PURC Update

Fall 2011

Greetings! We bring you news from the Public Utility Research Center (PURC) at the University of Florida. Our electronic newsletter is designed to keep utility regulators, policymakers and infrastructure managers informed of our upcoming programs, research activities and news about colleagues and resources. We invite you to join our mailing list and receive our bulletins by email.

Director's Take

What's the best way to divert hurricanes and avoid damage to electric infrastructure? Maybe it's being ready to learn from the experience.

That is one way of interpreting Florida's experience. In the aftermath of the 2004-2005 hurricane season, when eight named storms caused a total of $15.5 million in customer losses from power outages, Florida embarked on a comprehensive reform preparing electric utilities for hurricanes. This effort included coordinated research through PURC on electric infrastructure and storm damage.

This research – funded by Florida's utilities and done in collaboration with them – included an in-depth look at the economics of hardening the state's electric system. A computer model developed for that purpose helps analyze the costs and benefits of undergrounding and other forms of hardening at a micro level. The research also included the deployment of an extensive network of weather monitoring devices to gather storm data and a companion software system for mapping the weather data to infrastructure damage.

Read more in "Hurricanes and Electric Utilities: Lessons from Florida" by PURC Director Dr. Mark Jamison.

Sandy's Selections

Dr. Sandy Berg, PURC director of Water Studies, directs your attention to the Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management website. The site contains a Toolbox for Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management. There are tools for capacity development in the area of water supply; the material is designed for capacity building. The site also contains tutorials on the benefits and costs of improving performance in the water and sanitation sector, demonstrating that integrated water resource management (including water use for irrigation) is crucial for long-term sustainability.

Read more at Sandy's Selections.

PURC Assistant Director Receives Top University Award

PURC Assistant Director Araceli Castaneda has been named 2011 International Educator of the Year by the University of Florida. Up to two awards are given annually for staff with significant international accomplishments that impact students, international partners, and university stakeholders, and that raise UF's global profile. Her achievements include developing and managing important international relationships for PURC, including relationships with the Associação Brasileira de Agências de Regulação, Fundação Getulio Vargas of Brazil, Organisation of Caribbean Utility Regulators, and Thammasat University in Thailand. Ms. Castaneda has managed PURC's flagship international training program that has trained more than 2,500 professionals from 149 countries since 1997, and managed other international projects, including programs in Brazil, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Thailand, Bermuda, and Costa Rica. She's taught leadership classes for utility professionals from more than 30 countries, including courses for government and industry in Turks & Caicos and Uganda. She has represented PURC at numerous international events and spoken at international programs in Mexico City, Peru, Guyana, and the United States. Finally, she ensures that UF students are involved in PURC's international outreach so that they, too, become globally engaged.

Upcoming Courses and Events

31st PURC/World Bank International Training Program on Utility Regulation and Strategy

January 9 - 20, 2012

Since 1997, utility regulators, policymakers, and infrastructure managers around the world have traveled to Gainesville, Florida to participate in the program. They learn problem-solving techniques, and exchange ideas and experiences during an international forum for the dissemination of relevant best practices and research.

The international training program is an intensive, two-week course specifically tailored to the professional requirements of utility regulators and regulatory staff. The course is designed to enhance the economic, technical, and policy skills required for implementing policies and managing sustainable regulatory systems for infrastructure sectors.

PURC Leadership Workshop – Practicing Leadership in a Political Environment: A One-Day Intensive Training Workshop for Emerging Leaders in Utility Policy

January 21, 2012

International regulatory professionals will examine the activities, behaviors, mindsets, and skills of a successful leader during this training workshop designed by PURC for emerging leaders in utility policy. Participants also will learn to identify and build a leadership style that encourages collaboration and team cohesiveness.

They will also consider the personal practices for successful leaders in developing vision, resolving conflicts, and setting priorities.

Workshop objectives include:

  • Discovering how to identify the key attributes of an organization.
  • Learning how executive leaders create an organizational focus and a creative tension around the most important priorities.
  • Developing an accountability system for addressing the most important challenges.
  • Creating a strategy for managing the relationships that are critical to success.
  • Identifying the current morale of one's workforce and learning intervention methods to create a truly great place to work.
  • Receiving feedback from trusted colleagues in order to develop skills for managing oneself and others.
39th Annual PURC Conference – Utility Policy Today: Do We Have Strategies or Just Tactics?

February 15-16, 2012

Strategy is a plan to achieve a goal, but what if the goals are still under debate or keep changing? Are regulators, utility professionals, and stakeholders able to formulate strategies, or are they reduced to tactics while policymakers debate? As PURC enters its 40th year of serving Florida, utility regulation remains a controversial and complex topic. Join us as we address key issues facing utilities, their regulators, and their customers.

