Serving the energy industry for over 30 years
By - Jon Brown

Best Practices in Managing Your Risk Profile
Managing Your Risk While Investing in the Future
December 16-17, 2019 | Denver, CO

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The electric utility sector is facing many challenges today. Federal and state environmental requirements, aging generation and distribution systems, transmission capacity constraints and emerging technologies are just a few of these challenges. To compound this situation, anemic growth due to changing customer demand is adding more pressure on utilities. Electric utilities are facing unpresented challenges that affect their decisions on capital expenditure.

Given the highly-regulated nature of utilities, particularly those that operate in markets that have not been subject to deregulation, the nation’s three credit-rating agencies have identified the regulatory framework in which a utility operates as a key risk factor when establishing its credit rating. According to S&P, regulatory advantage is the most heavily weighted factor when analyzing a regulated utility’s business risk profile. For electric utilities, 25% of the total rating of the utility is based on the regulatory framework in which it operates. Similarly, institutional and private equity investors also look at the favorability or unfavourability of a utility’s regulator(s) as a key factor in establishing required returns.

The first day of this course will explore the potential risks from existing and forthcoming environmental and renewable regulations, as well as ways to think about positioning yourself for the potential changes in the electric sector. By reserving maximum optionality, you can prepare for the changes that will result from new customer demands, increasing amounts of distributed energy resources, electrification of transportation, new utility-scale renewable energy, cyber issues, and the need to maintain reliability and resiliency. You will also hear from Xcel Energy – Xcel has proactively identified the risks and challenges they face and decided to tackle them head-on with their latest corporate strategy, which will be discussed.

On day two, we’ll learn from rating agencies about the key factors they evaluate in determining ratings, hear from industry experts about more and less favorable regulatory climates in various jurisdictions, and how this affects investor interest. The debate between utilities and their regulators and intervenors regarding their authorized rate of return is often the most contentious facet of rate case filings and other related regulatory proceedings and will be discussed. The impacts of decoupling and rate stabilization mechanisms on return on equity will be considered, and lastly, specific activities utilities can engage in to improve relationships with their regulators, and thus improve the regulatory climate and (hopefully) achieve more favorable regulatory outcomes will be reviewed.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss how state policies are driving technology and technology is driving policies
  • Assess how to align policies with long term goal planning
  • Review business model development; Identify new trends with business models and how they expand opportunity and impact
  • Discuss the increases in environmental regulation and its effect on each state’s priority
  • Review how rating agencies are viewing utilities and the impact it is having on their ability to raise capital
  • Differentiate how the regulatory climate varies between different jurisdictions and why
  • Discuss how these differences are perceived by investors
  • Identify how improvements in communications can have a direct effect on the level of collaboration between all parties in a regulatory proceeding; the importance of transparency



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 0.9 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: 12.0
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.

Requirements for Successful Completion of the Program

Participants must sign in/out each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

PowerPoint presentations and case studies will be used in the program


Monday, December 16, 2019

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. :: State Policy’s Decision Making That Affects Risk Management

Much of the nation’s electric system is aging and major upgrades will be needed to incorporate new technologies and systems, changing market dynamics and shifting consumer preferences. Many of these new technologies enable modular solutions that, when considered and coordinated carefully, can reduce the potential for stranded costs and lower risk for ratepayers and the utility.  Energy stakeholders and policymakers across the country are working to determine the best options given the complexity and variety of grid modernization paths that can be taken, with some making efforts to develop decision-making frameworks that help determine which grid investments are worthwhile and minimize the potential for stranded investments. This session will discuss grid transformation, the technologies and policies that are driving this change, and how states are working to craft utility regulatory models that better align customer and utility goals in an environment of change and uncertainty.

  • State policies are driving technology and technology is driving policies
  • Aligning policies with long term goal planning
  • Business model development; better understanding of new trends with business models and how they expand opportunity and impact
  • Discussing the increases in environmental regulation and each states priority

Glen Andersen, Energy Program Director, National Conference of State Legislatures

9:30 – 10:00 a.m. :: Networking Break

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Utilities Need to be Proactive If They Want to be Financially Viable

There is less certainty and more risk in utility investments and capital expenditures than ever before, because new technologies are emerging as cost competitive and customers are demanding new services. One of the most important ways to prepare for uncertainty is to identify pathways that will allow maximum optionality (i.e., “real options”). In other words, it makes sense to avoid locking into an inflexible future so that pivoting to be ready for breakthrough technologies and business models is possible.

