Fundamentals of Utility Law: Weekly Webinar

January 2019 - March 2019


Please join me for this year’s Fundamentals course—a weekly webinar course for decisionmakers and practitioners, presented on 12 successive Monday evenings. 

Course term                12 weeks

Course dates               January 7 to March 25, 2019  -- All on Monday Evenings 

Times                             7:00 to 8:30 p.m. EST

Total instruction        18 hours (12 sessions of 1.5 hours each)

Registration opens     Friday, October 12, 2018



  • How to distinguish "monopolies" from "monopolizers"
  • How to distinguish anticompetitive conduct from unearned advantage
  • How to set rates without violating the U.S. Constitution
  • The entire alphabet soup of ISOs, RTOs, IPPs, Transcos, CLECs, ILECs
  • Why "deregulation" is a misnomer
  • Why "transmission" now means regional transmission
  • How FERC's wholesale competition efforts are changing how states do their jobs
  • How the repeal of the PUHCA 1935 is reshuffling corporate and market structure
  • Why 80-year-old regulatory statutes makes state-federal relations so awkward
  • How climate change is affecting utility regulation
  • How "public interest" could include environmental protection, stability and civil rights
  • Why some regulators are so much better at their jobs than others



Week 1     Regulation's Purposes, Dimensions, and Professions

Week 2     Industry Structure Overviews:  Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications

Week 3     Market Structure I:  Rights, Obligations and Powers of the Traditional Utility

Week 4     Market Structure II:  Authorizing Competition in Monopoly Markets

Week 5     Market Structure III:  Making Competition Effective

Week 6     Sales of Goods and Services I:  Ratemaking Under the "Statutory Just and                                       Reasonable" Standard and the Constitution's Fifth Amendment

Week 7     Sales of Goods and Services II:  Undue Discrimination, Filed Rate Doctrine 

Week 8     Sales of Goods and Services III:  Retroactive Ratemaking, Mobile-Sierra                                           Doctrine

Week 9     Corporate Structure, Mergers and Acquisitions

Week 10    Federal-State Jurisdictional Relationships

Week 11    The Attributes and Actions of Effective Utility Regulators

Week 12    Bonus Session:  Analysis of Recent Cases The Future of Regulation



Webinar Platform:  We will host the webinar via Zoom’s Video Webinar platform.  On registration, participants will receive information about how to virtually attend course sessions.  Attendees can participate via computers, tablet devices, smart phones, or voice call.  Attendees will not need to pay for a Zoom user account.   

Course Books:  All participants will need to purchase the two Hempling books: 

Regulating Public Utility Performance:  The Law of Market Structure, Pricing and Jurisdiction.  Available from Amazon here, and from the American Bar Association, here.

Preside or Lead:  The Attributes and Actions of Effective Regulators.  Available from Amazon here.

Shipping and delivery speed for books will vary depending on where purchased.  I recommend that you place your orders before December 15th to ensure timely arrival.  Estimated shipping times: 

  • Amazon Prime, 1-3 business days
  • Amazon Non-Prime, 7 business days
  • ABA Bookstore, 3 business days  

Syllabus and Readings:  Prior to the first class, I will distribute a detailed syllabus with readings.  Like school, reading before class will dramatically increase your learning. 



Webinar Registration:

$435    Government and non-profit organizations

$835    For-profit companies, including trade associations of for-profit companies, and for-profit law firms representing nonprofit clients. 

I’ve discounted the price (from 10 years ago) to reflect your book cost.  Also, I will provide 10-15 scholarship seats for government employees and non-profit organizations, awarded competitively.  More information below.

Multiple Attendees from the same organization?  Contact me to discuss discount.  

Scholarship Opportunity?  More information below. 



Please use the link below to register.  Upon selecting your applicable "Registrant Type," you will be re-directed to PayPal for payment. 

Payment Options:  There two options for payment:  (1) via logging into your personal PayPal account, or (2) credit card, via PayPal's "Guest" pay option.  Option 2 does not require you to have a PayPal account.    

Registrant Type



Course Background:  Since 1997 I have taught my fall Fundamentals of Electricity Law to thousands of attendees from all states and all industry sectors.  This year I will use a web format, presented on 12 successive Monday evenings.  My hope is that by saving attendees nearly $1,000 each on travel costs, and broadening the coverage to address public utility law issues applicable to all regulated industries, we can make the course useful to more people.  And by reducing my costs I can offer double the instruction time without raising the price.  The prior course was 9 hours over 1.5 days.  This course will be 18 hours (12 sessions of 1.5 hours each). 

Scholarship Opportunity:  In Spring 2017, I gave this same course, at no charge, to 16 employees of state commissions and state consumer advocate offices, selected by their superiors based on their work ethic and their potential.  I would like to continue that practice but combine it with this seminar.  My tentative plan, therefore, is to provide 10-15 scholarship seats to employees of government agencies or nonprofit organizations who have 0-3 years’ experience in the field.  Interested applicants should email the following, no later than December 1, 2018:

(1)  A 750-word essay describing their career aspirations, their views on the purposes of regulation and their thoughts about how to improve regulation; and

(2)  A recommendation letter from their supervisor or commission Chair.   

Is the scholarship a “gift”?  I understand that some agencies may have strict rules about “gifts.”  If the award goes to the agency rather than the person, perhaps that will solve the problem.  Do let me know of other snags and ways to resolve them. 



To indicate interest (non-binding), ask questions, offer ideas, email Scott: shempling [at] scotthemplinglaw [dot] com (subject: Webinar%20Interest)


A printable PDF of the above information is available here: