PURC Update

January 2014

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, policy makers, 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.


Sandy's Selections

Good Governance for State-Owned Water Utilities

This study presents key findings from the author’s recent report to the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The fundamental lesson that emerges from that survey of developing countries is that sector regulation has to be embedded in an adequate and consistent institutional framework in order to have a positive impact on performance. Sector regulation, by itself, is no guarantee of performance improvements in the drinking water supply and sanitation sector. Case studies and empirical analyses suggest that without significant changes in the supporting institutions, the standard tools of regulation will not be effective This conclusion is disturbing, especially for developing countries, since it means that the establishment of a regulatory agency might raise hopes, but ultimately, the agency’s rules are unlikely to improve performance without additional, politically difficult initiatives.

“Regulation in Rural Areas” by Sophie Tremolot

This report outlines steps governments, NGOs, and others can take to promote improved performance for rural water utilities. For additional sources on regulation see Water Services that Last


Upcoming Courses and Events

41st Annual PURC Conference

February 19 - 20, 2014

The 41st Annual PURC Conference, “Politics & Policy: What is Next for Utilities?” will examine regulation’s ability to deal with uncertainty.

Economics of Pricing

March 17 – April 27, 2014

What drives costs? How do customers react to prices? What impacts do subsidies have?

Build your foundation for difficult utility pricing decisions with our new online course “Economics of Pricing.” Learn from experts and exchange experiences and best practices with peers through the latest in internet technology.

The course Economics of Pricing is designed to introduce engineers, lawyers, and other professionals to the conceptual framework for designing price structures in infrastructure industries. When implemented, these rate designs can promote efficiency and financial sustainability. In addition, the course will show how to minimize the efficiency impacts of cross-subsidies when several customers in separated markets are purchasing one or more products from a network. This foundational material will help decision-makers develop rate structures that promote financial sustainability, while encouraging efficiency and fairness.

36th PURC/World Bank International Training Program on Utility Regulation and Strategy

June 9 – 20, 2014

The PURC/World Bank International Training Program on Utility Regulation and Strategy 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.

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.

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

June 21, 2014

International regulatory professionals will examine the activities, behaviors, mindsets, and skills of a successful leader during this training workshop designed by PURC for leaders in utility policy.

Workshop objectives include:

  • Discovering how to identify the strengths and weaknesses 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 tools effective leaders use to achieve excellence.
  • Receiving feedback from trusted colleagues in order to develop skills for managing oneself and others.
PURC Advanced International Practices Program:
  • Energy Pricing
  • Benchmarking Infrastructure Operations
  • Telecom Policy and Regulation for Next Generation Networks

July 27- August 7, 2014

Program participants 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 will emphasize practical lessons and new techniques for addressing the most pressing pricing, market, and process issues.

PURC Executive Academy

PURC is developing an executive academy for senior managers and executives in utilities and regulatory agencies. The academy will assist them with organizational development, strategy, managing the political context and aligning purpose with stakeholders.

Risk Management Training for NARUC

How can commissions ensure that they are making smarter risk-based decisions? PURC and the National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI) will offer NARUC and the PUCs with three one-day trainings on the application of probability, understanding of risk modeling, strategies for risk management, and sources of risk in the electric utility industry. This training has been developed in response to the NARUC Request for Proposals to Develop Training Programs for Risk-Based Decision-Making for State Public Utility Commissions issued December, 18, 2012, and will be delivered in 2014.


Recent Training Programs and Events

35th PURC/World Bank International Training Program on Utility Regulation and Strategy

Congratulations to the graduates of the 35th delivery of this program. In January 2014, 75 participants travelled from 31 nations for the 35th delivery of this program to enhance their economic, technical, and policy skills.

34th PURC/World Bank International Training Program on Utility Regulation and Strategy

June 10 - 21, 2013

Congratulations to the graduates of the 34th delivery of this program. In June 2013, 82 participants from 33 nations came to enhance their economic, technical, and policy skills. Key lessons are available online. The 35th delivery of this training program is currently happening and the 36th delivery of this training is scheduled for June 9 – 20, 2014.

