Monthly Essays

In October 2007 I began writing a series of monthly essays on effective regulation. Each month a new essay is posted on my homepage and emailed to over 3,000 people across the country and the globe.  I often receive very insightful comments from essay readers, and those comments help to fuel additional ideas and discussion on effective regulation.

A collection of the first five years’ essays was published in 2013, in the book entitled Preside or Lead?  The Attributes and Actions of Effective Regulators.  Also, I am pleased to report that the book was translated into Spanish in 2014 and is available for purchase.

Attributes of Effective Regulators
Regulatory Reactivity Risks Mental Errors | April 2019 Read more
Merger Rejected: Common Sense from Washington | February 2019 Read more
Regulatory Candor: Do We Own Up? | July 2018 Read more
A Letter to Governors and Legislators | February 2018 Read more
A Nobel Prize for a Behavioral Economics Pioneer: Are There Lessons for Regulation? | November 2017 Read more
The Ethical Regulator | July 2017 Read more
The Respectful Regulator | June 2017 Read more
The Creative Regulator | May 2017 Read more
The Synthesizing Regulator | March 2017 Read more
The Disciplined Regulator | February 2017 Read more
Advice to Presidents and Governors on Appointing Excellent Regulators | December 2016 Read more
Certification of Regulatory Professionals: Why Not? (Part II) | May 2015 Read more
Certification of Regulatory Professionals: Why Not? (Part I) | April 2015 Read more
A Letter to Governors and Legislators | October 2010 Read more
The Effective Regulator: Independence | December 2007 Read more
The Effective Regulator: Decisiveness | November 2007 Read more
The Effective Regulator: Education | October 2007 Read more
The Effective Regulator: Purposefulness | September 2007 Read more
Actions of Effective Regulators
Commissions Are Not Courts; Regulators Are Not Judges | March 2019 Read more
The "Public Interest": Who Has a Definition? | September 2017 Read more
"Too Big to Fail": A Premise without Support | August 2017 Read more
Assessing Regulatory Performance: Measurements, Actions, Results | August 2015 Read more
The San Bruno Explosion: Were the Wrong People Penalized? | June 2015 Read more
"Too Big to Fail": A Premise without Support | October 2014 Read more
Regulatory Brainstorming: When and Where? | April 2012 Read more
Alfred Kahn (1917–2010) | December 2010 Read more
Regulatory Literacy: A Seasonal Self-Assessment | November 2010 Read more
"Smart Grid" Spending: A Commission’s Pitch-Perfect Response to a Utility’s Seven Errors | June 2010 Read more
Regulatory Multitasking: Does It Do Long-Term Damage? | August 2009 Read more
The Regulatory Mission: Do We “Balance” Private Interests, or Do We Align Them With the Public Interest? | November 2008 Read more
Commissions Are Not Courts; Regulators Are Not Judges | January 2008 Read more
Political Pressures
Effective Utility Regulation: A Unifying Cause for a Divided America | March 2018 Read more
"I'm an Energy Voter": What Does That Mean This Year? | September 2016 Read more
"Regulatory Capture" I — Is It Real? | September 2012 Read more
"Regulatory Capture" II — What Are the Warning Signs? | September 2012 Read more
“Regulatory Capture” III — Avoiding and Escaping | September 2012 Read more
Is Learning to Regulate Like Learning to Cook? | July 2009 Read more
"Politics": The Public and Private Versions | May 2008 Read more
"Politics": How Can Regulators Respond? | May 2008 Read more
Competition "vs." Regulation: Have We Achieved Conversational Clarity? (Part I) | May 2008 Read more
Competition "vs." Regulation: Have We Achieved Conversational Clarity? (Part II) | May 2008 Read more
Jurisdiction: Power Is a Means, Not an End
Maryland's Supreme Court Loss: A Win for Consumers, Competition and States | May 2016 Read more
FPA "Power Grab": On Whose Foot is the Shoe? | April 2016 Read more
Federal–State Jurisdiction IV: A Plea for Constitutional Literacy | July 2012 Read more
More on Legislative–Regulatory Relations: Layers, Protections, and Cost-Effectiveness | April 2011 Read more
It’s April—Do You Know Where Your Legislatures Are? | March 2011 Read more
Intra-Regional Relations: Can States’ Commonalities Overcome Their Differences? | June 2009 Read more
Federal–State Jurisdiction III: Jurisdictional Peace Requires Joint Purpose | May 2009 Read more
Federal–State Jurisdiction II: Jurisdictional Wrestling vs. Coordinated Regulation | February 2009 Read more
Federal–State Jurisdiction I: Pick Your Metaphor | January 2009 Read more
Legislatures and Commissions: How Well Do They Work Together? | February 2008 Read more
Mergers and Regulated Utilities
Inconsistent with the Public Interest: FERC’S Three Decades of Deference to Electricity Consolidation | December 2018 Read more
Merger Denied: Now What? | October 2016 Read more
Distributed Resources and Distribution Mergers: Are They on a Collision Course? | August 2014 Read more
"No Harm" vs. "Positive Benefits": The Wrong Conversation about Merger Standards | May 2014 Read more
Contests for Control: Who Should Make the Rules? | April 2014 Read more
Protecting Innovation during Consolidation: The Advantages of Alertness | February 2014 Read more
