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January 12, 2010

     
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State Regulatory Relations


NARUC Names New Water Committee Co-Vice Chair

Commissioner Patricia Acampora

Commissioner Patricia Acampora of New York has been appointed co-vice chair of the Committee on Water. Commissioner Acampora was appointed commissioner of the New York State Public Service Commission on June 16, 2005. Her term runs through Feb. 1, 2015.

Immediately prior to her appointment, Commissioner Acampora served for 12 years in the New York State Legislature, representing the 1st Assembly District on Long Island. As an assemblywoman, she was a Ranking Member of the Labor Committee, and a member of the Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee; the Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions Committee; Banking Committee; and the Governmental Employees Committee. She also served as a member of the National Legislative Task Force on Criminal Justice and the Assembly Health Care Task Force.

Commissioner Acampora is a long-standing committee member of the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners’ (NARUC) Committee on Consumer Affairs. Also, Commissioner Acampora sits on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC) and is the organization’s secretary-treasurer. During 2007, Commissioner Acampora served as the interim chairwoman of the New York State Public Service Commission.

Commissioner Acampora is a recognized leader on the national level in advocating for low-income customers and has represented NARUC at congressional committee hearings. She has been proactive in trying to assist other states in adopting automatic enrollment for eligible customers for the LIFELINE program. She has also advocated for increased funding and improved effectiveness of programs that promote affordability of essential utility services for low-income customers, as well as insisting upon a high level of customer service by electric, gas and telecom utilities for all customers.

Commissioner Acampora was the first woman to serve as president of the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators since the bi-partisan conference began nearly three decades ago. She was also a member of the Women's Legislative Caucus. Prior to being elected, Commissioner Acampora worked as an assistant to Suffolk County Executive Robert Gaffney and served as a liaison to the Suffolk County Legislature. Prior to her career in public service, Commissioner Acampora worked in the private sector in retail management.

A dedicated community leader, Commissioner Acampora was a former member of the Nassau-Suffolk Juvenile Diabetes Board and is currently an active member of the Capital Network Women's Group and many other local community organizations. Commissioner Acampora continues to be a vocal community advocate for children's rights and the need to preserve the environment. She also serves as a board member of the statewide Women in Communications and Energy (WICE) organization.

 

State Commission Updates

Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois recently announced the appointment of Manuel Flores as chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).

“Manny Flores is an experienced and highly-regarded public servant who will provide a fresh viewpoint at this very important commission,” said Governor Quinn. “He excelled in the Chicago City Council and will do so at the helm of the ICC.”

Upon Senate confirmation, Flores will be the first Latino chairman of the ICC. A prominent member of the Chicago City Council, he was elected as 1st Ward Alderman in 2003. He has served in numerous capacities including on the Capital and Technology Development Committee, and the Energy, Environmental Protection, and Public Utilities Committee. He also serves on the Illinois Broadband Deployment Council and the Board of Community Health.

Chairman Flores has been an advocate for building Chicago’s green economy by pushing for LEED certification in new developments; launching GreenEconomyChicago.com, an online social networking platform to develop policy to promote a green marketplace; and spearheading the Chicago’s Green Exchange development, a green business mall that will be a premier destination for clean technology and energy companies.

“I want to thank Governor Quinn for the appointment, and I’m proud to serve the state of Illinois as the Chairman of Illinois Commerce Commission,” said Chairman Flores.

A graduate of Dominican University and George Washington University Law School, Chairman Flores served as a prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He began his career in public service as an aide to Congressman Luis Guiterrez.

Commissioner David Klement

Commissioner David Klement

David E. Klement was recently sworn in as commissioner of the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). Governor Charlie Crist appointed Commissioner Klement to the PSC in September 2009 and, in October, chose him to fill a vacant PSC Commissioner seat before serving his four-year term beginning in January 2010.

“I have spent the past two months learning the ropes, getting up to speed on important cases, and I am looking forward to the next four years,” said Commissioner Klement. “I understand the great responsibility ahead of me to serve Florida’s residents in these challenging economic times.”

Commissioner Klement formerly served as director of the Institute for Public Policy & Leadership at the University of South Florida. He brings a journalism career spanning more than four decades to the commission, serving in various editor positions at The Bradenton Herald,The Detroit Free Press and The Daily Oklahoman.

Klement received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, a master’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida and is a graduate of Leadership Florida. He is a member of both the Manatee and the Sarasota Chambers of Commerce and serves on the boards of the U.S. Green Building Council, Myakka River Branch and Manatee Educational Television.

Commissioner Ben A. "Steve" Stevens III

Commissioner Ben A. "Steve" Stevens III

Ben A. “Steve” Stevens III, CPA, was recently sworn in as a Florida Public Service Commissioner. Commissioner Stevens was appointed by Governor Crist and will serve a four-year term.

Commissioner Stevens most recently served as the chief financial officer for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office for eight years. Before this, he served as interim director and manager of the Office of Management and Budget for the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners, where he also worked as a budget research analyst. Commissioner Stevens began his career as an accountant with Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund in 1989.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the commission and look forward to using my background as a CPA to ensure that Florida’s utilities provide our residents reliable service at a reasonable cost,” said Commissioner Stevens, who earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance from Florida State University.

Chairman Nancy Argenziano

Chairman Nancy Argenziano

Chairman Nancy Argenziano was elected to a two-year term as Chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission beginning Jan. 2, 2010.

