Members of the Energy Group frequently represent regulated utilities in all aspects of ratemaking before regulatory agencies. This includes representing electric T&D utilities and gas LDCs in traditional rate cases, involving issues such as return on equity, attrition, test year adjustments, amortizations, and prudency challenges. The group has also negotiated a number of long-term rate plans on behalf of electric and gas utilities, including performance based incentives, productivity offsets, minimum service quality standards, profit sharing and government mandates. The firm also has represented utilities in stranded cost rate cases arising out of the restructuring of the Maine electric utilities; requests for accounting orders providing for future recovery of extraordinary costs; and special rate agreements between utilities and large industrial customers.
The following are examples of rate cases handled by our Energy Group:
- Management Inefficiency - Represented Emera in its 2017 distribution rate case before the Maine PUC, which included: defeating Staff's proposed reduction to allowed return on equity for "management inefficiency"; approval of new expenditures, such as an enhanced vegetation management program; and recovery of increased storm restoration and employee benefits costs.
- Distribution Rate Case - Represented a Maine utility in a distribution rate case, involving numerous intervenors, including the Public Advocate and a number of customers. Significant issues in the case involved depreciation rates, return on equity, extraordinary storm costs and vegetation management expenses, and the allocation of certain costs between distribution and transmission. In a creative resolution, the case was settled along with two pending stranded cost rate cases in a comprehensive, Maine PUC-approved Stipulation.
- Management Audit- Represented Emera in its 2016 distribution rate case before the Maine PUC. The case involved issues relating to significant new capital investments, including Emera's new customer information system and a controversial substation investment. In the midst of the rate case, the Maine PUC ordered a formal management audit of Emera's customer service and transmission and distribution operations.
- Rate Design - Represented Emera in a rate design case before the Maine PUC to determine whether local distribution rates should be adjusted to reflect seasonal variations in the cost of providing electric distribution service.
- Natural Gas Rate Plan - Represented Summit Natural Gas in securing MPUC approval of their alternative rate plan or ARP. The ten-year rate plan provides for annual rate adjustments during the course of the ARP, return-on-equity sharing provisions, authority to enter into special rate agreements without prior Commission approval, recovery of natural gas conversion rebate costs, and a service line installation policy and metrics. The ARP was part of a larger proceeding in which Summit obtained the Commission's approval to begin providing service in Maine despite the opposition of an existing Maine gas utility.
- Stranded Cost Rate Case - Represented Emera in its 2014 stranded cost rate case. New stranded cost rates were expeditiously approved by the Maine PUC in less than three months, thereby delivering a stranded cost rate decrease to Emera customers. The case involved the flow through to ratepayers of settlement proceeds resulting from litigation involving spent nuclear fuel storage costs incurred by the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant.
- Rate Surcharge – Represented a Maine utility in negotiating a temporary rate surcharge on former ratepayers of an electric co-operative to recover the incremental costs of the utility acquiring the co-operative and directly serving its former ratepayers.
- Stranded Cost Rate Reconciliation – Represented Emera in multiple stranded cost reconciliation cases in which stranded cost revenues and expenses are reconciled annually with forecasted revenues and expenses.