FRI Spotlight

Shelby Linton-Keddie Joins FRI Advisory Board

June 22, 2022 FRI is pleased to announce that Ms. Shelby Linton-Keddie, Managing Director of State Regulatory Affairs for the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), has joined FRI's Advisory Board. Linton-Keddie oversees EEI’s national engagement and strategy on state regulatory issues before public utility commissions and state legislatures.  Prior to joining EEI, she came from the…

Dr. Ohler Awarded MU Research Council Grant

June 10, 2022 Dr. Adrienne Ohler, Associate Research Professor with FRI,  was recently awarded a grant by the University of Missouri Research Council to support a new research project titled The Economics of Environmental Health Disparities: Who Benefits from Coal Power Plant Closures? Disparate exposure to energy-related air pollution has been shown to increase health…

John E. “Butch” Howard Selected for 2022 Crystal Award

April 28, 2022 FRI has selected John E. "Butch" Howard as recipient of the 2022 Crystal Award for Distinguished Service. John E. “Butch” Howard was a member of the South Carolina Public Service Commission (SC PSC) for sixteen years, as well as an active participant in the National Association of Regulated Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and…

Karen Stachowski Joins FRI Advisory Board

April 12, 2022 FRI is pleased to welcome our newest Advisory Board member, Karen H. Stachowski, Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Protection & Advocate Unit of the Financial Division in the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General. In this role, she focuses on proceedings before the Tennessee Public Utility Commission (TPUC), which is…

FRI Joins Engaging 4 MO Series

FRI's Executive Director, Dr. Michael Sykuta, joined the Engaging 4 MO webinar series to tackle the question, "Who Sets My Utility Bill?"  The topic was sparked by a social media post complaining about the rates energy companies are allowed to charge "with no concern for the public." The 30-minute video debunks this notion and dives…

Rich Svindland Joins FRI Advisory Board

February 16, 2022 FRI is pleased to welcome Mr. Rich Svindland, President of Missouri American Water, to the FRI Advisory Board. Mr. Svindland was named president of Missouri American Water in 2021. He is a professional engineer with more than 30 years of experience in the water and wastewater industry. He leads a team that…

Research Update: Household Appliance Stock, Income, and Electricity Demand Elasticity

January 31, 2022 Dr. Adrienne Ohler, Associate Research Professor with FRI, published a study titled "The Household Appliance Stock, Income, and Electricity Demand Elasticity" examining how electricity demand elasticity is impacted by household income and the appliance stock. The paper, published in the January 2022 issue of The Energy Journal,  is co-authored with Dr. David…

NRDC Sponsors 2022 FRI Crystal Award

January 20, 2022 The FRI is excited to announce the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) as the sponsor for 2022 FRI Crystal Award for Distinguished Contribution. First awarded in 2013, the Crystal Award is presented each year to recognize an individual who has made recent and significant contributions to the design, implementation or analysis of…

POV: Advancing Environmental Justice at the California Public Utilities Commission

December 14, 2021 Written by Clifford Rechtschaffen, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission In California, as in many other states, policymakers have known for a number of years that environmental harms are disproportionately concentrated in low-income communities and communities of color.  This includes air pollution, unsafe drinking water, exposure to pesticides, proximity to power plants and…

FRI Welcomes New Advisory Board Members

September 10, 2021 We are happy to announce our newest Advisory Board members: Christina Baker, Chairman Kent Chandler, Kristy Hartman, Commissioner Gabriella Passidomo, Kari Gehrke and Matt Rice. Longer bios for these distinguished individuals (and all of our Advisory Board members) are available on the FRI Members page. Christina Lynn Baker, P.E., J.D., is a…

POV: New Jersey and PJM Initiate State Agreement Approach

September 10, 2021 Written by Joseph Fiordaliso, President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Direct questions to Ryann Reagan and Joseph DeLosa on the NJBPU staff. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) took a monumental step on November 18, 2020, becoming the first state to integrate its offshore wind transmission objectives…

2021 Public Utility Symposium Moved to Virtual

August 26, 2021 We have made the difficult decision to hold the 2021 FRI Symposium entirely virtual this year. The thought of leaving the virtual meeting world was exciting, but the reality is that travel is still not as safe and reliable as we want it to be, and the responsible decision is to acknowledge…