2012 PURC Advanced International Practices Program: Energy Pricing, Benchmarking, and Telecom

Dates for the 2012 advanced courses have been selected: Energy Pricing, July 29 – Aug. 3, 2012; Benchmarking, Aug. 5 – 9, 2012; Telecom, Aug. 5 – 9, 2012. The application process opens March 16. Participants in the advanced courses will develop the skills they need to address today's complex infrastructure issues. Using case studies and presentations by PURC faculty and infrastructure experts, the courses in this program emphasize practical lessons and new techniques for addressing the most pressing pricing, market, and process issues.

Recent Training Programs and Events

2011 PURC Advanced International Practices Program: Energy Pricing, Benchmarking, and Telecom

Congratulations to the 49 participants who traveled from 16 nations to attend the 2011 courses in PURC's new advanced program. PURC developed the PURC Advanced International Practices Program in consultation with faculty and alumni of the PURC/World Bank International Training Program on Utility Regulation and Strategy. The 2011 courses in this new program provided experienced utility professionals with a comprehensive understanding of the technical matters of infrastructure policy.

Energy Pricing

July 31-August 5, 2011

In attendance were 33 infrastructure professionals from 11 different nations who participated in the PURC Energy Pricing course.

Benchmarking Infrastructure Operations

August 7-10, 2011

In attendance were 21 infrastructure participants from 8 nations who participated in the PURC Benchmarking Infrastructure Operations course.

Measuring Telecom Provider Costs

August 7-10, 2011

In attendance were 10 infrastructure participants from 7 nations who participated in the PURC Measuring Telecom Provider Costs course.

PURC In the News

Would Burying Power Lines Reduce Power Outages?

National Public Radio
August 29, 2011

National Public Radio interviewed Ted Kury, PURC director of Energy Studies, about the advantages and disadvantages of buried power lines in relation to Hurricane Irene.

Hurricane Irene Exposes Creaky American Infrastructure

The Huffington Post
August 30, 2011

The Huffington Post interviewed Ted Kury, PURC director of Energy Studies as authorities are looking at ways to reinforce the electrical grid.

South Asian Executives Receive PURC Training

May 2011

As part of the South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Program, the U.S. Energy Association (USEA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), sponsored six participants in PURC's 29th International Training Program on Utility Regulation and Strategy.

Find more PURC In the News items.


Annual Summit of the Florida Energy Systems Consortium

Four PURC experts presented information for energy professionals at the Annual FESC Summit, September 27-28 in Gainesville. PURC Director Dr. Mark Jamison chaired a session on energy policy, with Drs. Sanford Berg and Colin Knapp presenting papers describing ongoing PURC research in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

39th Telecommunications Policy Research Conference

Contrary to conventional wisdom, a merger between two large mobile telecom companies can benefit customers. This was the surprising message delivered by PURC Director Dr. Mark Jamison at the 39th TPRC, September 24 in Arlington, VA.

International Telecommunications Society in Hungary

Are the U.S. and Europe converging on a common telecom regulatory framework, or are they colliding? They are converging, according to PURC Director Mark Jamison, but he thinks they should collide.

In his keynote address to the International Telecommunications Society of Europe, September 19-20 in Budapest Hungary, Dr. Jamison explained that the rapid changes in telecommunications create uncertainty as to proper regulation.

Benchmarking: Performance Measurement - Economic and Service Quality Regulation

Yardstick comparisons are important tools for regulating utilities, said PURC Director of Water Studies Dr. Sanford Berg in his keynote address August 19 in Brazil at a conference organized for ARCE, the regulatory commission for water and electricity for the state of Ceará.

Regulating SOE's: A Leadership Approach

Is regulating a state-owned enterprise more complicated than a privately owned company? It is, according to PURC Director Dr. Mark Jamison, as he explained in the seminar, Regulating SOE's: A Leadership Approach, for the National Water Agency of Brazil, July 19 in Brasilia.

Find more presentations on the content leaders page.

Guest Editors

Dr. Sanford Berg and Dr. Rui Cunha Marques, Technical University of Lisbon, will serve as guest editors for a Utilities Policy Special Issue on Water Utility Regulation in Developed Countries. The submission deadline is January 31, 2012. Please email submissions to Dr. Sanford Berg (sberg at ufl.edu)u and Dr. Rui Cunha Marques (rui.marques at ist.utl.pt).

PURC Alumni Speak at the 9th OOCUR Annual Conference

Eleven participants of past PURC training programs were invited to speak at the 9th Organisation of Caribbean Utility Regulators Annual Conference, "Regulation and Competition: The Impact and Value in the Caribbean" November 2-4, 2011 in Barbados. More information can be found on the OOCUR site.


College Info

Warrington College of Business
BRY 100
PO Box 117150
Gainesville, FL 32611-7150
Phone: 352.392.2397
Fax: 352.392.2086

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