Morning Plenary: Government and Utilities As Collaborators for Sustainability


Renata Simril, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff to the Publisher, Los Angeles Times


Pedro Pizarro, President, Southern California Edison
Robert Garcia, Mayor, City of Long Beach
Robyn Beavers, Senior Vice President, NRG Energy
Marcie Edwards, General Manager, LADWP

Government and utilities have a strangely symbiotic relationship, which some would call a “Love-Hate Relationship.” In the absence of competitive markets, utilities rely on legislators and regulators to set rules and rates that enable them to conduct business in a safe and reliable manner — and, for the investor-owned utilities — to compensate their investors adequately. Consumers rely on legislators and regulators to protect them from excessive costs and from high utility bills. Legislators and regulators count on utilities to implement policies that unregulated utilities would logically run from, like energy efficiency programs, steeply tiered rates, low-income assistance, and perhaps even renewable generation. If we hope to build a future of sustainability and genuine environmental stewardship, government and utilities must work together more effectively. However, as recent news has highlighted, that collaboration must also be fair and transparent. How do we build a collaborative relationship that is effective, durable beyond the terms of particular legislators or utility leaders, and fair to all?  Do we need a tune-up, or a major overhaul? And who can and will take the lead to make it happen?


Plenary - Government and Utilities as Collaborators for Sustainability