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Citing the April 10 date for end-user compliance with Dodd-Frank swap reporting rules, Commissioner Bart Chilton of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission yesterday announced 10 principles designed to protect consumers and end-users as the CFTC carries out the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Point No. 8 in the set of principles, which Chilton called the "End-User Bill of Rights," says public power end-users that are using swaps to hedge commercial risk "should have the same access to risk management markets as privately owned utilities." APPA applauded the commissioner’s action with a statement posted in the association's Newsroom.

Under the Dodd-Frank swap dealer rules, an entity does not have to register as a swap dealer as long as its swap dealing activity falls below two thresholds: $8 billion overall and $25 million for transactions with special entities, a category that includes public power utilities. Since the rule went into effect, nonfinancial counterparties have been refusing to enter into swaps with public power utilities because they do not want to exceed the $25 million special entity threshold, said APPA Director of Statistical Analysis Diane Moody, who participated in Commissioner Chilton’s conference call announcing the Bill of Rights.

These nonfinancial counterparties, including investor-owned utilities, merchant generators, and natural gas suppliers, "are particularly important as counterparties to public power utilities because they operate in the same physical markets as public power and can provide customized products," Moody said.

"Fewer available counterparties means that public power utilities are spending more to hedge their risks," she  said. "The alternative is to go unhedged and be exposed to greater price volatility," driving up electricity prices for public power consumers.

Last summer, APPA filed a petition with the CFTC asking it to count government-owned utilities’ swaps related to utility operations toward the overall threshold but not toward the special entity threshold. "This would allow government-owned utilities to enter into swaps with the same counterparties as do investor-owned and cooperative utilities and manage their operations-related risks in the same manner," Moody said.

APPA hopes the commission will grant its petition, Moody said. Meanwhile, the association is also working with Congress to urge enactment of H.R. 1038, the Public Power Risk Management Act of 2013, which would have the same effect as the petition, she said.

Under the CFTC's swap dealer rules, "your ultimate consumers could be paying more because we haven't done what I think we should do," Chilton told Moody yesterday in the conference call announcing the End-User Bill of Rights.

The eighth point in the Bill of Rights reads as follows:

"8. Right to hedge.  While limits on speculation are critical to returning commodity markets to their principal role as risk management markets, the Commission should be sensible in coming up with standards for bona fide hedging.  Speculative position limits should encourage and not unduly complicate prudent commercial risk management practices.  Public power end-users using swaps to hedge commercial risk should have the same access to risk management markets as privately-owned utilities.  This should be done through regulatory relief or, if need be, it could be done through passage of H.R. 1038."

Among the other principles are No. 1, "Right to reasonable Dodd-Frank implementation," which says the commission should not take enforcement action against any end-users who are seeking in good faith to comply until after Oct. 31; and No. 2, "Right to legal certainty," which says the CFTC should "provide the market with as much legal certainty as possible as we  move through a challenging implementation period."

"End-users were not the culprit or the cause of the financial crisis" that led to the Dodd-Frank Act, Chilton told reporters and others during yesterday's conference call. When it drafted Dodd-Frank, Congress had the interests of end-users in mind. Accordingly, end-users "should expect a right to reasonable implementation" of that law, he said. "We need to be expeditious, but we also need to do it in a way that's not overly harsh -- in a way that is textured, and granular to how people actually do business," the commissioner said.

Russ Wasson, director of tax, finance and accounting policy for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, said during the call that NRECA would like to see a CFTC division devoted to end-users, and would recommend an end-user section on the CFTC's website. "I suspect many end-users have similar questions" that could be answered via a website, he said.

Wasson urged the CFTC to provide prompt responses to end-users questions about the commission's regulations before it begins to enforce regulations. "Electric utilities are very compliance-oriented," he said, but "we need time to comply without disrupting our business."

Chilton was apologetic on behalf of the CFTC, which he said has not given adequate guidance to end-users, especially to end-users (such as utilities) who never have been subject to commission rules before.

"I think we should have done a better job," he said. "You're a week away from having people comply, and they don't even know what the rules are yet? Shame on us!"

"We have put businesses in a predicament," he added.

