FERC Accounting 101

FERC Accounting 101

The Basics of the Uniform System of Accounts (USofA) for Electric and Gas Utilities

July 20-21, 2021 | Online :: Central Time

“EUCI provided accountants and non-accountants alike an amazing opportunity to hear a professional in the industry and their experiences. The environment was warm and engaging, and I really enjoyed my time here.” Accountant Associate, El Paso Electric Company

“Not only for the accountants of a business. Anyone in the organization can relate and learn something new.” Business Coordinator, NV Energy

The overriding purpose of the Uniform System of Accounts (USofA) is to ensure uniformity and consistency in the reporting of the accounting transactions in the books and records of electric and gas utilities. Uniformity and consistency are important not only for regulators, but also for other parties requiring accounting information, such as utility management, shareholders, creditors and other parties to rate proceedings. Therefore, it is beneficial to anyone whose work involves public utilities to have a basic understanding of the FERC USofA since it is applicable both at the federal and state level.

This training in the basics of the FERC USofA will contain several modules, each one capsulizing a key component of the USofA. The course will highlight the development of the accounting system prescribed by FERC for electric and gas utilities. It will focus on the role of the USofA, the components of the USofA, and the role of USofA in the ratemaking (setting utility prices) process. To provide the attendees hands-on experience with the USofA, the final module in the course will contain classroom problems for the attendees to calculate a utility’s revenue requirement from USofA account balances.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to successfully:

  • Define public utilities and how their accounting systems are unique
  • Describe government agencies’ regulatory authority over public utilities and how they apply the USofA to electric and gas utilities
  • Explain the role of accounting in public utilities 
  • Demonstrate the structure and usage of the FERC Uniform System of Accounts for electric and gas utilities
  • Investigate Balance Sheet Accounts
  • Identify major categories of plant investments 
  • Examine Income Statement Accounts
  • Explain the process of accounting for utility property and associated depreciation
  • List major categories of expenses
  • Classify the concepts of capital versus expense 
  • Review USofA Financial Statements in the FERC Form No. 1 for electric utilities and the FERC Form No. 2 for gas utilities
  • Explain the work order process and project accounting
  • Examine the key concepts of Public Utility Depreciation
  • Review Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) and Allowance of Funds Used During Construction (AFUDC)
  • Discuss early retirement of utility plant and its associated accounting impacts
  • Define the impairment of utility assets 
  • List key differences between USofA accounting and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) 
  • Define the role of the USofA in the ratemaking process 

 

Agenda

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch Break

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Course Timing

Short breaks will be taken during each session 

Reviewing Public Utilities Regulations

  • Development of Public Utility Regulation
  • What is a Public Utility and What Makes their Accounting System Unique?
  • Regulating Public Utilities and the Impact on their Accounting Systems
    • Books and records
    • Accounting entries for requested transactions 
      • Sales
      • Acquisitions 
      • Gains
      • Losses
      • Refunds
      • Cost assignment and allocation (CAAM)
  • The Role of Accounting in Public Utilities 
    • Transparency
    • Uniformity between utilities for regulatory review

Understanding FERC Uniform System of Accounts (USofA): Electric and Gas Utilities

  • Development of the USofA
  • FERC USofA
  • Definitions
  • Instructions
    • General instructions
    • Plant instructions 
    • Operating expense instructions 

Differentiating between USofA Accounting and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

  • Schedule M Timing – Temporary and Permanent Differences

USofA Balance Sheet Accounts

  • What are the Balance Sheet Accounts?
  • Balance Sheet Accounts Classifications 
  • Major Categories of Utility Plant
    • Electric plant
      • Intangible plant
      • Generation
      • Transmission
      • Distribution
      • General plant
    • Gas plant
      • Intangible plant
      • Production plant
      • Natural gas storage and processing plant
      • Transmission
      • Distribution
      • General plant

USofA Income Statement Accounts

  • Creating Income Statement Accounts
    • What are the Income Statement Accounts?
    • How are revenue and expenses accounts classified?
    • Above-the- line expenses
    • Below-the-line expenses

FERC Form No. 1 and No. 2

  • Balance Sheets
  • Income Statements

Other USofA Topics

    • Classifying Capital Versus Expense
  • Construction work in progress (CWIP)
  • Allowance of funds used during construction (AFUDC)
  • Public utility depreciation
  • Early retirement of utility plant 
  • Impairment of utility assets
    • Regulatory assets 
    • Regulatory liabilities

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Course Timing

Short breaks will be taken during each session 

Accounting for Utility Plant

  • Work Order Systems
    • What is a work order?
    • Work order content
    • Initiating the work order
    • Closing out the work order
  • Records and Progress
    • Continuing property records
      • What are Continuing Property Records (CPRs)?
      • What information is provided by a CPR system?
      • What are the uses of CPRs

The Role of the USofA and the Ratemaking Process

  • Historical Cost and Ratemaking 
  • Revenue Requirements
  • Problem-solving Using USofA 
    • Using USofA account balances, we will calculate a utility’s revenue requirements (how much should a utility earn?).

