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NARUC Resolves to Examine Effect of High Gas Prices

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) issued several resolutions addressing natural gas prices, climate change technology and electric industry workforce readiness during its summer meetings in Portland, OR, which concluded last Wednesday.

NARUC called for federal help in all three areas, along with a direct appeal to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to establish energy efficiency standards in manufactured housing ahead of Congress' mandated deadline. State utility regulators passed one resolution calling for the study of additional steps they should take in their states to support efforts to analyze how high natural gas prices are impacting consumers. While commending the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on its ongoing energy market monitoring efforts, NARUC urged FERC to work with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission "to ensure excessive speculation is not distorting natural gas prices."

NARUC pledged to form a working group to report on how speculation and other factors may be affecting prices and any need for federal legislation in this area.

Another resolution supported "to the extent practicable" the incorporation of broadband technologies as part of an economy-wide approach to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. This same resolution urges Congress to "explore any national climate change legislation policies that would encourage advances in technologies, along with sound and comprehensive energy policy that encourages energy efficiency, clean energy sources, [energy] independence, conservation and other factors."

NARUC said the effort can improve the environment by slowing energy use, conserving water and other natural resources and reducing GHG emissions. NARUC's climate policy task force is encouraged to investigate the telecom/information technologies' roles in improving the environment.

In the other two resolutions NARUC asked that a report be completed by the organization's annual meeting in November to examine the workforce training, recruitment and retention programs needed in the electricity sector. Finally, NARUC urged the DOE to push for the early development of the energy efficiency standards for manufactured housing.

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