  • Energy markets are changing utility business models. Why should utilities plan for these changes now?
  • Examine ways to increase flexibility
  • Locking into one technology or future direction could cause additional expenditures
  • Utilities need to think about how they want to participate in the future and be proactive in their business model approach
  • The role of storage and microgrids will be important as storage is now cost competitive with Peaker plants

Karlynn Cory, Group Manager for Project Development & Finance in the Integrated Applications Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. :: From Planning to Procurement: Exploring Outcomes in Electric Utility Resource Planning

Integrated resource planning (IRP) is an important regulatory process used in many U.S. states to formulate and evaluate least-cost and risk-assessed portfolios to meet future load requirements for electric utilities. In principle, effective implementation of IRP seeks to assure regulators and the public that utility investment decisions, given uncertainty, are as cost-effective as possible. In this session, we track the planning to procurement process to understand into what extent this assumption is valid. In doing that, we explore key variables that may explain deviations between planning and procurement and provide recommendations to improve IRP policies and processes.

Learning objectives:

    • Understand the IRP process and how it is used for procurement
    • An overview of load forecasting methods in IRP and their advantages and disadvantages
    • Diagnose the historical accuracy of electric utility load forecasting and its role in explaining the relationship between planning and procurement
    • Other factors that affect the procurement process

Juan Pablo Carvallo, Electricity Markets and Policy Group, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. :: Networking Break

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. :: Proactively Identifying Risks & Challenges

Karen Hyde, VP, Chief Risk Officer and Chief Audit Executive, Xcel Energy

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. :: Factors Impacting Electric Sector Transformation

Everyone has questions about risk, because the unknowns are just that – unknown. Speakers will discuss their approaches to risk and risk management, capital investment decisions, factors transforming the electric sector, and approaches for preparing for the best opportunities and the largest challenges. After this discussion time will be allowed for the audience to ask the speakers questions.

Karlynn Cory, Group Manager for Project Development & Finance in the Integrated Applications Center, NREL

4:30 p.m. :: End of Day 1

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45 a.m. :: Overview of Day 1 and Introduction to Day 2

Rick Starkweather, Partner, ScottMadden, Inc.

8:45 – 11:30 a.m. :: Risk vs Reward – The Impact Your Regulatory Framework and Other Factors Have on Utility Financial Performance

Credit Rating Methodology and the Importance of Utility Regulation

As utilities address changing renewable and clean energy requirements, growing capital needs and new technologies, investors look to credit rating agencies to assess these risks as companies access the capital markets. This session will describe the factors Fitch Ratings uses to determine credit ratings, with an emphasis on the role of the regulatory environment. We will also address the impact of alternative regulatory approaches, such as performance-based ratemaking on investor owned utility ratings.

Jodi Hecht, Director, Fitch Ratings

RRA’S State Regulatory “Ratings”

Regulatory Research Associates, a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, evaluates the regulatory climate for energy utilities in each of the jurisdictions within the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a total of 53 jurisdictions, on an ongoing basis.  The evaluations are assigned from an investor perspective and indicate the relative regulatory risk associated with the ownership of securities issued by each jurisdiction’s energy utilities.  In this session we’ll learn about RRA’s evaluation process, the factors it considers in developing the state rankings, and key highlights from the most recent quarterly report.

Lillian Federico, Research Director, Regulatory Research Associates

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:15 – 11:30 a.m. :: Factors Affecting Authorized Return on Equity

Public utilities and regulators are implementing various forms of regulatory mechanisms that decouple revenues from commodity sales to remove a disincentive or create an incentive for utilities to invest in and encourage consumers to conserve electricity, natural gas and water. This session will explore the question of whether such regulatory mechanisms affect investor-perceived risk, the cost of common equity and the utility rates of such commodities. This is an important question as many in the US are, and have been, considering the impact of decoupling on investment risk and therefore the cost of common equity in rates.

Dylan D’Ascendis, Director, ScottMadden, Inc.

How to Achieve Better Regulatory Outcomes

The number of rate cases filed each year continues at a brisk pace, but average approved rates of return continue to decline. Rate case filings continue to be more complex-with heightened regulatory scrutiny and a demand for improved transparency, and more active participation by intervenors.  Outcomes need to be improved – utilities are typically awarded only 60 percent of the amount requested in their rate case filings.  We’ll learn what some utilities are doing to address this issue and how they can favorably influence their relationships with regulators and intervenors to achieve better regulatory outcomes.

Rick Starkweather, Partner, ScottMadden, Inc.

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Panel Discussion


Rick Starkweather, Partner, ScottMadden, Inc.


Jodi Hecht, Director, Fitch Ratings

Lillian Federico, Research Director, Regulatory Research Associates

Dylan D’Ascendis, Director, ScottMadden, Inc.