Two Trends in Tension: Does Consolidation Reduce Innovation? | January 2014 Read more
Merger Posture: Don't Defer, Lead | November 2013 Read more
The Dangers of Merger Deference II | October 2013 Read more
The Dangers of Merger Deference I | September 2013 Read more
Merger Proceedings II: Do Commissions Make Themselves Marginal? | August 2013 Read more
Merger Proceedings I: Do Commissions Make Themselves Marginal? | June 2013 Read more
Merger Strategy: Make Regulators Marginal | May 2013 Read more
"Darwin Economics": How Does It Affect Merger Decisions? | April 2013 Read more
Preparing for Mergers: A Commission’s Bottom Lines | March 2013 Read more
Utility Mergers: Who Has a Vision? | February 2013 Read more
Mergers: Are the Promoters Ahead of the Regulators? | March 2012 Read more
Regulatory Courage
Regulatory Principles: Old Thoughts for the New Year | January 2019 Read more
Economic Inequality: Does Utility Regulation Contribute? | October 2018 Read more
No Anticompetitive Conduct, No Unearned Advantage: Effective Competition Depends on Merit | August 2018 Read more
"Transmission Competition": No Longer an Oxymoron | August 2016 Read more
Regulatory Law: Why So Unclear on Matters So Important? | July 2016 Read more
Executive Pay: Should Regulation Play a Role? | September 2015 Read more
What "Regulatory Compact"? | March 2015 Read more
Incumbency vs. Diversity, Monopoly vs. Merits: Who Should Provide the New Distribution Platforms? | July 2014 Read more
New Suppliers in the New Century: Will Incumbency Trump Merits? | March 2014 Read more
“All of the Above” Is Not a National Energy Policy | August 2012 Read more
"Affordable" Utility Service: What is Regulation's Role? | June 2012 Read more
Supporter-as-Critic: An Expanded Role for Regulatory Professionals | May 2012 Read more
Promoting Diversity and Prohibiting Discrimination: Is There a Regulatory Obligation to Society? | January 2012 Read more
Separating Policy Mandates From Cost Consequences: Will the Public Lose Trust? | November 2011 Read more
“Protect the Consumer” – From What? | September 2010 Read more
Low Rates, High Rates, Wrong Rates, Right Rates | December 2008 Read more
Practice and Procedure
Teaching Public Utility Performance | September 2018 Read more
The Committee of Inconsistent Capitalists: Is Your Utility a Member? | May 2018 Read more
Tweeting and Polling: Insults to Effective Regulation | January 2018 Read more
Decisional Defaults: Does Regulation Have Them Backwards? | October 2017 Read more
The Supreme Court Saves Demand Response: Now What? | February 2016 Read more
"Reforming the Energy Vision": Did New York Get Everything Right? | July 2015 Read more
Agency Adjudication: Efforts at Excellence | January 2015 Read more
Demand Response: Four Options for Action, Four Mistakes to Avoid | November 2014 Read more
D.C. Circuit Kills Demand Response Compensation: Now What? | June 2014 Read more
Utility Rate Proposals: Are We Aligning Compensation With Performance? | July 2013 Read more
Competition for the Monopoly — Why So Rare? | January 2013 Read more
Rate Case Timing: Alertness or Auto-Pilot? | February 2011 Read more
“Prudence”: Who’s Minding the Store? | January 2011 Read more
Utility Performance: Will We Know It When We See It? | July 2010 Read more
“Framing”: Does It Divert Regulatory Attention? | May 2010 Read more
Interconnection Animus: Do Regulatory Procedures Create a “Tragedy of the Commons”? | September 2009 Read more
Interconnection Animus: The Readers React | September 2009 Read more
Decisional Defaults: Does Regulation Have Them Backwards? | March 2009 Read more
"Regulatory Settlements": When Do Private Agreements Serve the Public Interest? | July 2008 Read more
Regulatory Organizations
Internal Commission Organization: Who Should Do What? | June 2016 Read more
Regulatory Expense: Is Asymmetry Inevitable? | February 2015 Read more
As the Resource Gap Grows, What Are a Commission’s Duties? | February 2012 Read more
Commission Positioning: Five Actions for Influence | July 2011 Read more
Commission Positioning: Using "Vision" to Avoid "Too Big to Fail" | June 2011 Read more
Commission Budgets: How Do We Know—and Explain—that We're "Worth It"? | May 2011 Read more
Commission “Branding”: Can It Help Produce Utility Performance? | August 2010 Read more
Pharmacies and Regulatory Conferences: Do They Have Anything in Common? Can Socrates Help? | November 2009 Read more
Commission Effectiveness: Is It Measurable? | April 2009 Read more
Regulatory Resources I: Why Do Differentials Exist? | September 2008 Read more
Regulatory Resources II: Do the Differentials Make a Difference? | September 2008 Read more
Aspiration and Thanksgiving
A Regulatory Thanksgiving | November 2018 Read more
A Regulatory Thanksgiving | December 2017 Read more
A Regulatory Thanksgiving | November 2016 Read more
Justice Scalia's Electric Industry: Four Thought-Provocations | March 2016 Read more
A Wish for the New Year: Agreement on the Principles of Regulation | January 2016 Read more
Is Regulatory Conflict Inevitable? A Seasonal Plea for Peace | December 2015 Read more
A Regulatory Thanksgiving | November 2015 Read more
A Regulatory Thanksgiving | December 2014 Read more
Essential to Effectiveness: Community Acceptance of Regulation's Mission | August 2008 Read more