The Ethical Regulator

So then, three cheers for a career
when it’s a career like that of
Shakespeare or Pasteur,
Newton or Tolstoy,


Why did they have mud slung at them?
Talent speaks for itself, whatever the charges.
They’re forgotten, those who hurled curses,
but we remember the ones who were cursed,

All those who strove towards the stratosphere,
the doctors who died of cholera,
they were following careers!
I’ll take their careers as an example!

I believe in their sacred belief,
and their belief gives me courage.
I’ll follow my career in such a way
that I’m not following it.

— Excerpted from the poem Career, by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Ethics Defined:  Narrow and Broad?

In regulation, we usually view “ethics” as avoiding wrongdoing—bribe taking, ex parte contacts, favoritism, and conflicts of interest generally.  Gardner defines ethics more broadly:  To act ethically is “to think beyond our own self-interest and do what is right under the circumstances.”  Gardner at xiv.  An ethical worker “passes the hypocrisy test:  She abides by the principles even when—or especially when—they go against her self-interest.”  Gardner at 136.

Paradoxically, we can define broad ethics in terms of self-interest. . . .


Testimony, Papers, and Presentations

The testimony addresses the following: the effect of the transaction on consumers, including: (1) reasonableness of the purchase price, including whether the purchase price was reasonable in light of the savings that can be demonstrated from the merger and whether the purchase price is within a reasonable range; (2) whether ratepayer benefits . . .
Testimony addresses the issues of whether the proposed transaction affects the interests of ratepayers; the ability of JCP&L and MAIT to provide safe, adequate, and proper utility service at just and reasonable rates; and whether the proposed transaction is in the public interest.
This expert report was submitted to a federal trial court in May 2016 on behalf of City of Jacksonville, Florida. The litigation, and report, involve a 1943 disaffiliation of a gas corporation from its holding company, as mandated by the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. The report explains why the disaffiliation did not prevent liability for the costs of environmental cleanup, if such liability exists under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, from passing to the new corporation.

Books by Hempling

Regulating Public Utility Performance

“[A] comprehensive regulatory treatise …. In all respects, it merits comparison with Kahn and Phillips."

Regulating Public Utility Performance:  The Law of Market Structure, Pricing and Jurisdiction

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Preside or Lead

Preside or Lead?
The Attributes and Actions of Effective Regulators

Now Available on Kindle

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Hempling Appearances

Energy Bar Association
Panel on Practice Principles for New Regulatory Lawyers

UDC Law School Panel
Is the Exelon Takeover of Pepco in the Public Interest?

Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission
3rd Judges’ Seminar

Telecom Forum
Asamblea Plenaria REGULATEL

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Hempling Courses at Georgetown Law

Spring 2017 | Litigating at Regulatory Agencies: Roles, Skills and Strategies

Fall 2017 | Renewable Energy, Internet, Uber: Bringing Competition to Historically Monopolistic Industries

Electricity Jurisdiction


I highly recommend Scott Hempling. I have known him since 2003, since he was a consultant for the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission on various important and cutting-edge policy regulatory matters in Hawaii, through his time as the Executive Director at the National Regulatory Research Institute. His expertise, knowledge, and experience in all regulatory and energy matters is unmatched, and he would be a highly valuable resource and asset in any such endeavor.
— Carlito P. Caliboso, former Chairman, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission