Law Seminars International Presents: The Ninth Annual National Conference on Current Issues in

Electric Utility Rate Cases
New challenges and fresh thinking for cost recovery, rate setting and the rate case process

February 21 & 22, 2013
The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, NV

Who Should Attend

Attorneys, utility rate department professionals and executives, industrial and commercial customer representatives, residential consumer advocates and government officials involved in ratemaking

Why You Should Attend

The current ratemaking environment for regulated gas and electric companies is challenging for regulators, utilities, customer groups, and those who represent them. Environmental requirements, aging infrastructures, new generation and transmission projects, smart grid issues, greenhouse gas emissions, and other challenges ensure a steady stream of new and increasingly complex rate case filings.

How are regulators, regulated utilities, their customers, and environmental and other public interest advocates dealing with these challenges? So much is changing, so many challenges are ahead.

We have assembled a distinguished faculty comprised of lawyers, industry experts, and government officials designed to help the energy professional understand how these issues are affecting cost recovery, rate setting and the rate case process. Join us as we explore the modern and ever changing utility rate case.

~ Kirk H. Gibson, Esq. of McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC and Frederick J. Schmidt, Esq. of Holland & Hart LLP, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn


Thursday, February 21, 2013

8:00 am

Registration Opens

8:30 am

Introduction & Overview

Frederick J. Schmidt, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Holland & Hart LLP / Carson City, NV

Kirk H. Gibson, Esq., Program Co-Chair
McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC / Portland, OR

8:45 am

Special Opening Address: FERC Developments with an Impact on State-Level Ratemaking

Marc Spitzer, Esq.
Steptoe & Johnson LLP / Washington, DC

9:30 am

Implications of Utilities Switching to Heavy Reliance on Natural Gas: Will Prices Stay Low or Spike Up?

Gas development trends and market realities: How long can we count on natural gas prices to remain at historic lows? If not for long, what are the implications? What issues should state commissions be considering in developing ratemaking policies?

Frank C. Graves, Principal
The Brattle Group, Inc. / Cambridge, MA

10:15 am


10:30 am

The Political and Economic Future for Renewable Energy Development: Are near term low cost fuels (natural gas) preventing the continued development of renewable energy?

Federal legislative policy after the election; RPS and other trends at the state level; utility build vs. buy; how wind and solar are adapting to a changing environment; what is being built and the ratemaking issues those projects raise

Bobby J. Hollis, II, Esq., Executive, Renewable Energy
NV Energy / Las Vegas, NV

Kevin A. Lynch, Vice President, External Affairs
Iberdrola Renewables, LLC / Portland, OR

Kevin Smith, Chief Executive Officer
SolarReserve LLC / Santa Monica, CA

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

New Transmission Facilities: Integration of New Resources, Reliability Improvements, and the Resulting Cost Allocation Issues

Update on implementation of FERC Order 1000 and the new regional mandate: What is being built, why, and for the benefit of whom? How well it is working? What are the potential liability issues? Whom do they impact?

Monica A. Schwebs, Esq.
Bingham McCutchen LLP / San Francisco, CA

Update on recent cases involving cost recovery and allocation issues including FERC vs. state jurisdiction

Sarah E. Edmonds, Esq., Director of Transmission Regulation and Services
PacificCorp / Portland, OR

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

New Environmental Controls for Coal Plants and Large Hydro: Should They Continue to Run Given the Environmental Costs and Concerns?

Update on EPA air quality initiatives for thermal plants and stream flow issues for large hydro: What investment is necessary to keep them going?

James A. Holtkamp, Esq.
Holland & Hart LLP / Salt Lake City, UT

Quantifying the economic costs of CO2 and other pollutants that are not reflected in prices

David Harrison, Jr., Ph.D., Sr. Vice President
National Economic Research Associates, Inc. / Boston, MA

Retrofit vs. retire: Perspectives on the issues for state commissions in the decision making process and determining the level and method of cost recovery

Gloria D. Smith, Esq.
Sierra Club / San Francisco, CA

Cathy S. Woollums, Senior Vice President, Environmental Services / Chief Environmental Counsel
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company / Des Moines, IA

5:00 pm

Continue the Exchange of Ideas: Reception for Faculty and Attendees

Sponsored by Holland & Hart LLP and McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC


Friday, February 22, 2013

8:30 am

Alternative Ratemaking: Update on the Current Best Thinking

Overview: Lessons from other industries and around the world

Raymond L. Gifford, Esq.
Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP / Denver, CO

Telecommunications: Price caps and other incentive approaches in the US

The Hon. Mark Sievers, Esq., Chairman
Kansas Corporation Commission / Topeka, KS

International: New thinking on alternative models for regulation

Peter Fraser, Managing Director, Regulatory Policy
Ontario Energy Board / Toronto, ON Canada

Applicability to energy regulation in the US: What's more and less likely to work?

