous conservation measures in recent years and has seen water consumption decrease substantially. As well as establishing inclining block rates, the utility has provided water conservation outreach and education activities with local schools, public service announcements and established a water conservation Web site, the PSC said. It noted that from 2002 to 2008, the utility’s average annual sales per residential customer dropped 17.9 percent. This drop led to overall total residential sale volume declines of 10.9 percent, despite an increase in residential customers of 8.5 percent. While some variability in usage can be attributed to weather patterns, the utility’s water conservation programs have played an important role in reducing demand. (Case No. 6240-WR-106)

 

 

Meeting Notice for the NARUC Staff Subcommittee on Accounting and Finance

The NARUC Staff Subcommittee on Accounting and Finance will hold its 2009 fall conference/meeting Oct. 5-8, 2009, at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Wash. Sessions will be open through noon on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Utility accounting and finance issues have never been more important than they are today. You will not want to miss the presentations and discussions at this meeting. The topics will be important, timely and informative. The subcommittee plans on having representatives from a wide variety of entities as presenters, including the SEC, FASB, Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poors, EEI, AGA, FERC, FCC, RUS, Deloitte Touche, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and more. Continuing professional education credits will be available.

Please click here for more information on the meeting, including registration and hotel reservations.