Advocacy at state regulatory commissions the basics
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ADVOCACY AT STATE REGULATORY COMMISSIONS: THE BASICS. Theo MacGregor MacGregor Energy Consultancy www.DemocracyAndRegulation.com Presented at the National Community Action Foundation Conference October 25, 2006 St. Petersburg, Florida. ADVOCACY BEFORE STATE REGULATORY COMMISSIONS.

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ADVOCACY AT STATE REGULATORY COMMISSIONS: THE BASICS

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Advocacy at state regulatory commissions the basics

ADVOCACY AT STATE REGULATORY COMMISSIONS:THE BASICS

Theo MacGregor

MacGregor Energy Consultancy

www.DemocracyAndRegulation.com

Presented at the

National Community Action Foundation

Conference

October 25, 2006

St. Petersburg, Florida


Advocacy before state regulatory commissions

ADVOCACY BEFORE STATE REGULATORY COMMISSIONS

  • THEPROCESS

  • ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES

  • HOW ADVOCATES CAN PARTICIPATE

  • WHAT YOU NEED TO PRESENT

  • AND WHEN

  • WHAT REGULATORS NEED FROM YOU

  • WHAT YOU CAN WIN

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


The process

THE PROCESS

  • PUBLIC FILING BY UTILITY

    • RATE CASE

    • FUEL OR POWER COST ADJUSTMENT CASE

    • MERGER/ACQUISITION

    • INTEGRATED RESOURCE PLAN

    • PERFORMANCE-BASED RATEMAKING

      (SOMETIMES PETITION FILED BY ADVOCATES)

  • PUBLIC NOTICE

  • INTERVENTION

  • PUBLIC HEARINGS IN SERVICE TERRITORY

  • PROCEDURAL MEETING TO SET SCHEDULE

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


The process cont

THE PROCESS cont.

  • DISCOVERY:

    • FORMAL WRITTEN QUESTIONS TO UTILITY BY ALL

    • INDEPENDENT RESEARCH

    • NEGOTIATION

    • COALITION FORMING

    • FOLLOW-UP DISCOVERY

    • ANSWERS SUPPLIED TO PUC AND ALL PARTIES BY UTILITY

  • FILINGS BY PARTIES (TESTIMONY, ALTERNATIVE PROPOSALS)

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


The process cont1

THE PROCESS cont.

  • DISCOVERY ON PARTIES’ FILINGS BY ALL

  • ANSWERS BY PARTIES TO PUC, UTILITY AND OTHERS

  • PUBLIC HEARINGS FOR CROSS-EXAMINATION ON TESTIMONY AND DISCOVERY RESPONSES

  • WRITTEN BRIEFS AND REPLY BRIEFS SUMMARIZING POSITIONS

  • IN SOME STATES, DRAFT DECISION BASED ON RECORD

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


The process cont2

THE PROCESS cont.

  • MORE BRIEFS OR COMMENTS ON DRAFT

  • SOMETIMES, ORAL ARGUMENTS ON DRAFT DECISION

  • COMMISSION DECISION, OR ORDER

  • MOTIONS TO CLARIFY OR RECONSIDER

  • FILING BY UTILITY TO COMPLY WITH ORDER

  • APPEAL (IF ANY)

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


Essential principles of ratemaking

ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES OF RATEMAKING

1)DUE PROCESS: RIGHTS OF TRANSPARENCY AND PARTICIPATION

2)PRICES MUST BE “JUST AND REASONABLE”

3)UTILITY INVESTMENTS MUST NOT BE ARBITRARILY CONFISCATED

4)CONFLICTING INTERESTS MUST BE BALANCED

5)PRICES MUST BE RELATED TO COSTS

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


How advocates can participate

HOW ADVOCATES CAN PARTICIPATE

  • BECOME INFORMED

    ABOUT THE PROCESS

    ABOUT THE COMMISSION

    ABOUT THE ISSUES THAT AFFECT YOUR CONSTITUENCY

  • MEET AND DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE UTILITY PEOPLE WHO AFFECT YOUR CLIENTS

    COMMUNITY RELATIONS

    CREDIT AND COLLECTIONS

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


How advocates can participate1

HOW ADVOCATES CAN PARTICIPATE

  • LIHEAP

  • WEATHERIZATION AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY

  • DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS WITH PUC COMMISSIONERS AND STAFF

