Regulatory Candor: Do We Own Up?

To some excellent Canadian regulators (a redundant phrase) I once gave a session on the nine attributes of effective regulators: purposeful, educated, decisive, independent, disciplined, synthesizing, creative, respectful, ethical.  When I asked for attributes I'd omitted, one regulator volunteered "candid." Yes—An effective regulator is candid, about the limitations of regulation and regulators. Here are four areas deserving more candor. 


The qualitative matters as much as the quantitative

We deal with numbers and formulas:  depreciation rates, heat rates, dividend growth models, financial leverages, reserve margins, Herfindahl-Hirschman indices, service interruption indices.  In every subject area (physical capacity, operations, rates, service quality, mergers, market structure, corporate structure), and in every professional discipline (finance, engineering, economics, accounting, management), we are immersed in the technical and the quantitative. But regulation is not like physics, where for every question nature supplies a precise answer.  In regulation, the answers come from human judgment . . .  


Testimony, Papers, and Presentations

The testimony relates to AltaGas’s proposed acquisition of WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas Light Company.
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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While we will dearly miss you as NRRI's Executive Director—where you have been so invaluable—I am delighted that you will now be in the classroom enlightening and sparking the interest of the next generation.
— Paul J. Roberti, Commissioner, Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission