It’s my pleasure to be here today to represent the Kentucky Public Service Commission and to describe for you Kentucky’s evolving approach to the issue of electric distribution system reliability.

Before I became a utility regulator, I was a country lawyer in eastern Kentucky – the fourth generation in a family law firm. Back then, when the lights went out at my home in Harlan, I usually tolerated the inconvenience and accepted it as part of the price of living in a particularly captivating, if somewhat remote part, of a beautiful and largely rural state. The occasional tree falling across a power line was nothing to get upset over. Unless, of course, the tree happened to fall during a University of Kentucky basketball game. In those instances, having no electricity became a crisis of unimaginable proportions - one which I and my neighbors were unable to tolerate for more than a nanosecond.

So it always seemed to me that any person’s response to a power outage is largely a matter of perspective – determined not only by the circumstances of the outage itself, but by the individual customer’s circumstances as well. In my case, if the power went out during a basketball game, and my dad had power, well, then it became time for some unscheduled father-son bonding.

Of course, taking the helm of a state utility regulatory commission has a way of altering your perspective on many things. Power outages and electric reliability are near the top of the list. In the last two and a half years, I have found that few things get the public’s attention as completely as a lengthy power outage or a persistent reliability problem. As a regulator, I have an obligation to be responsive to those public concerns....