2013 PURC Advanced International Practices Program: Energy Pricing, Benchmarking Infrastructure Operations, and Telecom Policy and Regulation for Next Generation Networks

Congratulations to the 26 participants who traveled from 15 nations to attend the 2013 advanced courses in PURC’s Advanced International Practices Program. The 2013 courses provided experienced utility professionals with a comprehensive understanding of cutting-edge matters of infrastructure policy.

Energy Pricing

Participants of the energy course performed price reviews and analyzed financial statements for rate setting.

Benchmarking Infrastructure Operations

Benchmarking participants assessed how information on trends in key performance indicators helps decision-makers.

Telecom Policy and Regulation for Next Generation Networks

Telecom participants examined the foundations, drivers, and policy priorities for next generation networks.

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

Congratulations to the 17 emerging leaders who completed the leadership workshop, Practicing Leadership in a Political Environment on January 25th and congratulations to the 16 emerging leaders who completed the workshop on June 22, 2013! They learned to identify and build a leadership style that encourages collaboration and team cohesiveness.

Economics of Pricing

Congratulations to the first group of participants to complete the Economics of Pricing Course held October 28 – December 8, 2013 through PURC’s online learning platform. The course was designed to introduce engineers, lawyers, and other professionals to the conceptual framework for designing price structures in infrastructure industries. When implemented, these rate designs can promote efficiency and financial sustainability. In addition, the course illustrated how to minimize the efficiency impacts of cross-subsidies when several customers in separated markets are purchasing one or more products from a network. This foundational material will help decision-makers develop rate structures that promote financial sustainability, while encouraging efficiency and fairness.

Best Practices in Water Sector Regulation in the Danube Region and Beyond workshop

November 25 - 27, 2013
Florence, Italy

The “Best Practices in Water Sector Regulation in the Danube Region and beyond” workshop was organized by IWAD International Association of Water Supply Companies in the Danube River in association with University of Florida. This event was held in Florence, Italy and was attended by representatives from the regulatory authorities of: Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Kosovo, Croatia, Ukraine and Italy. The moderation of the event was led by Dr. Sanford V. Berg, University of Florida. Other invited participants were Mr. Jon Stern, professor of City London University and the President of ERSAR Portugal, Mr. Jaime Baptista.

All representatives introduced Regulatory Practices of their countries and discussed the characteristics, initiatives and remaining challenges. The workshop topics included: Approaches to Rate-Setting, Economics of Pricing, Regional Performance Indicator System: DANUBIS etc. This event served as good source of information about the practices of the region. Also, the questions and discussions at the end of every session clarified several aspects about similarities and differences between Danube region regulatory authorities.


Customized Training Programs

Training Program on Broadcasting Competition for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission of Thailand

Gainesville, FL, USA

In November 2013, PURC is provided a one-week course on broadcasting competition. The course examined the media convergence, channel sharing policies, the effects on competition, and emerging trends in broadcasting competition. The course was conducted for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission of Thailand.

Purpose and Role of Utility Regulation Video Training for the Florida Public Service Commission

This module was designed to provide new regulatory staff with a basic understanding of why Florida regulates utilities and the role that regulation plays in ensuring sufficient and efficient utility service for the state. This module would also be useful to new commissioners and experienced staff wanting to renew their understanding of purpose and role.

Basics of Utility Regulation Video Training for the Florida Public Service Commission

This module was designed to provide new regulatory staff with a basic understanding of how the main features of regulation are performed and the issues faced. This video module would also be useful to new commissioners and experienced staff wanting to renew their understanding of the bigger picture of regulation.

PURC Regulatory Training Course for the Project Management Unit of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)

Accra, Ghana

In August of this year, Dr. Ted Kury and Dr. Rajnish Barua delivered a one week regulatory foundations training for officers from Transmission Company of Nigeria, Ministry of Power, Presidential Task Force on Power, Project Management Unit in Accra, Ghana.

Leadership Development in Utility Regulation Training Program for the Florida Public Service Commission

Tallahassee, FL, USA

Delivered twice this year, this training seminar series provided 35+ FPSC staff members with technical and practical information to develop leadership and management skills in a state regulatory agency.

