Law Seminars International Presents

A Comprehensive Two-Day Conference on Current

Utility Rate Case Issues & Strategies

Featuring The Hon. Marc Spitzer, Commissioner, FERC

February 22 & 23, 2007
Monte Carlo Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV
Register      Download PDF Brochure

Who Should Attend

Representatives of utilities, merchants and intervenor groups, public and private attorneys, in-house counsel, and governmental officials, including regulatory agency representatives

Why Attend

"With rising fuel costs and increased investment in generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure, many utilities are facing rate case and regulatory issues that directly impact the bottom line. But they're finding that the rules of the game are different. It's no longer just about cost of service and rate design. Technological advancements and cost reductions are making it possible for utilities to offer demand response and innovative pricing products. Regulators and customers are starting to demand these programs along with performance and generation portfolio standards. This conference will help energy professionals understand the new rate case environment and how to manage it to bring about win-win results for shareholders and customers." ~ Program Co-Chairs: Katherine A. McDowell, Esq. and Frederick J. Schmidt, Esq.

What You Will Learn

~ Filing strategy tips for utilities ~ Rate case issues arising from policies favoring cleaner energy supplies ~ Rate case treatment of fuel costs ~ Regulatory treatment of new technologies ~ State authority, policy priorities, and regulatory approaches

Previous Attendees Include Representatives From:

* Arizona Corporation Commission * Calpine Corporation * Colorado Public Utilities Commission * Edison Electric Institute * Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) * FirstEnergy * Holme Roberts & Owen LLP * Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission * Moss & Barnett * Nevada Public Utilities Commission * Pacific Gas and Electric Company * Parsons Behle & Latimer * Public Utility Commission of Oregon * Tampa Electric Company * Xcel Energy


Thursday, February 22, 2007

8:00 am Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30 am Introduction & Overview
  Katherine A. McDowell, Esq., Program Co-Chair
McDowell & Associates PC / Portland, OR
  Frederick J. Schmidt, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Hale Lane Peek Dennison and Howard / Carson City, NV
8:45 am Special Address: Recent FERC Initiatives and Decisions with an Impact on State Rate Cases
  General view of state and federal roles; impact of FERC's new authority over siting of electric transmission facilities and gas pipelines; policies on the timing and placement of new generating resources
  The Hon. Marc Spitzer, Esq., Commissioner
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission / Washington, DC
9:30 am Rate Design in the Campaign for Energy Efficiency
  Hethie Parmesano, Ph.D., Senior Vice President
NERA Economic Consulting / Los Angeles, CA
10:15 am Break
10:30 am Environmental Initiatives at the State Level That Directly Affect Decisions in Rate Cases or the Political Environment for Making Those Decisions
  Environmental advocate perspectives on rate setting as a tool for reaching environmental goals; what is likely to be coming in terms of legislative and ballot initiatives that will change the political environment for rate setting
  Audrey Chang, Staff Scientist
Natural Resources Defense Council / San Francisco, CA
  Rachel Shimshak, Director
Renewable Northwest Project / Portland, OR
  Charles Benjamin, Esq., Director, Nevada Office
Western Resource Advocates / Carson City, NV
12:15 pm Lunch (on your own)
1:30 pm Performance Based Ratemaking and Incentive Rates of Return: Current Advantages, Disadvantages, and Best Approaches
  Who is doing what? What has been working and what not? What customer options and measures are most meaningful and effective in obtaining service quality results? For conservation programs, what is the best way to de-couple profits from sales?
  Mark N. Lowry, Ph.D., Principal
Pacific Economics Group / Madison, WI
  Industry perspective on the best approaches, performance standards and measurements, and ways to avoid unintended consequences
  Eric Ackerman, Senior Manager of Regulatory Policy
Edison Electric Institute / Washington, DC
3:00 pm Break
3:15 pm Cost Basis for New Rates: Trends in the Use of Historic, Future, and Hybrid Test Years
  Legal and economic arguments; use of attrition adjustments to bring historic test years closer to future; factors that influence who wins and loses, and for finding the best fit for the circumstances in your state
  Michael W. Yackira, Executive VP and CFO
Sierra Pacific Resources / Las Vegas, NV
  Ratepayer perspective
  Eric P. Witkoski, Esq., Consumer Advocate
Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection / Carson City, NV
  Utility perspective
  Laura Beane, Regulatory Manager
PacifiCorp / Portland, OR
4:15 pm Resource Planning as a Cost Recovery Tool
  Trends among the states; whether its appropriate to have a presumption of prudence for cost recovery; getting into the boardroom early in the process
  Ronald J. Amen, Director
Navigant Consulting, Inc. / Redmond, WA
5:00 pm Reception for Attendees & Faculty

