Last week REAL and many of its members gathered for the MACRUC 27th Annual Education Conference. MACRUC, or the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, helps promote the region-wide advancement of public utility regulation and the related regulatory, legislative and policy interests of MACRUC members. And yes, this does include energy choice.
In fact, the opening general session, Retail Competition in the Mid-Atlantic: Challenges, Opportunities and the Road Ahead, put energy competition front and center. REAL member Travis Kavulla, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for NRG and Kristina Montgomery, Director of Retail Policy for Vistra Energy, were joined by the Honorable Jason Stanek, Maryland, Patrick Cicero, Consumer Advocate for Pennsylvania, and Robert Powelson, President and CEO of National Association of Water Companies.
Kavulla laid out the three reasons why energy choice is more important now than ever before: the volatility of world energy markets, new technology responding to demand and flexible retail helps tap into emerging technologies and increased customer demand for green, clean energy.
Montgomery made the excellent point that retailers have to fight to keep their customers every single day, reminding the audience, customers can leave, ratepayers cannot. She also highlighted another benefit of energy choice: competition can facilitate the transition to a clean energy economy and makes clean energy accessible to customers who may not be able to install their own solar panels.
Powelson, who was instrumental in opening PA markets during his tenure on the PUC, had what REAL member Clean Choice Energy’s Vice President General Counsel Jennifer Spinosi called a ‘mic drop’ moment, when he said “The competitive market on its worst day is better than the regulated market on its best.”
Conversations about EV charging infrastructure, clean energy transitions and corporate responsibility were also taking place throughout the conference, all hallmarks of the benefits that arise when there are competitive energy markets helping to move the conversations into areas that truly matter to energy consumers.
One of the final sessions, the State of the States, where commissioners from MACRUC member states talk about the past year and focus areas for the coming year, highlighted the importance of the work each state is doing to make it easier to incorporate clean energy into existing infrastructure, and how they can make it accessible to more and more people.
The conference came to a close with the installation of 2022 – 2023’s new MACRUC leadership: President Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, Pennsylvania Public Service Commission, First Vice President, Kent Chandler, Kentucky Public Service Commission, Second Vice President, Diane Burman, New York Public Service Commission, Secretary-Treasurer Kim Drexler, and Delaware Public Service Commission.
We are excited to participate in the upcoming NARUC Summer Policy Summit, July 17 – 20 in San Diego. We will be sponsoring, hosting a breakfast, and sharing our insights with conference attendees. We hope to see you there!