Q&A with Thad Levar, Commissioner, Utah Public Service Commission

What is your reaction to how the EPA’s carbon emissions rule might affect your state? What are some ways your state is already prepared and what might be more challenging?

Well you’re not seeing a knee jerk reaction from Utah.

Do you foresee your state having a formal or informal stakeholder process?

Several state agencies have instituted a working group and are seeking input from all the stakeholders, so you will see a thoughtful, reasoned and deliberate response from Utah. And it’s still in progress…Primarily the state Department of Environmental Quality and the governor’s energy office are talking to both the utilities and the merchant power generators in the state and other stakeholders to develop their response.

Because of our role at the commission with cost recovery, which will come at a later stage, we’re not directly involved in that.

Do you feel your role and responsibilities as a state regulator are evolving? Why or why not?

I think the ultimate responsibility of our commission is not evolving. Our responsibility is to provide safe reliable service. That responsibility stays constant. We have to recognize that we are a changing world and environmental regulations change, technologies change…so the inputs to the responsibility change…but I don’t believe the core responsibility is changing at this point.

What are some of the biggest energy issues facing your state?

Just recognizing the changing world we are in. We have to recognize what’s changing while maintaining those core responsibilities.

This interview was conducted at the NARUC summer meetings in July 2014. To see Q&As with commissioners from other states, visit our interactive map. For a broader story about how state regulators from around the country are reacting to the EPA’s carbon emissions proposal, click here.

If you’re a commissioner and didn’t get to talk to Morning Consult at the conference, feel free to contact Emily Holden. We’d love to hear from other state officials and stakeholders too.

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