WASHINGTON (Sept. 5, 2019) – The R Street Institute announced today that Director of Energy and Environmental Policy Travis Kavulla has been named vice president of regulatory affairs for NRG, the competitive power producer and supplier. Kavulla will continue to advise R Street as an associate fellow, and the organization is pleased to welcome widely respected experts Mike Haugh and Chris Villarreal as new fellows on its energy team.

“It is with a mixture of gratitude and optimism that we bid farewell to Travis and welcome Mike and Chris,” R Street President Eli Lehrer said in an announcement. “We are always pleased to serve as a springboard for sharp scholars and practitioners like Travis.”

“Our energy team is one of the most respected and creative in our organization, and with the addition of these two policy stars we will be maintaining and enhancing our capabilities and capacity,” Lehrer continued. “We are more committed than ever to this important work.”

Mike Haugh will work as an energy fellow for R Street based in Ohio. Mike is a utility regulatory expert who has worked in both the private and public sectors, most notably at the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, the state government office that represents residential consumers of utilities. Most recently, he led the consumer advocate’s opposition to a legislative package intended to subsidize nuclear and coal power plants in Ohio. At R Street, Mike will primarily work on preserving and promoting competitive energy markets.

Chris Villarreal will work as an energy fellow based in Minnesota. Chris has served both the California and Minnesota public utility commissions (PUCs). He was the head of the NARUC Staff Subcommittee on Rate Design, and is the lead author of the NARUC Distributed Energy Resources Compensation Manual. The manual is now widely cited in PUC rate cases across the country. Chris will lead R Street’s efforts on performance-based ratemaking, which seeks to compensate utilities based on their outcomes rather than their spending levels. Chris will also take the lead on other state-level utility regulatory issues.

For his part, Kavulla said he is “excited for the future and pleased to remain affiliated with this great organization.” He noted that “this opportunity with NRG provides me with a rare opportunity to practice what I have preached for many years.”

“I’ve appreciated my time at R Street and look forward to continuing to work as an ally in the cause to liberalize one of the last sectors to be dominated by monopolies,” he concluded.

R Street is a nonprofit public policy research organization that supports free markets; limited, effective government; and responsible environmental stewardship. It has headquarters in Washington, D.C., and five regional offices across the country. Its website is www.rstreet.org.