2020 FRI Public Utility Symposium

Financial Research Institute

The Financial Research Institute has transformed its in-person annual Public Utility Symposium to an exciting and informational four-part webinar series to explore the forces driving public utility regulatory policy redesign and innovation. This webinar series is structured around four primary driving forces: physical, market, technological, and legal. Speakers will identify the underlying trends within each of the driving forces. They will examine current practices in these areas, identify emerging new solutions, and offer thoughts regarding developments in the near-term future.   

Included in this webinar series will be two keynote addresses: Joshua Broder, CEO of Tilson will deliver a keynote address preceding the panel discussion during session II on October 21, and NARUC President Brandon Presley, Commissioner of the Mississippi Public Service Commission, will deliver a keynote address preceding the panel discussion during session III on October 28. Our Webinar Master will be Dana Murphy, Commissioner of the Oklahoma Corporate Commission.


SESSION I - Wednesday, October 14, 2020, Noon to 1:30 PM (Central)

The Physical Forces Driving Public Utility Policy Redesign and Innovation

This session will examine the physical forces driving public utility policy redesign and innovation. Speakers for this session will focus on the resiliency and sufficiency of utility infrastructure for the 21st century. Topics addressed in this panel include the ability of the infrastructure to respond to disruptions originating from a variety of factors, the challenges of physical and cybersecurity, the reliability and sufficiency of existing infrastructure relative to projected demand growth, and the impact of emerging technologies.

Moderator:   Kimberly A. O’Guinn, Commissioner, Arkansas Public Service Commission


Willie L. Phillips, Chairman, Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia

Lon Huber, Vice President, Rate Design and Strategic Solutions, Duke Energy

Dr. Paul Stockton, Managing Director, Sonecon LLC

Jackie Roberts, Director, Consumer Advocate Division, West Virginia Public Service Commission


SESSION II - Wednesday, October 21, 2020, Noon to 1:30 PM (Central)

The Market Forces Driving Public Utility Policy Redesign and Innovation

Speakers on this panel will discuss state innovations in pricing, mergers and acquisitions, consumer sentiment, renewables, capital market access, and affordability. Panelists will discuss how market forces are shaping the cost structures that producers, state regulators, and consumers must face while trying to balance the need for adequate utility incentives with consumer affordability and access. Included in this discussion will be risk equitability, the role of regulators, and ratemaking that encourages, fosters, and incentivizes research and development.

Moderator:   Sadzi Oliva, Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission


Tricia Pridemore, Commissioner, Georgia Public Service Commission

Sheri Givens, Vice President, US Regulatory & Customer Strategy, National Grid

Chris Villarreal, President, Plugged In Strategies

Jorge Fuentes, Director, Arizona Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO)


SESSION III - Wednesday, October 28, 2020, Noon to 1:30 PM (Central)

The Technological Forces Driving Public Utility Policy Redesign and Innovation

Topics included in this discussion are smart technology, storage, cybersecurity, micro-grids and renewables. Speakers will not only address the promise of innovation, but the regulatory changes that are occurring or need to occur as a result of these technological forces.

Moderator:   M. Beth Trombold, Vice Chair, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio


Joseph Fiordaliso, President, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities

Elin Katz, Managing Director, Utilities & Associate General Counsel, Tilson Technology Management

Dr. Thomas Reddoch, Senior Technical Executive, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

Sandra Mattavous-Frye, Director, D.C. Office of the People’s Counsel


SESSION IV - Wednesday, November 4, 2020, Noon to 1:30 PM (Central)

The Legal Forces Driving Public Utility Policy Redesign and Innovation

Topics included in this session are federal/state/city mandates, environmental, and regulatory legislative relations. Speakers will explore the tensions between federal and state regulation and the critical relationships between legislators and regulators. Panelists will also seek to identify “who leads” and where collaboration is most useful.

Moderator:   Brad Johnson, Chairman, Montana Public Service Commission


Carrie Zalewski, Chairman, Illinois Commerce Commission

Cheryl Norton, President, New Jersey American Water

Uma Outka, Assoc. Dean for Faculty, Professor of Law and William R. Scott Law Professor, Univ. of Kansas School of Law

Chuck Harder, Deputy Attorney General, Office of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge


Session IV also will include the presentation of the 2020 FRI Crystal Award for Distinguished Contribution to Mr. Kenneth A. Colburn, retired Principal and Director, U.S. Programs, the Regulatory Assistance Program (RAP).