Sunrun appoints ex-Maryland regulator Hoskins as Chief Policy Officer
- Solar installer Sunrun announced Wednesday it has hired Anne Hoskins, a former Maryland Public Service Commissioner, as the company's Chief Policy Officer.
- Hoskins's hiring comes after the company parted ways with Bryan Miller, its former senior vice president for public policy, in the wake of contentious rooftop solar debates in Nevada.
- During Hoskins' regulatory tenure from 2013 to 2016, Maryland established its first community solar program to open access to renewable energy for all ratepayers, gather data to see solar's impact to the grid and attract new clean energy investment in the state.
Before leaving Sunrun and his post as the president of advocacy group The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), Miller was known for his controversial style of solar advocacy. In Nevada, critics said his tactics may have alienated regulators after a decision late last year to cut net metering rates and impose higher fees for solar customers.
The appointment of Hoskins, a former state utility regulator with solar experience, could signal the company is angling for a less combative and more collaborative approach. That was the message from SolarCity, the largest residential solar installer in the U.S., when it hired ex-FERC Chairman Jon Wellingoff to head its policy efforts in April.
Outside of Nevada, Sunrun has been involved in a number of heated policy debates, often participating through its membership in TASC. But since the Nevada decision, the company appears to have altered its strategy with Miller's departure and a deal with Exelon subsidiary Constellation to offer a solar option to retail customers in Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.
Appointing Hoskins could be another signal that Sunrun is prepared to work with utilities for collaborative solutions, rather than fight through contested regulatory hearings.
Hoskins told Utility Dive in an interview earlier this year that as a regulator, she "want[ed] to see utilities continue and reach out and participate in these [distributed generation] activities, but it has to be done in a way to recognize that other players can participate.”
“I see the utility as an enabler,” she said. “Only as a last resort should they be allowed to provide these [distributed energy resources] services to customers and if so, they should be allowed to rate base it.”
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