Friday, February 23, 2007

8:00 am Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30 am Introduction & Overview
  Katherine A. McDowell, Esq., Program Co-Chair
McDowell & Associates PC / Portland, OR
  Frederick J. Schmidt, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Hale Lane Peek Dennison and Howard / Carson City, NV
8:45 am Optimal Capital Structures (Debt vs. Equity) and Imputed Debt Considerations for Long Term Contracts
  Standard & Poor's new mechanism for looking at long term contracts (e.g. a renewables contract with a 20 year duration) and determining when the impact on the company's finances is significant enough to call it debt; other cost of capital issues
  Anne Selting, Director, Utilities, Power and Project Finance Group
Standard & Poor's / San Francisco, CA
  Industry perspective
  Frederick J. Schmidt, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Hale Lane Peek Dennison and Howard / Carson City, NV
10:15 am Break
10:30 am Tax Issues in Ratemaking
  Katherine A. McDowell, Esq., Program Co-Chair
McDowell & Associates PC / Portland, OR
11:15 am Rate Case Treatment of Fuel Costs
  Fuel adjustment clauses: Drafting tips to avoid unnecessarily complex implementation and the controversy that can result from ambiguities
  Cary Cook, CPA, Sr. Project Manager, Regulatory Services
GDS Associates, Inc. / Marietta, GA
12:00 pm Lunch (on your own)
1:15 pm Managing the Public Relations Aspects of Rate Cases
  Managing information from announcement of the case through consumer sessions; how to deal with sensationalized participation for the media
  Bill Moye, President
STAR Group, LLC / Albuquerque, NM
2:00 pm Strategies for Working with Intervenors and Settling Cases with Multiple Parties
  Avoiding problems during discovery and taking evidence; achieving settlement with a broad range of interest groups; partial settlements (just some issues or just some parties); extent to which cases settle at a discount, and whether that is advantageous
  Scott J. Mueller, Esq., Moderator
LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP / Boston, MA
  Utility perspective
  Thomas J. O'Brien, Esq.
Bricker & Eckler LLP / Columbus, OH
  Agency perspective
  The Hon. Donald L. Soderberg, Esq., Chairman
Public Utilities Commission of Nevada / Carson City, NV
  Intervenor perspective
  Greg Patterson, CPA, Director
Arizona Competitive Power Alliance / Phoenix, AZ
3:30 pm Evaluations and Adjourn


Regular tuition for this program is $995 with a group rate of $895 each for two or more registrants from the same firm. For government employees, we offer a special rate of $795. For students and people in their job for less than a year, our rate is $497.50. 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 16, 2007. 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

This program qualifies for 11.5 NV CLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.


The conference will be held at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino at 3770 Las Vegas Boulevard South in Las Vegas, NV 89109 USA. Call the hotel directly at (702) 730-7400 for room reservations.
More about the Location
Map & Directions

If You Cannot Attend

Our complete Homestudy Course, consisting of a VHS or DVD recording and the written course materials, is available for $1005. The written course materials alone are available for $100. We will ship your homestudy order via UPS ground within two weeks after the seminar or the date we receive payment (whichever is later).
Order Homestudy

Faculty Bios

Katherine A. McDowell, Program Co-Chair, founder of McDowell & Associates PC, has worked on a full range of energy regulatory issues, including traditional and performance-based ratemaking, utility mergers, sales and acquisitions and electric industry restructuring. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

Frederick J. Schmidt, Program Co-Chair, shareholder at Hale Lane Peek Dennison and Howard, practices administrative and regulatory law. He is a former two term Commissioner on the Nevada Public Service Commission and served as Nevada's Consumer Advocate for customers of public utilities. Mr. Schmidt has presided over and litigated dozens of major utility rate cases.

The Hon. Marc Spitzer, Special Address, is a commissioner for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Previously he was Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission where he focused on policies encouraging expansion of natural gas infrastructure; enhancing the ACC's renewables standard; and advancing consumer privacy concerns in telecommunications.

