Committee on Consumers and the Public Interest: Disconnections and Delinquencies, Part II 6/10/19

Commissioner Guzman-Aceves presentation

Cynthia Wilson-Frias presentation

Mary Grant presentation

John Howat presentation

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This webinar is the second in the series on Delinquencies and Disconnections, which is part of an on-going collaboration between NARUC’s Committee on Consumers and the Public Interest, The National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA), and the National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI).

Delinquencies and Disconnections: Case Studies from the States will provide insights and perspectives from states that are successfully implementing data collection processes that are helping to improve outcomes relating to utility delinquencies and disconnections. This webinar provides a forum for PUC staff with experience with successful data collection efforts to report on the genesis of and stakeholder participation in their process, share what the process entails, and discuss areas for continued improvements. Experts on utility disconnections will be invited to provide comments, and participate in a joint dialogue on trends observed in this field over the past decade.

Moderator:

Hon. Marion Gold, Ph.D., Commissioner, Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission

Panelists:

Hon. Martha Guzman Aceves, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission

John Howat, Senior Energy Analyst, National Consumer Law Center

Mary Grant, Director, Food and Water Watch

Cynthia G. Wilson-Frias, Chief of Legal Services, Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission

John Howat has been involved with energy programs and policy issues since 1981.  At National Consumer Law Center over the past 20 years, he has managed projects across the country in support of low- and moderate-income consumers’ access to affordable energy and utility services. John’s work focuses on design and implementation of low income energy affordability and efficiency programs, utility consumer protections, metering and prepaid utility service, rate design, and utility credit reporting.  He has represented public agencies and non-profit organizations in states across the country, including as an expert witness in proceedings before state utility regulatory commissions in 22 states.  He is co-author of NCLC’s Access to Utility Service, and has had articles published by Electricity Policy Journal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, Clearinghouse Review, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  John has a MA from Tufts University and a BA from The Evergreen State College.

Martha Guzman Aceves was appointed Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission in 2016. She has focused on issues related to fuel switching, broadband access, water affordability, access to distributed solar and various other energy and telecommunications issues.  She previously served as deputy legislative affairs secretary in the Office of the Governor since 2011, focusing on natural resources, environmental protection, energy and food and agriculture. She was sustainable communities program director for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation from 2005 to 2011. From 2006 to 2008, she worked with Swanton Berry Farm on human resources issues including a new employee-stock ownership program. In 2010, she co-founded Communities for a New California, a charitable organization promoting increased civic engagement of underrepresented communities. Guzman Aceves earned a Master of Science degree in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Davis, and a Bachelor of Science in International Economics from Georgetown University.

Mary Grant is the Public Water for All Campaign Director at Food & Water Watch. Grant works with Food & Water Watch’s organizers across the country and oversees campaigns to support universal access to safe water in the United States by promoting responsible and affordable public provision of water and sewer service. Prior to becoming campaign director, Grant was a researcher for Food & Water Watch. Her research has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, and other news outlets. Food & Water Watch is a national nonprofit organization that mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. Cynthia Wilson-Frias.  Cindy began her career at the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission in 2001 as a Senior Legal Counsel and currently serves as the Commission’s Chief of Legal Services and legislative liaison.  Prior to that she was engaged in private practice.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government from Connecticut College and J.D. from Creighton University Law School.  Cindy has been working on matters that involve the challenges of utility collections and termination issues since her first case at the PUC.

Moderator:

Hon. Marion Gold, Ph.D., Commissioner, Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission

Panelists:

Hon. Martha Guzman Aceves, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission

John Howat, Senior Energy Analyst, National Consumer Law Center

Mary Grant, Director, Food and Water Watch

Cynthia G. Wilson-Frias, Chief of Legal Services, Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission

John Howat has been involved with energy programs and policy issues since 1981.  At National Consumer Law Center over the past 20 years, he has managed projects across the country in support of low- and moderate-income consumers’ access to affordable energy and utility services. John’s work focuses on design and implementation of low income energy affordability and efficiency programs, utility consumer protections, metering and prepaid utility service, rate design, and utility credit reporting.  He has represented public agencies and non-profit organizations in states across the country, including as an expert witness in proceedings before state utility regulatory commissions in 22 states.  He is co-author of NCLC’s Access to Utility Service, and has had articles published by Electricity Policy Journal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, Clearinghouse Review, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  John has a MA from Tufts University and a BA from The Evergreen State College.

Martha Guzman Aceves was appointed Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission in 2016. She has focused on issues related to fuel switching, broadband access, water affordability, access to distributed solar and various other energy and telecommunications issues.  She previously served as deputy legislative affairs secretary in the Office of the Governor since 2011, focusing on natural resources, environmental protection, energy and food and agriculture. She was sustainable communities program director for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation from 2005 to 2011. From 2006 to 2008, she worked with Swanton Berry Farm on human resources issues including a new employee-stock ownership program. In 2010, she co-founded Communities for a New California, a charitable organization promoting increased civic engagement of underrepresented communities. Guzman Aceves earned a Master of Science degree in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Davis, and a Bachelor of Science in International Economics from Georgetown University.

Mary Grant is the Public Water for All Campaign Director at Food & Water Watch. Grant works with Food & Water Watch’s organizers across the country and oversees campaigns to support universal access to safe water in the United States by promoting responsible and affordable public provision of water and sewer service. Prior to becoming campaign director, Grant was a researcher for Food & Water Watch. Her research has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, and other news outlets. Food & Water Watch is a national nonprofit organization that mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. Cynthia Wilson-Frias.  Cindy began her career at the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission in 2001 as a Senior Legal Counsel and currently serves as the Commission’s Chief of Legal Services and legislative liaison.  Prior to that she was engaged in private practice.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government from Connecticut College and J.D. from Creighton University Law School.  Cindy has been working on matters that involve the challenges of utility collections and termination issues since her first case at the PUC.