12:00 p.m. :: Course Adjourns


Glen Anderson, Energy Program Director, National Conference of State Legislatures

Glen Anderson is the director of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Energy Program, which provides state legislators and staff with outreach and policy analysis on a wide range of energy issues.  Mr. Anderson oversees the NCSL energy program and assists state policymakers in their efforts to develop effective and informed policy on fossil fuels, energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear energy and grid technology.  He has testified before numerous state legislative committees on a variety of energy policy topics.  He has also authored many articles and publications on renewable energy, energy planning, climate policy, energy efficiency and utility regulation.  Mr. Andersen received his Master of Science degree in environmental health from the University of Michigan and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota.

Juan Pablo Carvallo, Electricity Markets and Policy Group, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory

Mr. Carvallo is a Scientific Engineering Associate in the Electricity Markets and Policy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His research areas at the lab focus on policy, economic, and financial aspects of the U.S. ESCO industry. His research program also includes regional resource planning, regulatory design for planning and investment in electricity markets, and environmental/alternative energy policy. Mr. Carvallo holds an M.S. in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as P.E. and B.S. degrees in Electronics Engineering from Universidad Técnica Federico Santa Maria, Chile. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Energy and Resources under the supervision of Dr. Daniel M. Kammen.

Karlynn Cory, Group Manager for Project Development & Finance in the Integrated Applications Center, NREL

Karlynn Cory is the Group Manager for Project Development & Finance in the Integrated Applications Center at NREL.  The mission of the Group is to inform the direction of future technology and policy research at NREL by helping clients meet ambitious energy goals in today’s marketplace.  The Group partners with governmental agencies, utilities, and private sector decision-makers to develop resilient energy strategies, conduct techno-economic analyses, and identify effective project development pathways.  The Group provides analytical support, business case assessment, and market intelligence on energy efficiency, resiliency and renewable energy options to inform client decision making.

Dylan D’Ascendis, Director, ScottMadden, Inc.

is and experienced consultant and a Certified Rate of Return Analyst (CCRA) and Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA).  He has served as a consultant for investor-owned and municipal utilities and authorities for 11 years.  Dylan has extensive experience in rate of return analyses, class cost of service, rate design, and valuation for regulated public utilities.  He has testified as an expert witness in the subjects of rate of return, cost of service, rate design, and valuation before 18 regulatory commissions in the U.S. and an American Arbitration Association panel.

Lillian Federico, Research Director, Regulatory Research Associates

Ms. Federico has been following the power and gas utility sector for more than 30 years, and the water sector for the last three years at Regulatory Research Associates which is now an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Jodi Hecht, Director, Fitch Ratings

Jodi Hecht is a Director in Fitch Ratings’ US Corporate Group. Her primary responsibilities include corporate credit analysis and industry research in the US Utilities, Power and Gas sectors. Among her primary companies are Public Service Enterprise Group, DTE Energy and Hawaiian Electric Industries. She also focuses on unregulated markets, following the PJM and the Alberta markets. Ms. Hecht joined Fitch in 2017 from her solo firm advising public and private clients in project finance, specializing in infrastructure project development and public private partnerships. Prior to that, she was a credit rating analyst in the corporate ratings, project finance and public finance at Standard & Poor’s. Ms. Hecht earned a master’s in government administration with a concentration in public finance from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts from Franklin & Marshall College.

Karen Hyde, VP, Chief Risk Officer and Chief Audit Executive, Xcel Energy

Rick Starkweather, Partner, ScottMadden, Inc.

Rick Starkweather has been a management consultant for more than 25 years and is a leader in ScottMadden’s regulatory practice. His areas of expertise include strategic and business planning, budgeting and forecasting, regulatory compliance and rate case support, and organizational and operations improvement. Prior to joining ScottMadden, Rick was a consultant with Deloitte Consulting. He also has experience in the healthcare and chemical industries and helped lead the start-up of two companies. Rick received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He is also a Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP) and Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) through the Association of Energy Engineers.


EUCI Office Building Conference Center

4601 DTC Blvd, B-100

Denver CO, 80237



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Denver Marriott Tech Center
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Hyatt Place Denver Tech Center
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Please Note: Confirmed speakers do not need to register and are encouraged to participate in all sessions of the event. If you are a speaker and have any questions please contact our offices at 1.303.770.8800

EventEarly Bird Before
Friday, November 29, 2019
Standard RateAttendees
Best Practices In Managing Your Risk ProfileUS $ 1195.00 US $ 1395.00

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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 November 15, 2019 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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