The regulatory calendar is linear, one docket after another: rate cases, integrated resource plans, mergers, financings, interconnections, unbundling, market entry. The pace, the intensity, the enormity of the stakes—combined they can make a regulator feel like a cross between emergency room physician and supermarket checkout clerk. Too easily lost is the purpose of it all. That purpose is the performance of the industries we regulate. Performance is a composite of services, quality levels and cost levels, continuously improving, and reflecting the values of innovation, safety, reliability and resilience.
To make performance central, we need measurements. Those measurements assess the effects of actions—actions by the regulatory agency and other government agencies, actions by the regulated companies and actions by consumers. Only by measuring the effects of actions, can regulators be accountable for results.