Law Seminars International Presents:

The 13th Annual National Conference on Current Issues in

Electric Utility Rate Cases

Adapting rate setting approaches to new market and federal political realities

March 16 & 17, 2017

Las Vegas, NV

Download PDF Brochure
Las Vegas - NV


Who Should Order

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

Why You Should Order

2017 brings us a new President, a new FERC, and a new EPA. All of that will magnify the ratemaking implications of what was already happening in the electric sector.

The resulting ratemaking environment will be even more challenging for regulated electric companies for regulators, utilities, customer groups, and those who represent them. Changes to the generating mix caused by environmental concerns and the increased use of renewables, evolving power markets, and the increasing desire for customer choice and self-generation are creating new and more complex ratemaking issues. How are regulators, regulated utilities, their customers, and environmental and other public interest advocates dealing with these challenges?

This is the 13th year we have come together to examine and discuss the current issues, which drive the increasingly complex rate filings generated by these challenges. We have assembled a distinguished faculty of industry exprts, lawyers, and government officials tohelp the energy professional understand how these issues are affecting cost recovery, rate settings, and the rate case process. The Commissioners" panel will again provide a fresh look at the clanges from the perspective of the regulators.

The exchanges of ideas are always lively and educational and we expect this yer will be no different. Please make plans tp join us as we discuss these important issues affecting the modern 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

  • ~ New administration, new FERC and EPA
  • ~ Clean power policies in the Western grid and the anticipated rate impacts
  • ~ The impact of state cost recovery policies for payments to Qualifying Facility (QF) generators under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA)
  • ~ Cost advantages of an RTO for the West and whether it will be possible to develop one
  • ~ Transmission and the interplay between FERC rate setting at the wholesale level and allocation to retail customers by states
  • ~ Ratemaking challenges arising from customer self-generation
  • ~ Ratemaking challenges arising from pressures for retail competition
  • ~ Is the sun setting on the rate base rate of return model?
  • ~ State Commissioner perspectives on stitching together a coherent overall policy to address the economic and political changes for the electric utility industry

What Attendees Said

  • "It was one of the best conferences I've attended; lots of interesting information. I certainly enjoyed the opportunity to participate."
  • "Very in-depth discussion around energy issues."
  • "These seminars are so well done and so on point, and that isn't always true, I've been to 4 of these"

Agenda Day 1

Thursday, March 16, 2017

8:00 am

Registration Opens

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

A New President, a New FERC, a new EPA: Impact on Implementation Clean Power Policies in the Western Grid and the Resulting Anticipated Rate Impacts of Those Policies

Overview of Oregon's Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan, California's push for 50% carbon-free renewables, clean power policy developments in other states, and the impact of environmental policy regulations on the economics of coal

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

Perspectives on the prospects for getting to 50 percent renewables and the best ratemaking approaches

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

10:30 am


10:45 am

The Impact of State Cost Recovery Policies for Payments to Qualifying Facility (QF) Generators Under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA)

Is it a dying mechanism for co-generation and renewable power development by third parties due to state rate setting decisions? What are the implications for development of third-party resources for meeting state clean power goals?

Jeffrey S. Lovinger, Esq.
Lovinger Law / Portland, OR

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

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

Market Operations: Cost Advantages of an RTO for the West and Whether it will be Possible to Develop One

Update on the economics of utility participation in Energy Imbalance Markets and the politics surrounding proposals for expansion of the California ISO

Philip D. Pettingill , Director, Regional Integration
California ISO / Folsom, CA

Regulatory perspective on regional markets and expansion of the ISO

The Hon. Thad LeVar , Chair
Utah Public Service Commission / Salt Lake City, UT

3:00 pm


3:15 pm

Transmission: The Interplay Between FERC Rate Setting at the Wholesale Level and Allocation to Retail Customers by States

Economic friction points between FERC's methodology for determining revenue requirements and state cost allocation methodologies: Key differences and an economist's perspective on how to reconcile them

Bente Villadsen, Ph.D. , Principal
The Brattle Group Inc / Cambridge, MA

Legal perspective on resolving the conflicts

Monica A. Schwebs, Esq.
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP / San Francisco, CA

Regulatory perspective

Paul Maguire , Manager, Engineering
Public Utilities Commission / Carson City, NV

5:00 pm

Continue the Exchange of Ideas: Reception for Faculty and Attendees

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

Agenda Day 2

Friday, March 17, 2017

8:30 am

Introduction to Day 2

Kirk H. Gibson, Esq.
McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC / Portland, OR

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

8:45 am

The Growth of Rooftop and Community Solar: Ratemaking Challenges Arising from Customer Self-Generation

Practical considerations: What's been tried in the field, and how those early experiments have worked out

Ross C. Hemphill , President
RCHemphill Solutions / Saint Charles, IL

Overview of economic policy options: The theoretical possibilities

Kurt G. Strunk , Associate Director
NERA Economic Consulting / New York, NY

10:15 am


10:30 am

Ratemaking Challenges Arising from Pressures for Retail Competition

Pressures from customers for the ability to leave their distribution utility: What's a state utility commission to do about stranded costs?

Samuel D. Castor, Esq. , Associate General Counsel
Switch / Las Vegas, NV

Chad C. Baker, Esq.
Parsons Behle & Latimer / Salt Lake City, UT

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

Utility Business Models: Is the Sun Setting on the Rate Base Rate of Return Model?

