Leading Utility Regulatory Reform: Process Options and Lessons From Oregon
Unprecedented changes are underway in the electricity sector, and regulatory reform efforts aimed at responding to these changes are being initiated across the country. These efforts represent an opportunity for states to undertake new kinds of stakeholder engagement that are not typical of traditional public utility commissioner proceedings. States have many options when designing this engagement, and this paper lays out some of the key elements of a successful stakeholder process, including:
- A well-defined scope of the potential reforms being considered;
- Creative process elements that deepen and broaden discussions;
- Involvement and engagement of a wide range of stakeholders; and
- Discussion tools designed for a specific purposes.
The paper looks in particular at how stakeholder engagement has played out in Oregon, where many of the elements described above were successfully used in the SB 978 stakeholder process in 2018. RAP and the Rocky Mountain Institute served during this process as facilitators and advisors to the Oregon PUC, which completed the process by delivering a well-received report to the Legislature. Some of the recommendations in this paper, in turn, were informed by the process and outcomes of SB 978.