From October 2007 to June 2021, I wrote a series of monthly essays on effective regulation. Each month a new essay was posted on my website and emailed to over 3,000 people across the country and the globe. I often received 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. Both versions are available to download for free here.

Actions of Effective Regulators

The "Public Interest": Who Has a Definition? | September 2017
Assessing Regulatory Performance: Measurements, Actions, Results | August 2015 Read
The San Bruno Explosion: Were the Wrong People Penalized? | June 2015 Read
"Too Big to Fail": A Premise without Support | October 2014 Read
Regulatory Brainstorming: When and Where? | April 2012 Read
Alfred Kahn (1917–2010) | December 2010 Read
Regulatory Literacy: A Seasonal Self-Assessment | November 2010 Read
"Smart Grid" Spending: A Commission’s Pitch-Perfect Response to a Utility’s Seven Errors | June 2010 Read
Regulatory Multitasking: Does It Do Long-Term Damage? | August 2009 Read
The Regulatory Mission: Do We “Balance” Private Interests, or Do We Align Them With the
Public Interest? | November 2008
Commissions Are Not Courts; Regulators Are Not Judges | January 2008 Read

Aspiration and Thanksgiving

A Regulatory Thanksgiving | December 2020
A Wish for the New Year: Agreement on the Principles of Regulation | January 2020 Read
Justice Scalia's Electric Industry: Four Thought-Provocations | March 2016 Read
Is Regulatory Conflict Inevitable? A Seasonal Plea for Peace | December 2015 Read
Essential to Effectiveness: Community Acceptance of Regulation's Mission | August 2008 Read

Attributes of Effective Regulators

Certification of Regulatory Professionals: Reader Comments | September 2019
Regulatory Reactivity Risks Mental Errors | April 2019 Read
Merger Rejected: Common Sense from Washington | February 2019 Read
Regulatory Candor: Do We Own Up? | July 2018 Read
A Nobel Prize for a Behavioral Economics Pioneer: Are There Lessons for Regulation? | November 2017 Read
The Ethical Regulator | July 2017 Read
The Respectful Regulator | June 2017 Read
The Creative Regulator | May 2017 Read
The Synthesizing Regulator | March 2017 Read
The Disciplined Regulator | February 2017 Read
Advice to Presidents and Governors on Appointing Excellent Regulators | December 2016 Read
Certification of Regulatory Professionals: Why Not? (Part II) | May 2015 Read
Certification of Regulatory Professionals: Why Not? (Part I) | April 2015 Read
A Letter to Governors and Legislators | October 2010 Read
The Effective Regulator: Independence | December 2007 Read
The Effective Regulator: Decisiveness | November 2007 Read
The Effective Regulator: Education | October 2007 Read
The Effective Regulator: Purposefulness | September 2007 Read

Jurisdiction: Power Is a Means, Not an End

Maryland's Supreme Court Loss: A Win for Consumers, Competition and States | May 2016
FPA "Power Grab": On Whose Foot is the Shoe? | April 2016 Read
Federal–State Jurisdiction IV: A Plea for Constitutional Literacy | July 2012 Read
More on Legislative–Regulatory Relations: Layers, Protections, and Cost-Effectiveness | April 2011 Read
It’s April—Do You Know Where Your Legislatures Are? | March 2011 Read
Intra-Regional Relations: Can States’ Commonalities Overcome Their Differences? | June 2009 Read
Federal–State Jurisdiction III: Jurisdictional Peace Requires Joint Purpose | May 2009 Read
Federal–State Jurisdiction II: Jurisdictional Wrestling vs. Coordinated Regulation | February 2009 Read
Federal–State Jurisdiction I: Pick Your Metaphor | January 2009 Read
Legislatures and Commissions: How Well Do They Work Together? | February 2008 Read

Mergers of Regulated Utilities

Source of Merger Harm: Hierarchical Conflict | March 2021
Can Mergers Distort Competition? Anticompetitive Conduct and Unearned Advantage | October 2020 Read
Merging Parties Divert Franchise Value from the Customers Who Created It Read
Suboptimal Couplings Cause Economic Waste | June 2020 Read
Thirty Years of Electricity Mergers: Concentration and Complication No One Intended | May 2020 Read
Missing from Utility Merger Markets: Competitive Discipline and Customer Benefits | April 2020 Read
Diverse Strategies, Common Purpose: Selling Public Franchises for Private Gain | March 2020 Read
Electric Utility Mergers: Industry Concentration and Corporate Complication | February 2020 Read
Water Mergers: Are They Making Economic Sense? | June 2019 Read
Inconsistent with the Public Interest: FERC’S Three Decades of Deference to Electricity
Consolidation | December 2018
Merger Denied: Now What? | October 2016 Read
Distributed Resources and Distribution Mergers: Are They on a Collision Course? | July 2014 Read
"No Harm" vs. "Positive Benefits": The Wrong Conversation about Merger Standards | May 2014 Read
Contests for Control: Who Should Make the Rules? | April 2014 Read
Protecting Innovation during Consolidation: The Advantages of Alertness | February 2014 Read
Two Trends in Tension: Does Consolidation Reduce Innovation? | January 2014 Read
Merger Posture: Don't Defer, Lead | November 2013 Read
The Dangers of Merger Deference II | October 2013 Read
The Dangers of Merger Deference I | September 2013 Read
Merger Proceedings II: Do Commissions Make Themselves Marginal? | August 2013 Read
Merger Proceedings I: Do Commissions Make Themselves Marginal? | June 2013 Read
Merger Strategy: Make Regulators Marginal | May 2013 Read
"Darwin Economics": How Does It Affect Merger Decisions? | April 2013 Read
Preparing for Mergers: A Commission’s Bottom Lines | March 2013 Read
Utility Mergers: Who Has a Vision? | February 2013 Read
Mergers: Are the Promoters Ahead of the Regulators? | March 2012 Read

