Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: GOV. MSG. NO. 652




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2018

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred Governor's Message No. 652, submitting for study and consideration the nomination of:


Public Utilities Commission


G.M. No. 652


for a term to expire 06-30-2024,


begs leave to report as follows:


Your Committee reviewed the personal history, resume, and statement submitted by Jennifer Potter for service on the Public Utilities Commission.


Your Committee received testimony in support of the nomination for the appointment of Jennifer Potter from the Office of the Governor; Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; Department of Transportation; Office of Enterprise Technology Services; Public Utilities Commission; Division of Consumer Advocacy of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs; Distributed Energy Resources Council of Hawaii; Tesla; Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Elemental Excelerator; Hawaii Solar Energy Association; Gridworks; Hawaii Energy; Haiku Design and Analysis; Sierra Club of Hawaii; Turner Engineering Corporation; Alliance for Solar Choice; ProVision Solar, Inc.; and twenty-seven individuals.


Upon review of the testimony, your Committee finds that Ms. Potter's background, experience, and commitment to public service qualify her to be nominated for appointment to the Public Utilities Commission. Your Committee notes that Ms. Potter graduated from Southern Oregon University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Economics and holds a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, an educational background that will be extremely valuable to the Public Utilities Commission as the State moves toward its renewable energy goal. Your Committee further finds that Ms. Potter has extensive experience in the energy sector and is currently an Assistant Specialist with the University of Hawaii at Mānoa's Hawaii National Energy Institute, where she researches scenarios for Hawaii's future renewable energy mix.


Prior to joining the Hawaii National Energy Institute, Ms. Potter was a Senior Scientific Engineering Associate in the Energy Markets and Policy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. In that capacity, Ms. Potter served as the lead researcher on the 2025 California Demand Response Potential Study for the California Public Utilities Commission, a three-year project that investigated the technical, market, and economic potential for demand response to provide service to the bulk power system. Ms. Potter also worked at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in various positions, including as Project Manager for SMUD's SmartPricing Options pilot, one of the nation's most renowned experimentally-designed demand response and time-of-use pricing pilot programs that has heavily influenced regulators throughout California, and as an Electric Analyst for the City of Roseville, California.


Your Committee additionally finds that Ms. Potter recognizes and supports the State's energy policies and goals. Ms. Potter also acknowledges the broad oversight role of the Public Utilities Commission and the regulatory responsibilities that the Commission must fulfill in support of these policies and goals. Ms. Potter indicated in her personal statement that she acknowledges that the Public Utilities Commission regulates over 1,700 public utilities and service providers that deliver electricity, water and sewage, gas, and telecommunications, as well as motor carrier and maritime transportation services. Ms. Potter, as a dedicated public servant, understands the importance of the State's regulated utilities and the far-reaching impacts Commission decisions have on these entities, residents, and visitors and is committed to working diligently to serve and protect consumers in Hawaii.


Finally, your Committee notes that Ms. Potter's utility background and research experience have uniquely prepared her for the role of Commissioner, as the current energy dockets in front of the Public Utilities Commission fall within Ms. Potter's areas of expertise, including transmission and distribution grid operations, conventional and renewable sources, distributed energy resources, integration of demand side resources, time-based pricing, and demand response.


Your Committee therefore finds that Ms. Potter's extensive skills, knowledge, and accomplishments in the emerging utility business will be an invaluable complement to the expertise of the other Commissioners and recommends that Ms. Potter be appointed to the Public Utilities Commission based on her experience, background, and dedication to serving in the public's best interest.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee, after full consideration of the background, experience, and qualifications of the nominee, has found the nominee to be qualified for the position to which nominated and recommends that the Senate advise and consent to the nomination.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,