Several years ago, NARUC expanded its outlook beyond the US and now assists in the promotion of a better understanding of the many new complex regulatory issues that public utility regulators must address in rapidly changing societies. NARUC believes that its members’ expertise can help promote the institution of independent regulatory agencies and bring opportunities for more enhanced democratic methods of regulation.
For more information on NARUC, please visit www.naruc.org.
NARUC has uniquely successful experience in assisting regulators in the creation of regional associations and information exchange programs that serve to improve regulatory practices in select regions of the world.
The Global Regulatory Network
In October 2002, NARUC signed a multi-year Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development to create a Global Regulatory Network to encourage information exchange and local capacity building in the area of regulatory commissions. The Global program allows NARUC to promote a better understanding of complex regulatory issues faced by public utility regulators in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. Planned activities for the Global Regulatory Network include the following:
Regional Association Formation
NARUC has extensive experience in all aspects of regulatory association building. For countries with recently created associations, NARUC provides assistance with structure, function, governing principles and procedures, funding issues, technical trainings, website development, systematization of association activities and member involvement.
The First Annual Energy Regulatory Conference for the Global Regulatory Network was held on June 16-17, 2003 in Windhoek, Namibia. The conference focused on autonomy and authority, tariff issues, cross-border trade, and regional market development. The Annual Conference was followed by the Southern Africa Forum for En-ergy Regulators, Utilities & Stakeholders on June 18-19, 2003.
Technical Workshops and Training
NARUC organize technical meetings, focused workshops and roundtable discussions in the Southern African, West African, Asian, and Latin American sectors. There are also opportunities for training regulators through in-country and US-based programs and exchanges.
Outreach and Information Exchange
The program includes the development of a Global Regulatory Network Website with an emphasis on information exchange opportunities. An e-newsletter updates regulators on sector issues and provide outreach to relevant parties such as USAID and other countries whose regulatory bodies are not yet formalized.
REGULATORY PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM
The Regulatory Partnership Program is designed as a vehicle for the exchange of experience and information between the U.S. and foreign regulatory bodies with the goal of improving regulatory practices and fostering long-term sustainable relationships between regulatory bodies in both countries. The purpose of these partnerships is to create a framework through which a specific U.S. Public Utility Commission works with individual energy, telecommunications, and/or water regulatory authority in developing its institutional capacity in market-based regulation.
The partnerships are designed to allow the transfer of experience and best practices between both the US and foreign regulators. The partnerships are a two-way learning process for participants.
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners serves as the administrator of these partnerships. The activities are supported through funding from an individual United States Agency for International Development Missions. The partnerships are at least two years in length, with 3 exchange visits per year, divided between the US and foreign commissions, as well as internship/job shadow placements.
A serious effort will be made to find partners that share as many similarities as possible. However, it is also important that both participating regulatory agencies illustrate a great deal of enthusiasm for the program. The partners will develop a work plan outlining the course of the partnership, addressing the needs of the specific foreign regulator and interests of the U.S. PUC. Possible topics include, but are not limited to: restructuring, competition, tariff methodology and rate design, third-party access, energy efficiency, cross-border trade, public hearings, public relations, and commission administration/management. The partnering agencies will decide what issues and topics are most important to the success of the partnership. Although it is advisable that one State Commission partner with one foreign regulatory agency, the partnership can include visits to other PUCs for additional perspectives and information. Other possible activities include site visits to US federal regulatory agencies, utilities, and state legislative bodies.
Under the broad umbrella of the partnership program, members of the regulatory agencies involved in the partnership are encouraged to participate, where appropriate, in training programs, meetings, and conferences related to regulatory practices and issues. The partnerships will deepen the linkages forged between foreign and U.S. regulators through other programs in the region and the United States. If the partnered regulatory bodies agree, there is also the possibility of arranging short-term internships at US Commissions. These activities will greatly enhance the sustainability of relationships.
The partnerships are designed to begin as broad introductions, becoming more and more complex and specific. In all, the partnership allows broad access to US regulatory practices and allows American regulators the chance to learn new techniques and methodologies as well as gain an understanding of the international regulatory environment.