Mark N. Lowry, Ph.D., Principal
Pacific Economics Group / Madison, WI

10:30 am


10:45 am

Alternative Ratemaking (continued): Perspectives on the New Ideas and Their Practical Implications

Does rate of return make sense when interest rates are at record lows and yet some utilities are having trouble raising equity capital? Should rate of return include a sharing mechanism when utilities earn in excess of their allowed return?

Is there now a greater need for attrition adjustments? How can we create the right incentive to reach the right infrastructure?

Does marginal cost pricing make sense when demand is low and you don't need new generation? Is there a better approach to achieving equity among customer classes?

What is the best approach for implementing demand-side management programs?

After a general rate case, does it make sense to do single-issue cases to respond to specific new developments?

Thorvald A. Nelson, Esq., Moderator
Holland & Hart LLP / Greenwood Village, CO

Simon J. ffitch, Esq., Section Chief and Senior Assistant Attorney General
Washington State Office of the Attorney General / Seattle, WA

Kevin C. Higgins, Principal
Energy Strategies LLC / Salt Lake City, UT

Timothy E. Tatum, Manager, Cost of Service
Idaho Power Company / Boise, ID

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

Addressing the Cost of Environmental Review During Project Development

Case study of the cost of accommodating the Sage Grouse as an endangered species

Randal B. Peterson, Manager of Corporate Permitting
Ormat Technologies Inc. / Reno, NV

The economics of how it plays out in the build vs. buy decision: How does it play out in the resource planning review process?

Jack McGinley, Renewable-Projects Development Director
Sierra Pacific Power Company / Reno, NV

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Wrap Up Discussion: Key Issues from the Decision Makers' Perspective

Where are the agencies most likely to focus their resources?

Frederick J. Schmidt, Esq., Program Co-Chair, Moderator
Holland & Hart LLP / Carson City, NV

^Name (Chairs)
^Firm / ^Location,

The Hon. Alaina C. Burtenshaw, Esq., Chairman
Public Utilities Commission of Nevada / Las Vegas, NV

4:30 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn



Regular tuition for this program is $1245 with a group rate of $935 each for two or more registrants from the same firm. For government employees, we offer a special rate of $830. For students and people in their job for less than a year, our rate is $622.50. All rates include admission to all seminar sessions, food and beverages at breaks, and all course materials. Make checks payable to Law Seminars International.

Cancellation & Substitution

You may substitute another person at any time. We will refund tuition, less a $50 cancellation fee, if we receive your cancellation by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 15, 2013. After that time, we will credit your tuition toward attendance at another program or the purchase of a Homestudy. There is a $25 cancellation fee for Course Materials orders and $50 for Homestudy orders.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 13 NV CLE; 13.5 CA MCLE; 13.5 CO CLE; 13.25 ID CLE; 14.25 OR CLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.


The conference will be held at the Palms Casino Resort at 4321 West Flamingo Rd. in Las Vegas, NV 89103. Call the hotel directly at (702) 942-7064 for reservations at the special negotiated rate of $69.00 and mention that you are attending a Law Seminars International conference. Rooms are on a first come, first served basis.
More about the Location
Map & Directions

If You Cannot Attend

Our complete Homestudy Course, consisting of a DVD recording and the course materials, is available for $1255. The course materials alone are available for $100. We will ship your Homestudy order via UPS ground within two weeks after the seminar or from the date we receive payment.
Order Homestudy

Faculty Bios

Kirk H. Gibson, Program Co-Chair, partner, McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC, advises energy clients throughout the Northwest and Alaska, including electric and gas utilities, power producers and oil pipeline operators, regarding economic, strategic, legal and regulatory policy issues. Previously, he was Chair of the Energy Practice at Ater Wynne LLP, and worked for NW Natural and the Nevada Public Service Commission.

Frederick J. Schmidt, Program Co-Chair, partner at Holland & Hart LLP, focuses on regulatory and administrative law with emphasis on public utility matters. Previously, he was a Commissioner on the Nevada Public Service Commission and the State's Consumer Advocate.

Thorvald A. Nelson, partner at Holland & Hart LLP, practices public utility regulatory law including telecommunications, energy, antitrust, trade regulation and litigation. He offers a unique perspective in the utility industry from his time as an economist and testifying expert on regulatory law and policy.

The Hon. Alaina C. Burtenshaw, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, previously was staff counsel for the Commission where she focused on rural water companies and the energy industry.