Scott J. Mueller, Moderator, managing partner at the Boston office of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP, practices in the areas of energy, utility, and regulatory law and represents clients in related transactions and litigation. His practice in recent years has focused on restructuring of the electric and gas industries both at the state and federal levels. Mr. Mueller has extensive experience with regulatory rate matters and practices before the state utility commissions and appellate courts in New York and New England and has advised clients on regulatory matters in over 30 states. He is listed as a Boston 'Super Lawyer.'

Eric Ackerman, Senior Manager of Regulatory Policy for the Edison Electric Institute, provides expertise, access to customers, policymakers and tools to maximize market potential and minimize the intrusion of unproductive regulation.

Ronald J. Amen, Director for Navigant Consulting, Inc., provides consulting services to electric and gas utilities with respect to cost allocation and pricing issues, regulatory planning and policy development, resource strategy, planning and financial analysis, and expert witness testimony.

Laura Beane is Regulatory Manager at PacifiCorp and is responsible for the development and implementation of its regulatory strategy for the company's Oregon jurisdiction. She has managed multiple strategic regulatory initiatives for the company as well as prepared and executed numerous rate cases.

Charles Benjamin, Director, Nevada Office for Western Resource Advocates, represents WRA and others in proceedings before the Nevada Public Utilities Commission concerning renewable energy, efficiency, and related matters. Previously, he was the lobbyist and attorney for the Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club and represented neighborhood associations across Kansas on a variety of land use and zoning issues.

Audrey Chang, staff scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council's energy program, works on energy and utility regulation issues, promoting clean energy and effective climate change policies through research and advocacy in local, state and regional forums. Prior to joining NRDC, she worked as an energy efficiency and green building consultant.

Cary Cook, CPA, is a Senior Project Manager, Regulatory Services, for GDS Associates, Inc., a multi-service consulting and engineering firm focusing on electric, gas, water, and wastewater utilities. He has extensive experience in the electric utility industry and has testified before several regulatory agencies including the GA Public Service Commission, the Texas PUC, the AK Regulatory Commission, and FERC.

Dr. Mark N. Lowry, principal at Pacific Economics Group, focuses on performance-based regulation, statistical benchmarking, and the incentive power of regulatory systems. He supervises empirical work on cost performance and industry productivity trends, designs performance-based regulation plans, gives expert witness testimony, and is viewed internationally as an authority on modern regulation.

Bill Moye, President and founder of STAR Group, LLC, has expertise in meeting design and facilitation, search conference management, strategic planning, leadership, management team performance, and marketing and organizational development. He previously held roles as Senior Consultant, VP of Operations & Manufacturing, and Manager of Business and Economic Development for a large electric and gas utility company.

Thomas J. O'Brien, Of Counsel, is a member of the Bricker & Eckler LLP Energy, Public Utilities and Environmental Law Practice Group and his practice emphasizes telecommunications and energy law. Previously regulatory counsel at CoreComm Communications, Inc., he was responsible for carrier-to-carrier relations and interconnection matters across several regions. Mr. O'Brien is listed in "Best Lawyers in America."

Hethie Parmesano, Senior Vice President of NERA Economic Consulting, focuses on costing, pricing, and regulation of the electric, gas, and water utility industries. She also directs NERA's Marginal Cost Working Group, a group of utility companies interested in sharing research and ideas on marginal costing and its use in applications such as pricing, planning, and retail access implementation. In addition, she has conducted studies related to electric utility strategic planning, including pricing strategy.

Greg Patterson, CPA, Director of the Arizona Competitive Power Alliance, worked for Coopers and Lybrand and as an accounting teacher. He was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives and Director of the Residential Utility Consumer Office.

Anne Selting, is a Director in the U.S. Utilities, Energy, and Project Finance group at Standard & Poor's and former power manager for Hetchy Hetchy Water & Power under the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Rachel Shimshak, Director of the Renewable Northwest Project, focuses on implementation of cost-effective, workable, renewable technologies. Previously, she was Policy Director for the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources, and Legislative Director for the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group.

The Hon. Donald L. Soderberg, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, has been regulating Nevada utilities since 1995. He is a member of NARUC where he is on the Committee on Telecommunications.

Eric P. Witkoski, Consumer Advocate for the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection, works to protect Nevadans by fighting deceptive trade and championing consumer interests.

Michael W. Yackira is Corporate Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Sierra Pacific Resources. He previously worked for FPL Group as President of FPL Energy, and as CFO of Florida Power and Light.