PURC Regulatory Training Course for Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)

Accra, Ghana

This training program not only focused on regulatory foundations but also provided training on regulatory issues that NERC needs to fulfill its many obligations for the long run. The five-day course was conducted twice over two consecutive weeks for about 100 staff members in April of this year in Accra, Ghana.

Regulation of Next Generation Networks Training for the Hong Kong Office of Communications Authority

Hong Kong

How can regulators address the new issues created by next generation networks (NGN)? This was the theme of a course provide by PURC for OFCA in February 2013. The course examined NGN technologies, radio spectrum issues, regulatory convergence, innovation, connectivity, pricing, network economics, and universal service.

Fundamentals of Utility Regulation Training for the Florida Public Service Commission

Tallahassee, FL, USA

PURC delivered a three-day training which provided an overview of the fundamentals of utility regulation in Florida for 65+ FPSC staff members during January and February of this year.

Course on Infrastructure Sharing for Broadcasting for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission of Thailand

Gainesville, FL, USA

In December 2012, PURC provided a course on infrastructure sharing in broadcasting. The course examined the economics and logistics of sharing, business models for infrastructure sharing, the effects on competition, and emerging trends in resource sharing. The course was conducted for the NBTC of Thailand.

Interested in a customized course for your organization? Email Us (araceli.castaneda at warrington.ufl.edu).


Presentations

Can mergers lead firms to more rapidly adopt new technologies?

January 3-5, 2014
Philadelphia, PA, USA

Yes, according to research by PURC director Dr. Mark Jamison and his co-author, Dr. Janice Hauge. Speaking at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association, Drs. Jamison and Hauge explained that while a merger often means a decrease in competitive pressures, which can lead to higher prices for customers, the decreased pressure also means that the merging firms can profit more from new technologies than they could before the merger.

Making Energy Efficiency Real for the People

November 19, 2013
Orlando, FL, USA

Energy efficiency can be an important part of a state’s resource portfolio, but consumers have been slow to embrace many programs. In his presentation "Making Energy Efficiency Real for the People" given to the NASUCA Annual Conference in Orlando, PURC Director of Energy Studies Ted Kury discussed strategies for energy efficiency programs.

How is Florida doing in terms of energy efficiency?

November 17, 2013
Orlando, FL, USA

Quite well, according to research conducted for the Florida Public Service Commission and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Florida's programs are both effective and cost efficient. PURC Director Mark Jamison presented the research to the NARUC Staff Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment at the 125th NARUC annual meeting in Orlando on November 17, 2013.

Electricity Market Reform in Nigeria: Learn from the Past or Doomed to Repeat It?

November 17, 2013
Orlando, FL, USA

Nigeria is in the midst of an energy market reform effort that will almost certainly serve as a model for future reform efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa. It remains to be seen whether that model will be one to emulate or to avoid. In his presentation “Electricity Market Reform in Nigeria – Learn from the Past or Doomed to Repeat It?” given to the International Relations Committee at the 125th NARUC Annual Meeting in Orlando, PURC Director of Energy Studies Ted Kury discussed these efforts.

Energy Efficiency as part of carbon reduction efforts in the EU

November 17, 2013
Orlando, FL, USA

Dr. Holt discussed her recent research (with Mary Galligan), which focused on the varying policy approaches to energy efficiency in the United States and the EU at the 125th NARUC Annual Meeting in Orlando.

PURC's Participation in the Association of Latin American Water Regulators' Annual Meeting

November 14 - 17, 2013
Montevideo, Uruguay

Dr. Sanford Berg gave several presentations at the Annual meeting of this regional association. He focused on governance issues associated with the regulation of municipal and state-owned utilities.

Will U.S. Universal Service Policies Endure?

November 13, 2013
Las Vegas, NV USA

Not according to PURC director, Mark Jamison. Speaking at the 2013 NECA Expo in November, Dr. Jamison explained that today's universal service policies suffer from the collision of three forces that make significant reform inevitable.

How can performance of state-owned utilities be improved?

November 6 - 8, 2013
Belize

The answers lie in aligning work inside and outside the utility. Addressing the 11th Annual Conference of the Organisation of Utility Regulators, PURC Director Mark Jamison explained that work inside the utility should be patterned after best practices in successful privately-owned companies, including focusing on financial success, strategic plans, aligning staff incentives with operator financial objectives, and taking down silos, all within the boundaries established by regulatory agencies.

Water is a Sick Sector: Where are the Healers?

October 9, 2013
Orlando, Florida, USA

A strong case can be made that water reforms will not take place, due to the political economy of water: key stakeholders will block needed reforms, further delaying investments. Drawing upon some recent experiences in the developed and developing world, one can identify some bright spots that illustrate how leadership can improve water sector performance.

How can regulation of energy utilities be improved?

October 8, 2013
Orlando, Florida, USA

That was the question for a PURC workshop at Gartner Symposium ITXPO 2013 in Orlando, Florida, on October 8, 2013. Utility executives from North and South America discussed problems of political interference, lack of understanding of the utility business, lack of accountability, and economic incentives that encourage inefficiency.

PURC Leadership Workshop at Gartner Symposium ITXPO 2013

October 9, 2013
Orlando, FL, USA

“In five years from now, what do you want to have accomplished, what do you want to be most proud of?” This is the question that PURC director of Leadership Studies, Araceli Castaneda asked a group of Chief Information Officers during the PURC leadership workshop conducted at the Gartner Group Symposium ITXPO 2013 in Orlando, Florida on October 9. The question prompted the discussion among CIOs, a Gartner Group representative, PURC Director, Mark Jamison, and Araceli Castaneda, who identified and debated some of the current and future challenges being faced as CIOs. Clear subjects of concern moving into the future ranged from cultural shifts within their organizations to the lack of understanding between industry and regulatory bodies on roles and regulatory matters. The session ended with a call for action on what, as leaders in their field, the CIOs should do to face these issues.

The Battle of Undergrounding Transmission

October 7, 2013
Richmond, VA, USA

The costs and benefits of relocating power lines underground is a complicated question. Organizers of the 2013 EEI/NRECA Transmission Siting Workshop brought Dr. Ted Kury, Director of Energy Studies and Roger Anderson of Columbia University together to deliver the keynote presentation in Richmond, Virginia.

What are the essential features of an effective utility regulatory system?

September 16, 2013
Barbados

This was the topic of PURC director, Mark Jamison's, presentation at the CARILEC Regulatory Forum 2013 in Barbados on September 16, 2013. Speaking on the topic of “Economics of Best Practices Regulation”, Dr. Jamison explained that an essential feature of regulation is protecting customers from politics as well as from operator market power.

Consumer Engagement in Regulation: Panacea or Paralysis?

July 25 - 26, 2013
Brisbane, Australia

Does customer involvement in regulation improve outcomes? Not always, according to PURC Director Mark Jamison. Speaking at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission annual conference in Brisbane, Australia, Dr. Jamison explained that the key question is, “Who do we expect to change when regulators and customers engage?”

Is the U.S. system for regulating electricity broken?

May 30, 2013
Kansas, USA

Maybe. But if regulators wait until it is clear that the system is broken before making changes, they will be too late. This was the underlying theme for PURC Director Mark Jamison’s seminar to the Kansas Corporation Commission.


The Gator Nation

PURC alumna, Elisa Kohlhase from Samoa, was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship for postgraduate studies in London while pursuing her LLM in Communications and Computer Law. Please join us in congratulating her on this achievement. Elisa attended the PURC World Bank International Training Program on Utility Regulation and Strategy in January of 2010 and attended the Energy Pricing and Benchmarking Infrastructure Operations advanced courses of the PURC Advanced International Practices Program in August of 2012.

PURC Director of Energy Studies, Ted Kury completed his Ph. D. in August 2013. Ted's dissertation was on the effectiveness of energy markets and on carbon pricing.

Dr. Ted Kury's dissertation was listed as a recommended read on LinkedIn for those working in the electricity industry by Dr. Rajnish Barua, NRRI’s Executive Director and a PURC Senior Fellow.


PURC Alumni, we'd like to hear from you! Please let us know what you've accomplished since your time with us. Email Us (purcinfo at warrington.ufl.edu).

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

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