Chairman Argenziano was appointed to the Florida Public Service Commission by Governor Charlie Crist for a four-year term beginning May 2007. Before her appointment to the PSC, Chairman Argenziano served more than 10 years in the Florida legislature. She was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1996 and served there until her election in 2002 to the Florida Senate.

While serving in the state legislature, she served on many different committee and council assignments, including: Environmental Preservation, Governmental Oversight (Chair), Comprehensive Planning, Criminal Justice (Chair), Criminal Justice Appropriations, Regulated Industries, Rules and Calendar, Agriculture (Chair), Administrative Procedure, Public Service Commission Oversight, Ethics and Elections, Health Policy, Elder Affairs (Chair), Healthcare Council (Chair), Crime and Punishment, Water Resource Management, and Utilities and Communication.

As a senator, her legislative career focused on protection of the elderly and other vulnerable citizens, resource protection, and full participation of the citizens in their government. Notable legislation that she has sponsored includes nursing-home reform, "local sources first" (water use), two pharmacy discount programs, a law providing for clearing the courtroom for victim sex crime testimony, enhanced penalties for crimes against the elderly, Public Counsel representation in utility rates cases, protection of Florida springs, a "scambusters" program for the protection of consumers, and protection for children from sexual predators (the Jessica Lunsford Act).

Chairman David King

Chairman David King

Commissioner David W. King was recently elected chairman of the New Mexico PRC. Chairman King replaces Commissioner Sandy Jones and will serve as chairman during 2010. Following his selection as chairman, King nominated Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. to serve as the commission’s vice chairman for the coming year.

 

 


Commissioner Jerome D. Block

Commissioner Jerome D. Block

Commissioner Jerome D. Block is the newest member of the NARUC Water Committee.

President Michal R. Peevey

President Michael R. Peevey

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently announced that President Michael R. Peevey was confirmed by the California Senate for a new six-year term.

President Peevey was first appointed to the CPUC by former Governor Davis in March 2002. In December 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reappointed President Peevey, leading to the recent confirmation.

The many initiatives spearheaded by President Peevey include groundbreaking work in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate change. He was instrumental in creating the state's first Energy Action Plan and says he looks forward to continuing to position California as a leader in clean energy initiatives and policies. "I would like to thank the governor and the legislature for the opportunity to work with a wonderful team of people at the CPUC who are dedicated to protecting consumers and our environment," said President Peevey. "I look forward to continuing our efforts in the coming years as we add more renewables to the state, reduce greenhouse gases, and make energy efficiency a way of life in California."

CPUC commissioners are appointed by the governor to serve six-year terms. They must be confirmed by the state Senate within a year of their appointment.

 

Chairman Bob Anthony

Chairman Bob Anthony

Chairman Bob Anthony of Oklahoma has been appointed to the NARUC board of directors for a term ending Oct. 31, 2010.

Decoupling in Idaho

As reported in PUR’s Utility Regulatory News, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced that Idaho Power Co. has filed a request to make permanent its pilot revenue decoupling plan. The commission implemented the fixed-cost adjustment (FCA) in 2007 as a three-year pilot program.

The adjustment allows Idaho Power to recover its fixed costs of delivering energy as established in its most recent general rate case, even if there is a reduction in energy sales and revenues because of energy efficiency and demand-reduction efforts. The FCA allows Idaho Power to recover its established fixed costs through a surcharge when it under-collects fixed costs because of reduced electrical use. Conversely, if Idaho Power collects more than its established fixed costs, customers receive a credit instead of a surcharge. The commission said that during the first year of the pilot, the FCA resulted in a credit of about 48 cents per month on an average residential bill. During the second year, customers were assessed a surcharge, or an increase of about 56 cents per month, on an average residential bill. The FCA applies only to residential and small-business customers. According to the PUC, Idaho Power claims that implementation of the FCA has been a major factor in the increase in its level of investment in energy efficiency and conservation, from $11.5 million in 2006 to $21.2 million during 2008. (Case No. IPC-E-09-28, Order No. 30948)

Court Reverses NJ BPU Main Extension Decision

On Dec. 30, 2009, New Jersey’s Superior Court reversed a decision of the Board of Public Utilities, which had denied a construction company’s request that it be relieved of the cost of a main extension. In the Matter of Centex Homes, LLC, 2009 NJ Super. LEXIS 262. Under the BPU’s Main Extension Regulations, utilities were not required to finance extensions unless they were in an area designated for growth or served a “significant public good” that outweighed the benefits of smart growth. The court acknowledged that the legislature had declared smart growth to be an important public policy goal but held that the BPU lacked the statutory authority to take smart growth principles into account in ordering service extensions.

Concerns Expressed Over Drilling Techniques

The discovery of massive natural gas reserves in the so-called Marcellus Shale Formation underlying the Appalachian Basin continues to elevate concerns over potential drinking water impacts. In particular, the use of “hydrofracking,” a drilling technique that involves the injection of large volumes of water into wells to break up shale rock and thereby allow natural gas to escape to the surface, has been cited as creating unacceptable risks of chemical contamination. In Pennsylvania, landowners already have sued successfully to recover the cost of damages to their water wells. And in New York, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation is reportedly drafting guidelines that would restrict the drilling for natural gas in areas around reservoirs and water bodies. Notably, New York City officials reportedly have suggested that the city might have to build a filtration plant, at a cost which could exceed $5 or $6 billion, if drilling at the Catskill-Delaware Watershed is not controlled.