PURA’s Gillett: Grid Needs ‘Continued Investment’

Issues & Policies

From rising prices to grid modernization and reliability, energy regulation has significant implications for Connecticut’s residents and business community. 

Public Utilities Regulatory Authority chair Marissa Gillett shared some of her views on regulatory issues during CBIA’s 2024 Energy & Environment Conference June 6 in Rocky Hill. 

PURA is a quasi-judicial agency charged with ensuring the state’s utilities provide safe, clean, reliable, and affordable utility service and infrastructure.

“I think we’re all familiar with the challenges of energy costs in this state,” Gillett told Day Pitney’s Alex Judd. “That’s not new.”

“It’s also going to continue to be a challenge as we move forward, given that we need investment in this state. 

“We need to continue to invest in our grid to maintain the level of reliability and resilience that we have come to expect.”

Rate Cases

Gillett said that the agency’s rate case proceedings are a long process, lasting up to 270 days for water utilities and up to 350 days for electric and gas utilities.

At any one time, PURA has 80-to-100 open dockets.

“We take evidence on all aspects of a company’s economic health, financial health,” she said.

“We look at credit ratings metrics under their current rates, what they could be moving forward, and there’s a lot of analysis that goes into setting the allowed return on equities and the capital structure. 

“It’s really critical that we have a diversity of opinions put before us.”

PURA’s Marissa Gillett

“All of that is articulated in our rate case decisions. “

Gillett said the three member panel looks for public comments and evidence to provide information and context before they make a ruling. 

“It’s really critical that we have a diversity of opinions put before us,” she said.

“And the more diverse evidence and perspectives that come before PURA, I think the more robust our decision making process and how we actually end up making the decisions.”

Providing Value

Gillett said PURA focuses on helping residential and business customers understand their costs and get the most value out of their energy services. 

“When we are designing programs that seem like they’re going to benefit a subset of customers, we’re looking at the larger picture to make sure that it is providing benefits to all,” she said.

When it comes to bringing renewable energy online in Connecticut, Gillett noted that interconnection is necessary. 

“One of the really great things about being in the Northeast is that we can look around to our neighbors and build on progress that they have done,” she said. 

“We’re looking at ways where we can look at models where you pay as you go, or everyone pays a little bit as they apply, so that the cost of these expensive upgrades don’t land on the unfortunate person who’s stuck right there and the last person in.”

Planning, Forecasting

Gillett said PURA’s role in getting the grid ready to deliver green electricity is to provide utilities oversight and guidance.

Gillett said it wouldn’t be prudent to build out a grid that’s ready for 100% of the state’s electrification goals, because 100% of the transportation fleet isn’t electrified. 

“I’ve often gotten the question, ‘Is the grid ready today for our electrification goals?’” Gillett said. “And the answer is no, but it’s okay that it’s not.”

“Planning and forecasting are increasingly where our focus should be.”


“Because when you come to the electric world and cost recovery around the grid, you’re almost going for a more just-in-time moment.”

She said PURA’s job is to make sure the grid becomes ready as needed on a planned timeline and trajectory. 

“Planning and forecasting are becoming increasingly the buzzwords in the energy world, because they’re increasingly where our focus should be,” she said.

Legislative Session

During the 2024 General Assembly session, legislators approved requirements around large-scale procurements. 

As an example, Gillett said PURA won’t be able to approve a subsequent power purchase agreement for a nuclear plant unless at least one other state is working towards that. 

The legislature also passed directions to study potential changes to the Non-Residential Renewable Energy Solutions Program.

The NRES program helps businesses offset the cost of electricity generated through renewable technologies.

Gillett noted that the legislature has been “very active in the energy space” in recent years.

Gillett noted that the legislature has been “very active in the energy space” in recent years. 

She said PURA’s caseload is focused on implementing legislation that’s already been passed. 

She added that PURA focuses on making “sure our timelines are transparent, the docket numbers are transparent, because we’re really interested in receiving comments, particularly from those who were invested in the legislation.”

Supply Side Pressure

Gillett noted when it comes to prices, some of the contributing factors are driven by forces beyond the control of state agencies. 

She cited the war in Ukraine, which is placing upward pressure on liquid natural gas prices.

Gillett said the Ukraine war put “humongous pressure” on energy prices.

LNG is responsible for a large portion of energy generation in New England. 

“That’s put some humongous pressure on the supply side of our bill over the past couple of years,” she said. 

Gillett pointed out that PURA has a number of resources available to help businesses understand and offset their costs. 

Offsetting Costs

Those resources include programs like NRES and the Energy Storage Solutions Program.

That program provides incentives for customers to install energy storage at their homes or businesses.

Increasing storage to promote electric grid reliability and affordability was a key part of CBIA’s 2023 Transform Connecticut policy solutions.

“These are providing opportunities to you, as the end user, to reduce your usage from the grid.”


The Electric Vehicle Charging Program offers incentives for businesses that want to electrify their fleet. 

And the Innovative Energy Solutions Program offers a yearly pitch fest in partnership with Connecticut innovations and Connecticut Green Bank for developers working to solve problems on the grid. 

“These are providing opportunities to you, as the end user, to reduce your usage from the grid,” she said, “which puts downward pressure on the delivery side of your bill and it also is providing benefits to the grid as a whole.”

Education and Outreach

Gillett said when she started at PURA, she created the Office of Education, Outreach, and Enforcement

That division can help people navigate PURA’s website, or explain what something means. 

“We’ve really put a huge emphasis on opening up our proceedings and breaking down barriers.”


She also created a PURA 101 presentation to help people understand and engage with the agency.

“So we’ve really put a huge emphasis on opening up our proceedings and breaking down barriers,” she said.


1 thought on “PURA’s Gillett: Grid Needs ‘Continued Investment’”

  1. Miguel says:

    Great article!
    Few statements that might require some more considerations can be; If supplies levels were high 3 years ago enough to be exporting and reserves / depots filled up, even during Hurricanes, Floodings, “Wild Fires”, Eartquakes, why all of the sudden prices went off the
    roofs in a blink? It had to be something major than all of those elements mentioned above including the ‘pandemia’. If we get back all our spigots open and fill up depots / reserves back as used to be 3 years ago then prices should coming down like meteorite fast..Without any doubt!
    Its always good to share point of views, opinions and data in order to get more insight of what’s going on whichever topic, absolutetly! Thanks for the opportunity to exchange thoughts through this app.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Connected with CBIA News Digests

The latest news and information delivered directly to your inbox.