Legislative Update

September 22, 2022

Join us for an ElectriCities regional meeting! Our fall regional meeting schedule has arrived!

We look forward to seeing you at one of the four upcoming meetings.

  • Thursday, Sept. 29, in Smithfield, N.C
  • Thursday, Oct. 6, in Statesville, N.C.
  • Thursday, Oct. 13, in Greenville, N.C.
  • Thursday, Oct. 20, in Concord, N.C.

Attending a meeting is an excellent opportunity for mayors, council members, city and town managers, and key municipal staff to learn more about their local electric business and the strategic plan and priorities for regional public power the ElectriCities Board of Directors and ElectriCities CEO Roy Jones rolled out at the Annual Conference in August.

Meetings are from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Attendance is free and includes dinner. To ensure we have plenty of space and food, please register now for the meeting that’s most convenient for you.

Please be sure to share this information with colleagues and local elected officials! Please encourage elected officials to attend.

If you have any questions about the meetings or registration, please contact Gregg Welch.

N.C. Carbon Plan update

The N.C. Utilities Commission began extensive hearings Sept. 13 on Duke Energy’s proposed Carbon Plan, its preferred strategy for meeting carbon dioxide reduction targets of 70% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050. The testimony by Duke experts and questioning by environmental, consumer, and industry groups could last weeks.

As part of its Carbon Plan filings, in August Duke unveiled a “One Utility” plan to combine Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress.

“We expected a plan to combine DEC and DEP to be filed at some point, and we are reviewing the details to see how ElectriCities members would be affected, what questions and concerns we have, and how wholesale production and transmission contracts between the power agencies and Duke may need to change,” ElectriCities CEO Roy Jones wrote in an email to members after Duke’s filing.

The One Utility proposal was one of six Duke filed in August, also submitting proposals in the Policy and Overview, Modeling and Near-Term Actions, Transmission, Long Lead-Time Resources, Grid Edge, and Reliability categories in the docket.

ElectriCities has engaged in conversations with Duke, submitted comments on Duke’s proposals in the formal proceedings, and coordinated with other stakeholders including public staff. Under the legislation, the Utilities Commission must announce a carbon plan by the end of the year. We will continue to participate actively in the docket on behalf of North Carolina public power communities and keep you informed of the direction of the plan as it evolves.

Read more here.

APPA fights back against unfair pole attachment ideas

Although Congress has specifically forbidden the Federal Communications Commission from regulating municipal utilities’ pole attachment agreements with communications companies, the FCC has opened a proceeding on broadband deployment acceleration that has occasioned action by APPA.

In the initial comments on that proceeding, communications companies and their allies relayed incorrect information and false narratives about utility pole replacement efforts and attachment agreements.

APPA has filed reply comments to correct inaccuracies in the initial comments and ensures its ability to appeal any potential rule changes.

APPA’s comments focused on three major points:

  • The FCC should not change the existing pole replacement framework.
    • Utilities are not required to replace poles under Section 224 where there is insufficient capacity for additional attachers; nevertheless, utilities routinely replace poles for attachers voluntarily.
  • The existing pole replacement rule structure should stay in place.
    • Electric utilities are not direct beneficiaries of a pole replacement for additional attachments, so we do not consider premature replacement of poles a benefit.
  • Charter Communications’ “economic study” is deeply flawed.
    • To name just two of many flaws, the study first purports to show massive missed economic opportunity from delayed broadband deployment in under-served and unserved areas. But the authors then lay the entire economic loss at the feet of municipal and cooperative pole owners, even though much of this area is investor-owned service territory already subject to FCC pole policies.

Second, while the authors allow that costs will be imposed on pole owners, they assert that the “social welfare” gains justify the costs—without explaining why captive electric ratepayers represent the proper way to subsidize social welfare programs.

It is unclear if, or when, the FCC will act further in this proceeding. Through APPA, ElectriCities will continue to monitor the proceeding and let you know if we need you to act.

Public power supply chain issues

Public power communities in North Carolina and across the country are joining together to find temporary and long-term solutions to the ongoing supply chain crisis.

Persistent labor and part shortages continue to create a major imbalance between supply and demand. Public power members have recently met on a national and state level to discuss the issue.

You can read more about discussions that took place at a briefing by the American Public Power Association and an ElectriCities’ Utility Directors Advisory Committee here.

Adrienne Lotto – APPA’s new chief of grid security, technical and operations services

Adrienne Lotto, vice president and chief risk and resilience officer at the New York Power Authority, will join the American Public Power Association as APPA’s new senior vice president of grid security, technical and operations services, starting Oct. 1.

Lotto joined NYPA in October 2019 as senior director for energy security and resilience programs, a role that she served in until January 2021 when she was named as NYPA’s chief risk and resilience officer. Prior to NYPA, Lotto worked at the U.S. Department of Energy.

From March 2018 to October 2018, she served as chief of staff in the DOE’s Office of Electricity and from March 2018 to October 2019 she served as deputy assistant secretary of infrastructure security and energy restoration in the DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response.

You can read more about Lotto’s experience here.

Cybersecurity grants for public power utilities

The Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) will hold a listening session for its Rural and Municipal Utility Cybersecurity Grant and Technical Assistance Program (RMUC) on Sept. 29 from 3-4 p.m. Find information on how to get government dollars to enhance your cyber security.

The listening session, which will focused on public power utilities and very small IOUs, is open to all except for the press. Registration is required; find out more information here.

Fall 2022 Downtown Revitalization Grant application due Sept. 30

ElectriCities’ economic development division is currently accepting applications for the highly competitive Downtown Revitalization Grant. This funding can be used for advancing the revitalization goals of a member community. The planned use for the grant must be approved by the city/town manager.

Grant use examples:

  • Public improvement projects
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship projects
  • Building reuse studies
  • Attraction or retention programs

The $10,000 grant is available for Power Agency members in NCEMPA and NCMPA1. This grant requires no match but is only available to a member city or town once every three years. In any calendar year that a member receives the $10,000 grant, the member community is not eligible for the $5,000 Smart Communities Grant. The member is eligible for the $5,000 Smart Communities Grant in years two and three following receipt of the Downtown Revitalization Grant.

Municipalities can expect to hear a back about their application within six to eight weeks.

You can find more information or submit an application here.

Dates We’re Watching
Aug. 29: APPA briefing on supply chain issues (virtual)
Sept. 29: Regional Meeting, Smithfield, NC
Oct. 6: Regional Meeting, Statesville, NC
Oct. 13: Regional Meeting, Greenville NC
Oct. 20: Regional Meeting, Concord, NC
Nov. 8: N.C. General election
Dec. 31: Deadline for N.C. Utilities Commission to adopt its Carbon Plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions in the state

 

Contact us

Drew Elliot

Manager, Government Affairs

919-760-6322

Rhian Ray

Senior Public Affairs Specialist

919-760-6325