Database Provides a Window into Public Utility Commissions

17 Jul, 2013

Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national business organization representing the advanced energy industry, has unveiled a public utility commission portal, an online database that provides insight into the official bodies responsible for energy regulation in the 50 states. The site also includes key energy data for each state and a comparison tool that allows users to analyze states side by side.

Decisions made by PUCs will influence the $100 billion in utility infrastructure investments expected each year between now and 2020, ranging from smart meters to transmission lines to new power plants. As a result, commission rulings affect the electric and natural gas bills paid by every business and household in the country.

But these state regulatory bodies and their members are little known by the public, and their actions little understood. Each state has its own commission (typically made up of three to seven commissioners), with most appointed by governors to terms of varying length, but some are elected. All told, there are nearly 200 PUC commissioners nationwide, but the lineup is constantly changing. Turnover among utility commissioners is about 25 percent a year; there have been 20 new commissioners seated so far this year.

To help stakeholders and the public better understand and navigate this complex and ever-changing regulatory arena, the Advanced Energy Economy Institute, AEE’s charitable and educational affiliate, has developed the PUC portal website to give users information about the key players in energy policy in each state and the energy infrastructure they oversee. For each state, the PUC Portal provides the names and biographies of each commissioner, along with political affiliation, method of selection, term of office, and requirements for qualification. The site also provides information on other key players in state energy policy, such as executive branch officials and key legislative committees, and data on electricity prices and in-state power generation. Up to four states can be selected for comparison side by side.

Illustration by rajcreationzs at Free Digital

Compiled from AEE press material.