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.
How do we regulate the regulator? Recent events in the United States challenge the notion of regulatory independence. For example, Florida Governor Crist attempted to direct Florida Public Service Commission decisions on electric pricing and renewable energy.
In Illinois, former Governor Blagojevich pressured a chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission into resigning. The Maryland legislature's disbanding of the Maryland Public Service Commission over the governor's veto is a case study in political interests trumping good government.
Read more in "How do we Regulate the Regulator?" by PURC Director Dr. Mark Jamison.
Find PURC Water Studies Director Sanford Berg's latest water resources on his web page, Sandy's Selections.
Read more at Sandy's Selections.
Training Programs and Events
Congratulations to this year's graduates of the PURC/World Bank Program. In June, a record 115 participants from 39 nations came to enhance their economic, technical, and policy skills. In January of this year, 89 regulatory professionals representing 37 nations attended the program. Key lessons from both programs, co-authored by the participants and Dr. Sandy Berg, are available on Sandy's Selections.
Since the program's inception in 1997, the number of utility regulators and managers who have graduated from the program totals 2,332. The 29th delivery of the PURC/World Bank International Training Program is scheduled January 10-21, 2011.
International Industrial Organization Conference
Congratulations to the University of Oulu's Maria Kopsakangas-Savolainen and Rauli Svento who were awarded the PURC-sponsored Best Paper Award at the 8th Annual IIOC Conference in May for their paper, Comparing Welfare Effects of Different Regulation Schemes: An Application to the Electricity Distribution Industry.
Methods in Radio Spectrum Planning and Management
Turks and Caicos Islands Telecommunications Commissioners, staff, and industry professionals examined techniques for allocating and assigning radio spectrum in this workshop delivered in April 2010 by PURC Director Mark Jamison.
The 25 participants first consider the physics of radio signals and how they determine the best uses for various bands of radio spectrum. They also reviewed the use and development of spectrum maps. Particular attention was paid to how spectrum is assigned to users. Approaches included auctions, administrative pricing based on costs or on market demand, secondary markets, spectrum sharing, and private negotiations.
More information can be found on our Specialized Courses page.
Practicing Leadership in a Political Environment: A One-Day Intensive Training Workshop for Emerging Leaders in Utility Policy
This PURC leadership workshop, scheduled January 22, 2011, will examine the activities, behaviors, mindsets and skills of a successful leader. Participants will learn to identify and build a leadership style that encourages collaboration and team cohesiveness.
They will also consider the personal practices of successful leaders in developing vision, resolving conflicts and setting priorities.
Energy Risk USA
The quantification of the marginal effects of CO2 emissions pricing, discussed at a conference in May 2010, is important to not only determine the costs associated with environmental policy, but also to evaluate policy alternatives. Further, these emissions costs may have additional implications for energy policy.
Speaking at Energy Risk USA in Houston, PURC Director of Energy Studies Ted Kury discussed some results from efforts to model the effects of emissions pricing in Florida and their implications for the global energy industry. He first discussed the problem of 'flat spots' on the emissions surface, areas where an increase in emissions costs results in little reduction in emissions, and talked about why the areas where these flat spots occur are likely to differ across markets. He then discussed the effects of emissions pricing on the economic value of technology such as plug-in hybrids, electricity storage, and appliances that can delay their operating cycle, and showed how these prices might destroy the economic value of these technologies.
Water Utility Benchmarking in Mexico
More than 200 participants learned about the strengths and limitations of current initiatives to improve data collection and analysis during the presentation "Benchmarking: Indicators for Measuring Water Utility Performance," delivered by Director of Water Studies Sanford Berg at a May 2010 seminar on Information Systems Analysis for Water Utility Operators in Metepec.
The event was sponsored by the Instituto Mexicano de Tecnologio del Agua and the National Association of Water Companies (ANEAS). Read more on our news & events page.
6th Annual Lecture of the Fair Trading Commission
What does regulation look like in 10 years? That will depend upon how well we manage change, according to PURC Director Mark Jamison.
During his presentation in March, "Function, Formulas and Fiction", he explained that there are some things that will remain important in regulation. These include treating investment fairly, providing economic incentives for services and efficiency, providing transparent regulatory processes that engage stakeholders, and developing strong institutions and respecting lines of authority. Read more on our news & events page.
The Gator Nation
PURC is pleased to welcome PURC Visiting Research Scholars Krittipohn Sriyabhandha and Narongpol Chotset from the National Telecommunications Commission of Thailand. During their stay, they will assist the PURC team on various research projects and programs.
PURC extends its congratulations to Félix Gakuba, a graduate of the PURC/World Bank International Training Program on Utility Regulation and Strategy. He has been named director of Energy, Infrastructure and Communication of the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL), a sub-regional organization designed to promote regional economic cooperation and integration. The three member states of the CEPGL are Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda.
More news from The Gator Nation can be found on our news & events page.