How to best address the cumulative impact of the trends towards an emphasis on efficiency, demand management, net metering, and customer choice at the retail level

Frederick J. Schmidt, Esq. , Moderator
Holland & Hart LLP / Carson City, NV

Jon B. Wellinghoff, Esq. , Chief Policy Officer
SolarCity Corporation / San Mateo, CA

Pamela Morgan, Esq. , President and Principal Consultant
Graceful Systems / Lake Oswego, OR

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Special State Commissioners Panel

The challenge of stitching together a coherent overall policy to address economic and political changes for the electric utility industry

Kirk H. Gibson, Esq. , Moderator
McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC / Portland, OR

The Hon. Doug Little , Chairman
Arizona Corporation Commission / Phoenix, AZ

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

The Hon. Thad LeVar , Chair
Utah Public Service Commission / Salt Lake City, UT

4:30 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Kirk H. Gibson, Kirk H. Gibson, Program Co-Chair, is a partner at McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC. He has been involved in all facets of utility business operations and the development of generation facilities for utilities and independent power producers throughout the West and Alaska. This includes handling major regulatory cases before public utility commissions in Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington.

Frederick J. Schmidt, Frederick J. Schmidt, Program Co-Chair, is a partner at Holland & Hart LLP. His experience includes having twice been appointed commissioner on the Nevada Public Service Commission (currently the PUCN) and over a decade as Nevada's Consumer Advocate creating and leading the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Chad C. Baker Chad C. Baker is a shareholder at Parsons Behle & Latimer and member of the firm's Environmental, Energy & Natural Resource department. He assists clients with identifying and implementing practical approaches for environmental, natural resource, and energy issues throughout all phases of a project's lifecycle, including due diligence, permitting, compliance and enforcement, and divestment or closure.

Samuel D. Castor Samuel D. Castor is Associate General Counsel of Switch, which is the developer and operator of the SUPERNAP data center facilities. In 2015, the company became the first data center provider in the U.S. to participate in President Barack Obama's American Business Act on Climate Pledge by announcing that they would join the second round of private sector companies participating in this effort. It is currently constructing the first of two solar farms, which will provide renewable energy to its data centers.

Ross C. Hemphill Ross C. Hemphill is the President of RCHemphill Solutions. He was Vice President of Regulatory Policy & Strategy for Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) until the end of 2015. In that capacity he was responsible for revenue policy including the development of annual revenue requirements and retail rates.

The Hon. Paul Kjellander The Hon. Paul Kjellander is the Commission President of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. As a member of the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC), he served as Chairman of the Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations. He formerly served as Idaho's administrator of the Office of Energy Resources.

The Hon.Thad LeVar The Hon.Thad LeVar is the Chair of the Utah Public Service Commission. He has served as a member of the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment of NARUC.

Carl B. Linvill, Ph.D. Carl B. Linvill, Ph.D. is a Principal with the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP). He leads RAP's work on renewable energy integration and transmission planning in the Western United States. Prior to joining RAP, Dr. Linvill served as a public utilities commissioner in Nevada, the economic and energy advisor to Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn, an academic economist at the Sam Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, and Director of Integrated Energy Analysis and Planning with Aspen Environmental Group.

The Hon. Doug Little The Hon. Doug Little is Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission. He is a member of the NARUC Electricity Committee and the Critical Infrastructure Subcommittee.

Jeffrey S. Lovinger Jeffrey S. Lovinger of Lovinger Law advises clients regarding transmission issues, generation interconnection, and net metering. He represents clients before state and federal courts, before state public utility commissions, and before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Paul Maguire is Manager, Engineering for the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.

Pamela Morgan Pamela Morgan is President and Principal Consultant Graceful Systems. She is a former attorney for and senior executive for Portland General Electric Company. Before that she worked for a law firm representing industrial customers.

Thorvald A. Nelson, partner, Holland & Hart LLP, represents utility consumers and utilities in regulatory matters at the local, state and federal levels throughout the Mountain West including CO, WY, UT, ID, MT, and NM.

Philip D. Pettingill is Director, Regional Integration for California ISO where he represents the main grid operator for California before state regulatory agencies. He is engaged in the interagency collaboration to resolve electric sector impacts from new clean air and clean water regulations such as the state's carbon cap-and-trade auction and once-through cooling coastal restrictions. He also serves as the ISO policy liaison to the Governor's Office.

Monica A. Schwebs Monica A. Schwebs is Of Counsel at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP. She previously spent six years working as staff counsel for the California Energy Commission. Before entering state service, she served as a trial attorney for the US Dept. of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, in Washington, D.C.

Marc L. Spitzer Marc L. Spitzer is a partner in Steptoe & Johnson LLP's Washington, DC, and Phoenix offices. He served as a FERC commissioner from July 2006 to December 2011. Before that, he served six years on the Arizona Corporation Commission and four terms in the Arizona State Senate.

 Kurt G. Strun Kurt G. Strun k is an Associate Director at NERA Economic Consulting. He serves as a consulting and testifying expert in regulatory proceedings, commercial litigation, and arbitration proceedings. He has worked extensively on matters related to all aspects of the electric power sector, including generation, transmission, distribution, and retailing.

Bente Villadsen, Ph.D. Bente Villadsen, Ph.D. is a Principal at The Brattle Group Inc. She specializes in finance and accounting matters with an emphasis on the energy industry.

Jon B. Wellinghoff Jon B. Wellinghoff is Chief Policy Officer at SolarCity Corporation and oversees regulatory and legislative affairs on federal and state policy for the company. He was the longest serving Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In that role he was known for his international expertise and thought leadership in energy policy, electric markets and the interface of disruptive energy systems with traditional utility structures.


Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 12.75 NV CLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.

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