POV: Achieving Water Equity: Assessing Water Access Beyond Affordability

August 11, 2021 Written by Robert F. Powelson, President & CEO of National Association of Water Companies With infrastructure taking the spotlight in Washington since January and COVID-19’s ongoing impact, there’s certainly been a renewed focus on the essential role water service plays in protecting public health -- and rightfully so. At the same time,…

FRI Welcomes Dr. Adrienne Ohler

June 17, 2021 FRI is excited to announce the addition of Dr. Adrienne Ohler to the FRI team, effective July 1, 2021. Dr. Ohler is an Associate Research Professor at the University of Missouri with appointments in the Division of Applied Social Sciences and the School of Medicine. She has published several papers related to…

POV: Billions of Reasons to Invest in Broadband Infrastructure

June 16, 2021 Written by Elin Swanson Katz, VP of Utilities at Tilson They say timing is everything, and if a utility broadband project is anywhere on the horizon, now is the time to act.  While the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be winding down, one of the many challenges it has exposed is the number…

POV: A State Regulator Perspective on the Future of Nuclear Energy

May 17, 2021 Written by Former Commissioner Sadzi Martha Oliva, Legal and Policy Advisors Alejandro Mateos and Kealie Vogel, and Policy Intern Haley Bracken of the Illinois Commerce Commission Disclaimer: All views expressed within this article are the authors’ own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Illinois Commerce Commission or the Illinois…

David K. Owens Selected for 2021 Crystal Award

April 27, 2021 FRI has selected David K. Owens as recipient of the 2021 Crystal Award for Distinguished Service. Owens is President and Energy Consultant at Da'VAS, LLC. He retired in 2017 as Executive Vice President of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). He is…

POV: Focus on Water Cybersecurity Now, Before It’s Too Late

April 14, 2021 Written by Robert F. Powelson, President & CEO of National Association of Water Companies Oldsmar, Florida, made headlines earlier this year.  A hacker gained access to the county utility’s water treatment control systems and dramatically raised…

Illinois Commissioner Maria S. Bocanegra Joins FRI Advisory Board

April 1, 2021 -- We are pleased to welcome Commissioner Maria S. Bocanegra from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to the FRI Advisory Board. Commissioner Bocanegra replaces Commissioner Emeritus Sadzi Oliva as the ICC's representative on the FRI Board. Commissioner Bocanegra was appointed to the Illinois Commerce Commission on April 8, 2019 to a four-year…

POV: Emergency Management–Our Future

March 24, 2021 Written by Sarah Ruen Blanchard, FRI Advisory Board member The utility industry has long prioritized safety and reliability, but the frequency and duration of emergency events that we must manage through today are unlike those of the past. We can reasonably expect there will be hurricanes in Florida and blizzards in the…

Nebraska Commission Chair Dan Watermeier Joins FRI Advisory Board

March 12, 2021 -- We are pleased to welcome Dan Watermeier, Chair of the Nebraska Public Service Commission, to the FRI Advisory Board. Mr. Watermeier was elected for a six-year term on the Commission in November 2018 representing Nebraska's District 1, comprised of eight counties in Southeastern Nebraska. Prior to joining the Commission, he served…

POV: A New Point of View

March 3, 2021 Written by: Dr. Michael Sykuta, Executive Director, FRI Many of us spent much of last year wondering,"What will life be like after 2020?" While we still have a ways to go before we'll see just how much life is changed, I can say that, for me personally, taking on the role of…

Same FRI, New Home and New Opportunities

February 2, 2021 -- During January 2021, the Financial Research Institute (FRI) moved to a new home on the University of Missouri campus along with new academic leadership as part of the Division of Applied Social Sciences (DASS). Since its founding in 1988, the FRI had been housed within the (now) Robert J. Trulaske, Sr.…

Commissioner Sadzi Oliva on Cybersecurity

February 12, 2021 -- FRI Board Member and Illinois Commerce Commissioner Sadzi Oliva was recently featured in Public Utilities Fortnightly writing about Cybersecurity. Her piece is particularly timely in light of a recent cyber hack of a water treatment facility in Florida You can read Commissioner Oliva's thoughts on the PUF website.

FRI Selects Kenneth Colburn as 2020 Crystal Award Recipient

The FRI Crystal Award was created to recognize an individual who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to the design, implementation or analysis of public utility regulatory policy. The award is presented annually during the FRI Symposium.