Chilton's statement, along with the complete End-User Bill of Rights, is posted on the CFTC's website. —JEANNINE ANDERSON


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April 15 is the last day for early bird registrations for courses at the APPA Spring Education Institute next month in Anaheim, Calif. Early registrants can save $50 on fees. There is an additional $100 discount for those who attend more than one course or who attend with a colleague. All classes will be held at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim the week of May 6. A discounted hotel room rate is also available until April 15.

The Spring Institute features 18 in-depth training courses on the following topics:
 
•    Accounting and financial planning;
•    Work order and asset management;
•    Electric utility industry overview;
•    Utility governance;
•    Supervisory leadership;
•    Energy efficiency;
•    Overhead distribution systems; and
•    High-voltage electrical distribution systems.

The institute includes two week-long certificate programs on energy efficiency management and supervisory leadership. The Energy Efficiency Management Certificate Program, which consists of six classes, will give participants a grounding in all aspects of energy efficiency program development, implementation, budgeting, marketing and management. The Public Power Manager Certificate Program, made up of three classes, is designed to help mid- and upper-level managers and senior supervisors enhance their leadership skills. The program provides a new three-day leadership component, specifically tailored to public power utilities, on how to think strategically, anticipate challenges and build and manage effective, highly productive teams.

The institute also features a new governance track, which includes a one-day Electric Utility Industry Overview course and a one-and-a-half-day Public Utility Governance Workshop. These courses are designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to newly elected or appointed policymakers, as well as experienced policy officials and staff that work with governing boards, on the duties, responsibilities and processes of electric utility governance and policy-setting. These classes can also be applied to APPA’s new Public Power Governance Certificate Program.

For personnel involved in transmission and distribution system operations, two technical courses will be offered at the institute: (1) Maintenance of High-Voltage Electrical Distribution Systems and (2) Overhead Distribution Systems. In the new, one-day Maintenance of High-Voltage Electrical Distribution Systems course, participants will learn how to develop or enhance and carry out an effective program of maintenance for both overhead and underground high-voltage electric distribution systems. In the three-and-a-half-day Overhead Distribution Systems class, attendees will learn about planning, design, construction, installation, operation and maintenance principles that drive today's overhead distribution practices.

Attendees also can earn credits toward their professional certifications. APPA offers continuing education units, professional development hours and continuing professional education credits for participating in courses. There is also a $100 discount for those who attend more than one course or who attend with a colleague. The Spring Institute is co-sponsored by the Southern California Public Power Authority.
 
For more information, visit www.APPAAcademy.org and click on "courses and workshops" or contact Meghan Riley at 202/467-2919 or MRiley@PublicPower.org. —HEIDI LAMBERT

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Testo, Inc.

The "Call for Papers" is now open for APPA’s 2013 Legal Seminar. Individuals interested in presenting at the Legal Seminar, or who would just like to propose topics or speakers for the program, are encouraged to submit their ideas. The deadline to submit papers is April 24.

A form to submit a proposal to the Legal Seminar Call for Papers is available at www.publicpower.org/LegalSeminar.

The Legal Seminar is designed specifically for attorneys representing public power utilities and joint action agencies, including both in-house and outside counsel. The conference covers current regulatory, legislative, and policy initiatives, as well as practical legal issues facing public power utilities.  

The 2013 Legal Seminar will be held Oct. 20-23 at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel in Seattle, Wash. —LEANNE NIENHUIS

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Naylor, LLC

EVENTS CALENDAR


Public Communications Spring Issues Roundtable 
Washington, D.C. 
April 5

Webinar – Utility Governance: Federal Legislative and Regulatory Issues for Boards
April 15

Webinar – Electric Utility 101: Distribution 
April 16

General Accounting, Finance & Audit Spring Meeting
Washington, D.C.
April 18-19

Webinar – Utility Governance: Strategic Issues Facing Public Power Governing Bodies
April 23

Spring Education Institute
Anaheim, Calif.
May 6-10

 


Webinar – Utility Governance: Overview of Utility Financial Operations for Board and Council Members
May 14

Webinar – Utility Governance: Rate Making for Utility Boards and City Councils
June 11

APPA National Conference & Public Power Expo
Nashville, Tenn.
June 14-19

Webinar – Utility Governance: Strategic Planning for Utility Boards and City Councils
July 16

Webinar – Utility Governance: Performance Monitoring and Accountability for Boards
September 17

APPA Business & Financial Conference
Orlando, Fla.
September 22-25


For a full APPA Events Calendar, visit Publicpower.org.