Sarah E. Edmonds, Director of Transmission Regulation and Services at PacifiCorp, manages the company's regulatory activities including rate case transmissions, and provides support for their energy gateway.

Simon J. ffitch, Division Chief, Public Counsel Division, Washington State Attorney General's Office, is a former Consumer Advocate Member of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, an Advisory Committee to the Federal Communications Commission.

Peter Fraser is Managing Director of Regulatory Policy, at the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), the energy regulator in the province of Ontario, Canada. Prior to joining the OEB in 2004, he worked for six years at the International Energy Agency in Paris, France, and spent nearly nine years at the Ontario Ministry of Energy.

Raymond L. Gifford, partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, counsels communications, electric and gas utilities and information technology companies on state and federal aspects of regulation, administrative law, and competition policy. He is former Chairman of Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Frank C. Graves, Principal, The Brattle Group, Inc., specializes in finance and regulatory economics focusing on electric power, assisting utilities in capacity expansion, network modeling, investment and contract prudence reviews, financial simulation and asset and contract valuation.
Full bio and contact info for Frank C. Graves at The Brattle Group, Inc.

David Harrison, Jr., Ph.D., Sr. Vice President, National Economic Research Associates, Inc., Economic Consulting, heads its global Environment Group and is an expert in climate change and related policy options and use of market-based approaches such as cap-and-trade.

Kevin C. Higgins, Principal at Energy Strategies, LLC, is an economist, management strategist, and public policy specialist. He also manages interventions and testifies on behalf of industrial and commercial energy consumers in regulatory proceedings before federal regulators and state commissions.

Bobby J. Hollis, II, Executive, Renewable Energy, NV Energy, oversees all legal support for the company's renewable energy programs, including renewable energy and portfolio credit procurements and the company's Advanced System Delivery Program (Smart Grid).

James A. Holtkamp, partner and Leader of the Climate Change Practice Team at Holland & Hart LLP, focuses on energy, environmental and climate change, energy project development including carbon credit trading and carbon capture and sequestration.

Dr. Mark N. Lowry, principal, Pacific Economics Group, focuses on performance-based regulation, statistical benchmarking, and the incentive power of regulatory systems, supervising work on cost performance and industry productivity trends, designs performance-based regulation plans, and is an authority on modern regulation.

Kevin A. Lynch, Vice President, External Affairs at Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., heads their Policy and Regulation group on federal and state legislation, regulatory matters and liaisons with organized markets. He is on the Boards of the Interwest Energy Alliance, Wind on the Wires, the Colorado Independent Energy Association, and the Independent Energy Producers of California.

Jack McGinley, Renewable-Projects Development Director at Sierra Pacific Power Company, which serves electric customers in northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California, plus serving natural gas customers in the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area.

Randal B. Peterson, Manager of Corporate Permitting for Ormat Technologies, manages their U.S. permitting and regulatory compliance programs, as liaison to regulatory agencies and local stakeholders, and is experienced in renewable power development, permitting, operation, and regulatory compliance.

Monica A. Schwebs, Of Counsel, Bingham McCutchen LLP, focuses on transmission matters before FERC, California Independent System Operator and state agencies. She also advises on federal and state energy and environmental laws relating to renewable energy, power plant licensing and climate change. Previously, she was staff counsel for California Energy Commission.

The Hon. Mark Sievers, Chairman, Kansas Corporation Commission, is senior executive, economist, and lawyer experienced in policy development, economic policy analysis, and public utility litigation. He previously worked in telecommunications firms in private practice and worked in a variety of telecommunications firms including, Verizon, GTE, Sprint and Southwestern Bell.

Gloria D. Smith, senior managing attorney with Sierra Club, advocates for renewable energy and coal plant retirement before public utility commissions and courts nationwide. Previously, she worked in the Department of Interior's solicitor's office where she represented the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service before FERC.

Kevin Smith, Chief Executive Officer, SolarReserve, leads the company's efforts to develop and build large-scale solar energy projects. Previously, he held senior executive positions in successful energy companies that develop solar and wind energy projects as well as natural gas and biomass fueled electricity facilities

Marc Spitzer, partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Former Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, focuses on supplies of electricity and natural gas, wholesale energy markets and transmission systems. Previously, he was Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Timothy E. Tatum, Cost of Service Manager, Regulatory Affairs, Idaho Power Company, oversees revenue requirement determinations, power supply modeling, jurisdictional separation studies, class cost of service studies, and marginal cost studies.

Cathy S. Woollums, Senior Vice President, Environmental and Chief Environmental Counsel for MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, is responsible for the development and implementation of their corporate environmental policy, strategy and programs; oversight of their environmental compliance assurance management activities and systems; environmental permitting, monitoring and reporting.