    DIVISION DIRECTORS

    CONSUMER STAFF

    LEGAL STAFF/HEARING OFFICERS/ALJs

  • GET ON NOTIFICATION LIST – ASK TO BE NOTIFIED BY STAFF

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


How advocates can participate2

HOW ADVOCATES CAN PARTICIPATE

  • FIND OUT IF THERE IS FUNDING AVAILABLE

    DEMOCRACY AND JUSTICE REQUIRE RESOURCES

  • BE READY TO INTERVENE ANYTIME A UTILITY PETITIONS FOR ANYTHING AND INTERVENE! USE LEVERAGE

  • IF NOT FORMAL CASE, BE PREPARED TO PARTICIPATE IN TECHNICAL OR INFORMAL PROCEEDINGS

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


How advocates can participate3

HOW ADVOCATES CAN PARTICIPATE

  • FORM COALITIONS WITH LIKELY (AND UNLIKELY) PARTNERS

  • ASK FOR FUNDING IF IT IS AVAILABLE

  • MARSHAL YOUR CLIENTS AS WITNESSES IN PUBLIC HEARINGS

  • CALL THE PRESS – GIVE INTERVIEWS

    BE THERE! ALL THE TIME

    EVERY TIME

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


What you need to present and when

WHAT YOU NEED TO PRESENTAND WHEN

  • PETITION TO INTERVENE AT OUTSET

  • DESCRIBE INTEREST IN CASE

  • SHOW THAT YOU REPRESENT UNIQUE GROUP

  • NOT OTHERWISE REPRESENTED BY CONSUMER ADVOCATE

  • OUTLINE POSITION YOU WILL TAKE IN CASE

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


What you need to present and when1

WHAT YOU NEED TO PRESENTAND WHEN

  • ATTEND PUBLIC HEARINGS IN FORCE WITH CLIENT STORIES

  • PARTICIPATE IN PROCEDURAL CONFERENCE TO SET SCHEDULE

  • IF GRANTED STATUS, ISSUE DISCOVERY TO UTILITY

  • FORM COALITIONS – BEGIN NEGOTIATIONS

  • SUBMIT TESTIMONY AND EXHIBITS SUPPORTING YOUR POSITION

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


What you need to present and when cont

WHAT YOU NEED TO PRESENTAND WHEN cont.

  • CROSS EXAMINE UTILITY WITNESSES

  • BE CROSS EXAMINED

  • SUBMIT BRIEFS AND REPLY BRIEFS

  • AWAIT COMMISSION ORDER

  • START AGAIN

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


What regulators need from you

WHAT REGULATORS NEED FROM YOU

  • YOUR EXPERTISE

  • RESEARCH FINDINGS

  • DATA ON LOW-INCOME UTILITY CUSTOMERS

  • INCOME LEVELS – HOW MANY POOR PEOPLE? HOW POOR?

  • LEVELS OF ARREARAGES

  • NUMBER OF DISCONNECTIONS

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


What regulators need from you1

WHAT REGULATORS NEED FROM YOU

  • NUMBER NEEDING WEATHERIZATION, ENERGY EFFICIENCY

  • DEVELOP A RECORD BASED ON EVIDENCE

  • POLITICAL COVER FOR WHAT THEY WANT TO DO

  • SETTLEMENTS BETWEEN YOU AND THE UTILITY, YOU AND OTHERS

    BECOME ESSENTIAL TO THE COMMISSION!

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


What you can win

WHAT YOU CAN WIN

  • AFFORDABILITY PROGRAMS

  • DISCOUNTS

  • PIPPs

  • ARREARAGE MANAGEMENT WITH BUDGET COUNSELING

  • CONSUMER PROTECTIONS

  • WINTER OR SUMMER MORATORIA

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


What you can win1

WHAT YOU CAN WIN

  • LOW OR NO DEPOSITS, LATE FEES, OR RECONECT FEES

  • INSTALLMENT BILLING REQUIREMENTS

  • EFFICIENCY AND WEATHERIZATION PROGRAMS

  • ENERGY USE EDUCATION PROGRAMS

    BE PATIENT, BUT BE PERSISTENT!

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


About the speaker

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Theo MacGregor has over 20 years' experience in energy issues, with particular emphasis on low-income issues and energy efficiency. She served more than ten years with the Electric Power Division of the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE), the state's utility regulator. She is currently the sole proprietor of MacGregor Energy Consultancy, specializing in electric industry issues in general, low-income, consumer protection, and energy efficiency issues in particular, for government agencies, low-income advocates, attorneys general, utility companies, consumer advocates, and others.

She is co-author with Jerrold Oppenheim of “The Economics of Poverty: How Investments to Eliminate Poverty Benefit All Americans” and, also with Jerrold Oppenheim together with Greg Palast, of Democracy and Regulation, published in February 2003 by Pluto Press, London, and winner of the Upton Sinclair "Freedom of Expression" award.

More information is available on her website, www.DemocracyAndRegulation.com.

MacGregor Energy Consultancy


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