Questions and Concluding Remarks

Instructors

Bill Steele, President, Bill Steele and Associates

Mr. Steele has over 40 years of experience in public utility regulation in which he has acquired an extensive knowledge of electric, gas and telecommunications industries.  Mr. Steele’s has expertise in utility accounting, revenue requirements, cost allocation, class cost-of-service studies, rate design, cost-of-capital, alternative forms of regulation, mergers and acquisitions. 

Prior to forming Bill Steele and Associates LLC in May of 2012, he spent 34 years with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as an advisor to the Commissioners, Mr. Steele served as an advisor to the three Colorado Public Utilities Commissioners and the Commission’s six Administrative Law Judges. Mr. Steele demonstrated his broad expertise in the areas of electricity and natural gas utility regulation, which included the areas of revenue requirements, cost-of-service analysis and rate design.  He also served in the role as the Commission’s subject matter expert in utility accounting and finance matters.

In addition, Mr. Steele’s advisory responsibilities included the training of new Commissioners as well as conducting in-house training courses on various utility issues, such as how to apply traditional regulatory principles to emerging issues in public utility regulation.

Prior to becoming a commission advisor, Mr. Steele supervised the Financial Analysts’ in the Commission’s Fixed Utilities Section for 17 years. His duties in that role included the training of new financial analysts, supervising audits of utility accounting systems, management practices, special investigations, as well as, providing expert testimony in over 50 regulatory proceedings on policy issues concerning accounting, financial, and management issues.

On January 5, 2018, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper by Executive Order (A 2008 002) appointed Mr. Steele to serve as a representative of small business on the Utility Consumers Board (UCB). Mr. Steele as a board member of UCB, provides to the Office of Consumer Counsel general policy guidance on matters that involve utility regulation and legislative matters.

Paul Schulz, Utility Rate Analyst, Montana Consumer Counsel

For 11 years Mr. Schulz has been the Utility Rate Analyst for the Montana Consumer Counsel working in the areas of revenue requirements, cost of service issues, cost of capital and rate design.  Mr. Schulz helps coordinate and edit the testimonies of other expert witnesses appearing for the Consumer Counsel in Montana utility dockets and also appears himself as an expert witness before the Montana PSC.  Mr. Schulz graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in Economics from Colorado State University and holds an M.S. degree in Accounting from the University of Virginia.  He is the first recipient of the Graduate Certificate in Public Utility Regulation and Economics from New Mexico State University and is one of the early recipients of the Certificate of Continuing Regulatory Education, which is endorsed by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and awarded by the Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University.  Currently, Mr. Schulz is a member of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates’ Gas Committee and is a member, and the former Meeting Registrar, of the NARUC Staff Subcommittee on Accounting and Finance where he has presented as well.  Since 2014, Mr. Schulz has been on faculty at the NARUC Utility Rate School.  He holds a Montana CPA license and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Online Delivery

Our courses are designed to be the best possible use of your valuable time – get the information you need to improve your position in the market in an interactive, dynamic format.

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.

Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.

  • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time. 

If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.

The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.

Register

Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

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Pack of 20 ConnectionsUS $ 14,340.00
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Cancellation Policy

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before June 18, 2021 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800

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Credits

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EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.1 CEUs for this event.

Upon successful completion of this event, program participants interested in receiving CPE credits will receive a certificate of completion.

Course CPE Credits: 11.5
There is no prerequisite for this Course.
Program Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Delivery Methood: Group-Live
Advanced Preperation: None

CpeEUCI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit.

Instructional Methods

This program will use PowerPoint presentations and group discussions, as well as active participation. Interactive exercises will be provided after each major presentation.

Instructional Methods

This program will use PowerPoint presentations and group discussions, as well as active participation. Interactive exercises will be provided after each major presentation.

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for anyone who wishes to obtain a basic understanding of the FERC USOA prescribed for electric and gas utilities. 

Commissioners 

Economists 

Rate analysts

Accountants

Attorneys 

Engineers

Public information officers

Administrative law judges

Utility personnel

Consultants

Consumer advocates 

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