Law Seminars International Presents: The 11th Annual National Conference on Current Issues in

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

March 5 & 6, 2015
Alexis Park Resort Hotel in Las Vegas, NV

Who Should Order This Homestudy

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

Why You Should Order

The current ratemaking environment for regulated electric companies is challenging and complex. Utilities are facing many issues that heretofore were not even under consideration. How are regulators, regulated utilities, customer groups, and other public interest advocates dealing with the challenges of introducing more clean energy into the resource mix, new air quality rules, increased energy efficiencies, transmission cost recovery, tech companies desiring to go green, and customers opting to leave utility services and, which rate policies can be used address these issues?

This conference is in its 11th year. We pride ourselves for the thoughtful, sometimes lively, and always engaging discussions by and between recognized experts in utilities, regulation, and customer interests brought together to examine and discuss the challenges currently facing the utility industry. We have again assembled a distinguished faculty comprised of lawyers, industry experts, and government officials in a program designed to help the energy professional understand how these issues are affecting cost recovery, rate setting, and the rate case process. A special utility commissioner's panel will be addressing the use of stipulations and other creative dispute resolution methods. Come to Las Vegas and join us as we explore the modern and ever changing utility rate case.

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

What You Will Learn


Thursday, March 05, 2015

8:30 am

Introduction & Overview

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

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

8:45 am

FERC Developments with an Impact on State Ratemaking

Timothy K. Shuba, Esq.
Goodwin Procter LLP / Washington, DC

9:30 am

Issues at the Intersection of Federal and State Authority in the West

Update on the energy imbalance markets, implementation of Order 1000, and transmission cost recovery

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

10:15 am


10:30 am

Ratemaking Issues Arising from Compliance with EPA's New Section 111(d) Air Quality Rules

Compliance options for the states; common rate issues arising from the various options

Michelle Brandt King, Esq.
Holland & Hart LLP / Denver, CO

Environmental and industry perspectives on the most pressing issues

Carl B. Linvill, Ph.D., Principal
Regulatory Assistance Project / Sacramento, CA

Cathy S. Woollums, Esq., Sr. VP & Chief Environmental Counsel
Berkshire Hathaway Energy / Davenport, IA

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

Tech Companies Going Green: Deal Making Trends and Their Ratemaking Implications

Recent legislation to attract data centers and green technology facilities and create large customer selection of green power sources

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

Business drivers for green tech operations and company expectations for green energy and rates

J. Spencer Viernes, Esq., Global Counsel
eBay Inc. / Draper, UT

Utility perspective on the most problematic issues for implementation

Etta P. Lockey, Esq.
PacifiCorp / Portland, OR

Consumer advocate perspective

David S. Chairez, Regulatory Accountant/Manager
Nevada Bureau of Consumer Protection / Las Vegas, NV

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Net Metering and Distributed Generation

Policy developments for distributed generation and net metering around the country

Jason B. Keyes, Esq.
Keyes, Fox & Wiedman LLP / Oakland, CA

Utility perspective

Greg Patterson, Esq., CPA, Director
Arizona Competitive Power Alliance / Phoenix, AZ

Business model trends for the solar PV industry; how the introduction of a third party, like Sunrun, Inc., into the utility/customer relationship is likely to influence the dynamics of rate proceedings and regulatory policy towards cost recovery

Walker Wright, Director of Public Policy
Sunrun, Inc. / San Francisco, CA

Consumer perspective on the challenge of recovering fixed costs for backup utility service

Michael T. Saunders, Esq., Sr. Dep. Attorney General
Nevada Bureau of Consumer Protection / Las Vegas, NV

5:00 pm

Continue the Exchange of Ideas: Reception for Faculty and Attendees

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


Friday, March 06, 2015

8:30 am

Utility Scale Energy Efficiency: Impact of Demand Management and Energy Efficiency Programs on Cost Recovery and Resource Planning

Case study of the Southwestern Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP): Approaches for addressing rate impacts of programs for promoting energy efficiency

Howard Geller, Ph.D., Executive Director
Southwest Energy Efficiency Project / Boulder, CO

Case study of Lousiana's Quick Start Energy Efficiency program

Philip Hayet, Director of Consulting
J. Kennedy and Associates, Inc. / Roswell, GA

Alternative approaches to regulation: Revenue decoupling and performance-based regulation (PBR) including the new RIIO (Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs) approach to PBR that is used in Britain

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

10:00 am

Load Forecasting Challenges for Utilities

Challenges for utilities as distributed generation steals some load and energy efficiency causes others to evaporate

Robert E. Young, Co-Founder and Managing Director / Portland, OR

10:30 am


10:45 am

Customer Choice of Service Provider and the Potential for Additional Investor-Owned Utility Load Loss

Update on municipalization activity

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

The City of Boulder's efforts to municipalize electric service: Update on progress, and what is next?

Heather Bailey, Executive Director of Energy Strategy
City of Boulder / Boulder, CO

Investor-owned perspective on purchase price: Who should get the premium?

Jason T. Kuzma, Esq.
Perkins Coie LLP / Bellevue, WA

Customer perspective on the implications of who gets the premium for utility ratemaking

Lisa W. Gafken, Esq., Assistant Attorney General
Washington State Attorney General's Office / Seattle, WA

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

A Brave New World for Return on Equity

Trends in the economic analysis and ratemaking policies in an era of low interest rates and acquisition of publicly traded utilities by privately owned entities; impact on strategies for approaching rate of return issues

Kurt Strunk, Vice President
NERA Economic Consulting / New York, NY

Customer perspective

Craig W. Silverstein, Esq.
Stinson Leonard Street LLP / Washington, DC

2:30 pm

Rate Design: New Players and New Dynamics

Rate issues within a class on peak demand vs. energy usage allocations: How higher load factor customers subsidize others and why large commercial customers are increasingly intervening in rate proceedings

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

3:00 pm

Ratemaking Treatment for Complying with New Pension Requirements

Evolving industry trends for post-retirement compensation and how they create new cost recovery challenges for utilities

Lisa F. Rackner, Esq.
McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC / Portland, OR

3:30 pm


3:45 pm

State Commissioners Panel:

Practicum for planning rate case strategies

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

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

The Hon. Paul Kjellander, Commission President
Idaho Public Utilities Commission / Boise, ID

5:00 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn



Regular tuition for in person or webcast attendance 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, people in their job for less than a year, and public interest NGO's, 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.

Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Contact our office for more information.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 13.25 NV CLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.


There is a $25 cancellation fee for Course Materials orders and $50 for Homestudy orders

Faculty Bios

Kirk H. Gibson, Program Co-Chair, partner, McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC, advises energy clients throughout the Northwest and Alaska. Previously, he was Chair of the Energy Practice Group, Ater Wynne LLP, and worked for the Nevada Public Service Commission.

Frederick J. Schmidt, Program Co-Chair, partner, 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.
Full bio and contact info for Frederick J. Schmidt at Holland & Hart LLP

Heather Bailey, Executive Director of Energy Strategy and Electric Utility Development, City of Boulder, manages Boulder's Energy Future project in the creation of energy strategies by leading the city's municipalization exploration project.

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

David S. Chairez, Regulatory Accountant/Manager, Nevada Bureau of Consumer Protection ("BCP") works with issues related to tech companies and green energy. Previously he was employed by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.

Lisa W. Gafken, is Assistant Attorney General, Public Counsel Division of the Washington State Attorney General's Office.

Howard Geller, Ph.D, Executive Director, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), promotes policies and programs to advance energy efficiency in a six-state region, for utilities, governmental organizations, and international agencies.

Philip Hayet, Manager, J. Kennedy & Associates, Inc., provides consulting services to public utility commissions, state energy offices, consumer advocate offices, electric utilities, global power developers, and industrial companies.

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

Jason B. Keyes, partner, Keyes, Fox & Wiedman LLP, represents the Interstate Renewable Energy Council in state utility commission rulemakings for net metering, interconnection of renewable energy and solar developments.
Full bio and contact info for Jason B. Keyes at Keyes, Fox & Wiedman LLP

Michelle Brandt King, counsel, Holland & Hart LLP, counsels on industrial and commercial electric retail utility customers, independent power producers, renewable energy developers, and natural gas local distribution companies and pipelines.
Full bio and contact info for Michelle Brandt King at Holland & Hart LLP

The Hon. Paul Kjellander is Commission President of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. Previously, he was Administrator of the Idaho Office of Energy Resources, overseeing energy planning, policy, conservation and coordination.

Jason T. Kuzma, partner, Perkins Coie LLP, counsels major utilities, investment banks, renewable energy developers, independent power producers and large customers of electricity.
Full bio and contact info for Jason T. Kuzma at Perkins Coie LLP

Carl B. Linvill, Ph.D. Principal, Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), works on regional transmission planning in the Western Interconnection, utility integrated resource planning, renewable energy, distributed generation and energy efficiency valuation and planning.

Etta P. Lockey, Staff Counsel, PacifiCorp, counsels on state regulatory matters, with a focus on retail rate setting, implementation of renewable portfolio standards, greenhouse gas emission programs, and distributed generation.

Mark N. Lowry, Ph.D. Principal, Pacific Economics Group, focuses on regulation, statistical benchmarking, and the incentive power of regulatory systems, cost performance and industry productivity trends, design regulation plans, and modern regulation.

Greg Patterson, CPA, Director, Arizona Competitive Power Alliance, was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives and Director of the Residential Utility Consumer Office.

Lisa F. Rackner, partner, McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC, focuses on energy law, providing regulatory and transactional advice to public utilities, telecommunications carriers, and independent power producers.

Michael T. Saunders, Sr. Dep. Attorney General, Nevada Bureau of Consumer Protection, represents the public interest in cases involving the rates and services of electricity, natural gas, water and telecommunications utilities.

Monica A. Schwebs, of counsel, Bingham McCutchen LLP, focuses on transmission matters, and advises on energy and environmental laws relating to renewable energy, power plant licensing and climate change.

Timothy K. Shuba, partner, Goodwin Procter LLP, focuses his practice on electric energy regulation and restructuring. He represents both large industrial retail and wholesale customers of providers of electric energy and energy services.

Craig W. Silverstein, Practice Leader, Energy Regulation Group, Stinson Leonard Street LLP, counsels clients in contract negotiations, transactions, and proceedings before FERC as well as other federal and state agencies.

Kurt Strunk, Vice President, NERA Economic Consulting, advises utilities on sector restructuring, contract and asset valuation, origination, hedging and risk management, regulatory strategy, prudence, cost of capital and retail market issues.
Full bio and contact info for Kurt Strunk at NERA Economic Consulting

J. Spencer Viernes, Global Counsel for eBay Inc. provides guidance to eBay related to sourcing green energy initiatives and powering its critical infrastructure with sustainable resource projects.

Cathy S. Woollums, Sr. VP & Chief Environmental Counsel, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, is responsible for development and implementation of corporate environmental policies, strategis and programs.

Walker Wright, Sunrun, Inc., Director of Public Policy, has led Sunrun's western state Policy initiatives (regulatory, legislative and campaign strategy) to help those markets promote long-term rooftop solar growth.

Robert E. Young, Co-Founder and Managing Director,, focuses on rate design, strategic planning, regulatory analysis, and economic and financial analysis for electric utilities.