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Naylor, LLC

CLASSIFIEDS

Senior manager customer experience and senior manager customer service support—Snohomish County PUD (the District) seeks to hire for the following two key positions: a) senior manager customer experience and b) senior manager customer service support.

a) The senior manager customer experience will provide leadership for a department that handles customer interactions, including call center operations, in-person "front-line" transactions and management of real-time customer service systems and processes. The customer experience department is comprised of approximately 60 individuals, most of whom are members of organized labor. The successful candidate will possess at least seven years of progressively more responsible experience in a call center environment, including two years managing a call center and five years supervisory or manager experience.

b) The senior manager customer service support will provide leadership for a department that manages the systems, processes and operational support for the District’s customer service functions. This includes workforce planning and staffing; training and onboarding of new employees; quality assurance; management of the customer accounts receivable process; and management of the District’s programs and services for low-income and disadvantaged customers. The Customer Service Support Department is comprised of approximately 50 individuals, many of whom are members of organized labor. The successful candidate will possess at least seven years of progressively more responsible experience implementing business process improvements and change management, including three years of more responsible customer service experience and five years in a supervisory or manager capacity.

Snohomish County PUD is the 12th largest publicly-owned electric utility in the United States with more than 320,000 electric customers and approximately 20,000 water customers. The District is also an internationally recognized leader in the research and development of renewable resources. Please contact Lanie Prouse at Mycoff, Fry & Prouse to obtain more information at 800/525-9082. Resumes should be submitted to lprouse@mfpllc.us no later than April 12.

Hydroelectric plant superintendent—The city of Hamilton seeks qualified applicants for the classification of hydroelectric plant superintendent. Salary: $75,941 to $97,365 per year. This is difficult managerial and administrative work, directing and controlling the operation and maintenance of the city's Greenup Hydroelectric Plant on the Ohio River, near Franklin Furnace, Ohio. Qualifications: Seeking applicants with extensive and progressively responsible experience in operations and maintenance of an electric generating plant, including planning and preparation of hydroelectric project maintenance and considerable supervisory experience or any equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the work. A valid driver's license is required. Apply: Submit one detailed resume and proof of driver's license by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7 to: Civil Service Department, Hamilton Municipal Building, 345 High St.-1st Floor, Hamilton, OH 45011 in person OR by fax: 513/785-7037 OR email: cspersonnel@ci.hamilton.oh.us. Use Word or PDF only. Specify interest in HYDRO. PLANT SUPT. Visit our employment quick link at www.hamilton-city.org for more details. The city of Hamilton is an EEO and AAE. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

Electric superintendent—The city of Milton-Freewater, Oregon, is seeking a highly skilled and experienced electric superintendent. ALL information and application materials are online at the city’s website at www.mfcity.com. To apply, please send resume, completed application and response to the supplemental questionnaire to the following. Email: teresa.dutcher@milton-freewater-or.gov. Fax: 541/938-8224. Mail/deliver: City of Milton-Freewater, PO Box 6, 722 S. Main St., Milton-Freewater, OR 97862. Applications for consideration are required to be in the Human Resource Department by 3 p.m. on Friday, April 19. EOE.


Check out APPA's career services on the Web

Visit the Career Center at PublicPower.org. Our career center allows job seekers to upload resumes, and recruiters to obtain resumes from job seekers. Classified ads in Public Power Daily and Public Power Weekly cost 70 cents per word for APPA members, and 80 cents per word for nonmembers, for a one-week run. Job posting subscriptions are available in packages of five, 10, or unlimited for a full year. The weekly deadline for placing a classified ad is every Thursday at 12 p.m. (Eastern time). If you have questions about classified ads, please write to jobs@publicpower.org, or call 202/467-2958.

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