May 2015

Does Your Utility Need a Risk-Based Approach to Easements and Rights-of-Way?

May 28, 2015 by Philip B. McKiernan, Partner
Underlying any utility system, whether it be an electric, gas, water or wastewater system, are the land rights on which it is built. A utility’s rights in land include the outright or “fee” ownership of land on which it may site significant assets, e.g. a power plant. Land rights also include the more economically acquired rights-of-way on which a utility locates distribution or collection facilities.

Timely Cost Recovery: Specialized Rate Mechanisms to Maximize Cost Recovery

May 27, 2015 by Kay Pashos, Steven W. Krohne,
Why are utilities exploring alternatives to traditional rate regulation now more than ever? For two reasons—costs generally increase during periods between rate cases, and utilities more frequently need to make large, new investments in generation, transmission or distribution-system improvements as a result of aging infrastructures. When rates are established in a rate case based upon current or historical investments, it becomes difficult for the utility to recover costs and earn its authorized return in a timely manner.

Settlement Agreements Under the 300-Day Rule

In Indiana-American Water Company’s recent rate case (IURC Cause No. 44450), the utility and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) reached a settlement agreement, and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) had not issued an order by the time the 300 days had lapsed.

Interim Rates During Rate Cases

The second part of Senate Enrolled Act 560 added a new subsection (Indiana Code § 8-1-2-42.7(e)) authorizing a utility to place into effect on an interim, temporary basis, 50% of a proposed rate increase, but not until 300 days after the utility has filed its case-in-chief supporting its request for a rate increase. 

Potential Challenges with the Use of Future or Hybrid Test Periods

Some utilities that choose to use fully- or partially-forecasted test periods may find it difficult to comply with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission's (IURC) Minimum Standard Filing Rule, which was designed for historic test periods. If a utility intends to file a rate case using a future or hybrid test period, it will be important to methodically assess how each of the minimum standard filing requirements can best be addressed for the selected test period. 

StartUp Week a Resounding Success

May 18, 2015
Here’s a shout out to UpGlobal for bringing StartUp Week to Columbus May 4-8.  Over 1500 persons attended over 70 programs throughout the community in tracks diverse as food and beverage, retail and fashion as well as the expected business, entrepreneurship and technology.

Ice Miller's Jim Snyder speaks at 2015 CDFA Illinois Financing Roundtable Conference

May 15, 2015 by James M. Snyder, Partner

IURC’s Recommended ‘Best Practices’ for Rate Cases Submitted Under Indiana Code § 8-1-2-42.7

Following the passage of Indiana Code § 8-1-2-42.7, the IURC issued General Administrative Order 2013-5. This GAO outlined best practices for pursuing rate cases under section 42.7 including:

Ice Miller Co-Hosts Sixth Annual DuPage Outlook Event with Illinois Governor Rauner as Keynote

May 13, 2015
Ice Miller’s Chicago/DuPage County offices were once again pleased to cohost the sixth annual DuPage County Regional Business Outlook event with the economic development group Choose DuPage and Mesirow Financial. 

Rate Case Test Periods Allowed Under New Indiana Code § 8-1-2-42.7

The first part of Senate Enrolled Act 560 adds a new section to the Indiana Public Service Commission Act (Ind. Code § 8-1-2-42.7(d)), addressing the “test periods” that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission “shall” approve when used by utilities in general base-rate cases. 

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