Political Pressures

Effective Utility Regulation: A Unifying Cause for a Divided America | November 2020
"I'm an Energy Voter": What Does That Mean This Year? | August 2016 Read
"Regulatory Capture" I — Is It Real? | September 2012 Read
"Regulatory Capture" II — What Are the Warning Signs? | September 2012 Read
“Regulatory Capture” III — Avoiding and Escaping | September 2012 Read
Is Learning to Regulate Like Learning to Cook? | July 2009 Read
"Politics": The Public and Private Versions | May 2008 Read
"Politics": How Can Regulators Respond? | May 2008 Read
Competition "vs." Regulation: Have We Achieved Conversational Clarity? (Part I) | May 2008 Read
Competition "vs." Regulation: Have We Achieved Conversational Clarity? (Part II) | May 2008 Read

Practice and Procedure

Utility Workers: Is Their Mistreatment a Commission Responsibility? | November 2019
Teaching Public Utility Performance | September 2018 Read
The Committee of Inconsistent Capitalists: Is Your Utility a Member? | May 2018 Read
Tweeting and Polling: Insults to Effective Regulation | January 2018 Read
The Supreme Court Saves Demand Response: Now What? | February 2016 Read
"Reforming the Energy Vision": Did New York Get Everything Right? | July 2015 Read
Agency Adjudication: Efforts at Excellence | January 2015 Read
Demand Response: Four Options for Action, Four Mistakes to Avoid | November 2014 Read
D.C. Circuit Kills Demand Response Compensation: Now What? | June 2014 Read
Utility Rate Proposals: Are We Aligning Compensation With Performance? | July 2013 Read
Competition for the Monopoly — Why So Rare? | January 2013 Read
Rate Case Timing: Alertness or Auto-Pilot? | February 2011 Read
“Prudence”: Who’s Minding the Store? | January 2011 Read
Utility Performance: Will We Know It When We See It? | July 2010 Read
“Framing”: Does It Divert Regulatory Attention? | May 2010 Read
Interconnection Animus: Do Regulatory Procedures Create a “Tragedy of the Commons”? | September 2009 Read
Interconnection Animus: The Readers React | September 2009 Read
"Regulatory Settlements": When Do Private Agreements Serve the Public Interest? | July 2008 Read
Decisional Defaults: Does Regulation Have Them Backwards? | March 2009 Read

Regulatory Courage

Diversity in Utility Regulation | August 2020
Promoting Diversity and Prohibiting Discrimination: Is There a Regulatory Obligation to Society? | July 2020 Read
Regulatory Principles: Old Thoughts for the New Year | January 2019 Read
Economic Inequality: Does Utility Regulation Contribute? | October 2018 Read
No Anticompetitive Conduct, No Unearned Advantage: Effective Competition Depends on Merit | August 2018 Read
"Transmission Competition": No Longer an Oxymoron | August 2016 Read
Regulatory Law: Why So Unclear on Matters So Important? | July 2016 Read
Executive Pay: Should Regulation Play a Role? | September 2015 Read
What "Regulatory Compact"? | March 2015 Read
Incumbency vs. Diversity, Monopoly vs. Merits: Who Should Provide the New Distribution Platforms? | June 2014 Read
New Suppliers in the New Century: Will Incumbency Trump Merits? | March 2014 Read
“All of the Above” Is Not a National Energy Policy | August 2012 Read
"Affordable" Utility Service: What is Regulation's Role? | June 2012 Read
Supporter-as-Critic: An Expanded Role for Regulatory Professionals | May 2012 Read
Promoting Diversity and Prohibiting Discrimination: Is There a Regulatory Obligation to Society? | January 2012 Read
Separating Policy Mandates From Cost Consequences: Will the Public Lose Trust? | November 2011 Read
“Protect the Consumer” – From What? | September 2010 Read
Low Rates, High Rates, Wrong Rates, Right Rates | December 2008 Read

Regulatory Organizations

Internal Commission Organization: Who Should Do What? | June 2016
Regulatory Expense: Is Asymmetry Inevitable? | February 2015 Read
As the Resource Gap Grows, What Are a Commission’s Duties? | February 2012 Read
Commission Positioning: Five Actions for Influence | July 2011 Read
Commission Positioning: Using "Vision" to Avoid "Too Big to Fail" | June 2011 Read
Commission Budgets: How Do We Know—and Explain—that We're "Worth It"? | May 2011 Read
Commission “Branding”: Can It Help Produce Utility Performance? | August 2010 Read
Pharmacies and Regulatory Conferences: Do They Have Anything in Common? Can Socrates Help? | November 2009 Read
Commission Effectiveness: Is It Measurable? | April 2009 Read
Regulatory Resources II: Do the Differentials Make a Difference? | September 2008 Read
Regulatory Resources I: Why Do Differentials Exist? | September 2008 Read