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Strategy & Planning

Meeting Innovation's Natural Challenges

Over the last five years, utilities have successfully infused awareness of the pace of market change into their employees. Consequently, enhanced visibility is being directed to areas where critical innovation is necessary to ensure business success. 

Author Bio: 

Tom Flaherty is a Senior Advisor to companies in the global power and utilities industry for PwC Strategy&.

Overcoming Headwinds

Innovation: The Path for Smaller Utilities

The regulatory model for electricity supply generally does not incent utilities to innovate.
Mark Knight: Innovation is a good culture to have but can be difficult to nurture. It is perhaps easier for large organizations to innovate because they can create culture changes within small groups, which for a small utility is difficult due to more limited staff numbers.
Tom Sloan: Adoption will not occur unless the PUC or governing board perceives the risk to be manageable or minimal, and that the rewards will outweigh the costs.
Author Bio: 

Mark Knight is a Principal Consultant at 1898 & Co., part of Burns & McDonnell. Bringing more than thirty years of experience, he is a thought leader and industry advisor. Mark is emeritus chair of the GridWise Architecture Council and is the Director of Projects for the Institute of Asset Management.

Tom Sloan is a recently retired twelve-term veteran of the Kansas Legislature and member of several federal agency and professional legislator organizations’ energy committees.

Nurturing Ideas

Affordable Utility Service

One notion of fairness is the affordability of utility services to all households, including those living in poverty.
Author Bio: 

Mr. Kenneth Costello is Regulatory Economist/Independent Consultant. He has conducted extensive research and written on a wide variety of topics related to the energy industries and public utility regulation.

Advice to Regulators

Hawaii: Dean Nishina

“There’s no organized group that intervenes on behalf of large industrial customers or large commercial customers. We are supposed to represent the interests of all of those consumers.”
“We provide fairly extensive analysis to support the positions we put before the Commission, with a combination of in-house resources as well as consultants.”
Author Bio: 

Dean Nishina is executive director, division of consumer advocacy, for the Aloha State.

Consumer Advocate

Hawaii's Consumer Advocate and a State Representative

Conversations with the division of consumer advocacy’s executive director Dean Nishina and state representative Chris Lee.
Author Bio: 

Steve Mitnick is President of Lines Up, Inc., Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly, author of “Lines Down: How We Pay, Use, Value Grid Electricity Amid the Storm.”

Unique Renewable Goals

Hawaii PUC: Jayson Kauwenaole

“Our goal is to get them in compliance. We’re not there to shut down any business.”
Author Bio: 

Jayson Kauwenaole is head of compliance and consumer affairs at the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Head of Compliance and Consumer Affairs

Hawaii PUC: Gina Yi

“I review applications from such utilities as Hawaiian Electric, reviewing its application for major projects, which includes electric diagrams.”
Author Bio: 

Gina Yi is interim chief engineer at the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Interim Chief Engineer

Hawaii PUC: Jodi Endo Chai

“If it takes us months to issue them a certificate, they’re unable to legally operate and earn income all that time.”
Author Bio: 

Jodi Endo Chai is executive officer at the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Executive Officer

Hawaii PUC: Dave Parsons

“We don’t testify, generally. Our Staff is advisory, so we’re an extension of the Commissioners. Our job is to investigate the issues before the Commission and advise them.”
Author Bio: 

Dave Parsons is chief for policy and research at the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Chief for Policy and Research

Hawaii PUC: Caroline Ishida

“The state Supreme Court has looked at some novel issues raised by some of the parties related to environmental considerations like greenhouse gases.”
“We are able to think about ways we can move in the policy directions that have been established by the legislature and Governor’s officein terms of renewable energy and moving toward that 100% RPS by 2045.”
Author Bio: 

Caroline Ishida is chief counsel for the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Chief Counsel