The NARUC Utility Rate School is held twice a year, in the fall (Eastern – Clearwater Beach, FL) and the spring (Western – San Diego, CA). The basics of utility ratemaking are presented by program faculty members from state public utility commissions, utility companies, and the legal, consulting, and academic communities. Rate School emphasizes the fundamentals of the utility rate setting process, including how to establish revenue requirements and the basic concepts of rate design. Participants work in teams to learn the fundamentals of establishing revenue requirements and setting rates by working through a hypothetical rate case for a water utility. The program also provides insight into current issues affecting the water industry and other public utilities.
By featuring a carefully crafted mock rate case and a team approach, Rate School provides a unique hands-on educational experience. Rate School is relevant to anyone interested and involved in utility ratemaking. Specialists across all sectors – water, natural gas, and electricity – have actively participated and benefited from the School and are encouraged to attend. Although the program centers on a mock water rate case, the emphasis is actually on the core principles, concepts, and tools of rate-base/rate-of-return regulation and reatemaking—particularly accounting, finance, and economic analysis. Water and energy demonstrate technical distinctions, they have more in common than not when it comes to ratemaking. What are revenue requirements? What is reported on a balance sheet and income statement? What is included in the ratebase? How is the rate of return determined? Balance sheets, income statements, taxes, depreciation, capital structure, cost of capital, cost allocation, and rate design are common considerations for all regulated utilities. Rate School also includes a special session on energy issues
The NARUC Utility Rate School has been sponsored by the Committee on Water of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) since 1972. The Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University provides administrative support to the School.