34th Annual PURC Conference: 1907-2007 - A Century of Utility Regulation: Looking forward to the Next Hundred Years
February 15 - 16, 2007
Gainesville, FL USA
Following the 33rd Annual Conference in 2006 that emphasized what was learned during the 100 years of regulation in the United States, this event looked toward the decades ahead.
We know that new technologies, evolving policy initiatives, and changes in key input prices will alter the way infrastructure services are delivered in the future.Uncertain operating conditions and changing risk profiles of companies have financial implications for the cost and type of future infrastructure investments. These risks warrant attention as we consider likely scenarios in the years to come. One large source of uncertainty is potential climate change policy in the energy industry. Similarly, digital convergence and proposals for further deregulation create uncertainty regarding the likely structure of the telecommunications industry.
The first session presented views from Wall Street: how investor perceptions could affect the cost of capital and the type of investments that are viewed as financially sound. Technology investment choices have implications for the prices paid by Florida consumers and attributes of infrastructure service. In our electricity sessions, we explored climate change policy as well as the role of energy efficiency and demand-side management policies in meeting environmental concerns, security of supply, and investment needs. Our telecommunications sessions focused on the effects of innovation and competition on investment and the contentious problem of universal service fund payments and allocations. There is no simple road map for the future, but good stewardship requires that we consider the implications of signposts that are beginning to appear along the way.