CPES Holds PURA 101; The First 101 Series Event for New Energy Professionals

On March 28, 2017, the Connecticut Power and Energy Society’s New Energy Professionals Committee hosted “PURA 101: An Introduction to Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority” at PURA’s offices in New Britain. PURA 101 is the first of a series of informational sessions established to assist new CPES members and those new to the industry as they become acclimated and involved within the organization. The overarching goal of the 101 series is to provide a meaningful overview of state agencies and businesses with whom professionals in the industry interact. While the event was geared toward New Energy Professionals, many established professionals were also in attendance to gain insight into the evolving role of PURA.

John “Jack” Betkoski, Vice Chairman of PURA, gave opening remarks and provided attendees a glimpse into the role and work of PURA in Connecticut. He discussed the merger of the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to form the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). PURA has an independent role within DEEP, he explained, regulating the rates and services of Connecticut’s investor-owned electricity, natural gas, water and telecommunication companies.  Commissioner Betkoski also explained the various regional and national energy conversations in which he and his fellow Commissioners and Staff are actively involved.

Michael Coyle, PURA spokesman, provided a deeper dive into the inner workings of PURA. He offered a perspective on the evolving role of public service commissions. He also explained how PURA processes dockets and described various PURA staff roles and how they interact with stakeholders.

Kate Boucher, PURA staff attorney, provided additional information on PURA procedures and operations. She discussed how parties can participate in or follow PURA proceedings, reviewed the scope of PURA’s jurisdiction, and gave insight into how PURA is expanding its presence into regional utility matters.

If you were not able to attend, here are takeaways from PURA 101 for New Energy Professionals:

  1. Per Vice Chairman Betkoski, after serving as a Utility Commissioner for nearly 20 years, he views the one constant in the energy industry is change.
  2. Effective utility regulation at the state level increasingly requires effective participation in regional utility matters as well.
  3. The full record of all PURA proceedings is available for review on the PURA website: www.ct.gov/pura. You can sign up for public notification emails for particular dockets.
  4. If you have questions about a current or potential docketed proceeding, contact one of PURA’s Case Coordinators.
  5. There are several active working groups in place that you can participate in on topics such as (1) suppliers; (2) net metering; (3) EBT