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Moody's Investors Service is asking market participants to comment on a proposed rating methodology for revenue bonds issued by various types of municipal utilities. If Moody's adopts the methodology as proposed, the rating agency expects a single-digit percentage of its ratings on municipal utility revenue bonds to change, with changes split roughly equally between upgrades and downgrades.

The proposed methodology would update and replace two of Moody's current methodologies governing municipal utility ratings: Analytical Framework for Water and Sewer System Ratings, August 1999, and U.S. Public Power Electric Utilities, April 2008. The proposed rating approach applies to six categories of municipal utilities: water distribution, gas distribution, electric distribution, sanitary sewerage, stormwater disposal, and solid waste disposal.

The primary factors driving Moody's credit analysis for these types of utilities are the size and health of the system and its service area, the financial strength of its operations, the legal provisions governing its management, and the strength of its rate management and regulatory compliance, the credit rating agency said.

The proposed methodology would introduce a scorecard that assigns weights and values to the factors Moody's considers most important in utility revenue bond analysis. The proposed methodology also includes a framework for approaching the relationship between a municipality's utility revenue bonds and its general obligation bonds in cases when these securities exhibit disparate credit quality, Moody’s said.

"We intend for this document to help investors, municipalities, utilities, and other interested market participants understand how key quantitative and qualitative risk factors are likely to affect ratings in the municipal utility sector," says Managing Director Timothy Blake.

The proposed methodology does not offer an exhaustive treatment of all factors that Moody's reflects in its ratings, but should enable the reader to understand the considerations that are usually most important for ratings in this sector, Moody’s noted.

Moody's invites market participants to comment by September 1, by submitting their comments on Moody’s website. —ROBERT VARELA

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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member John Norris is expected to announce this week that he will leave the agency, according to a report from SNL Financial.

Sources say President Barack Obama is likely to select the current chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, Colette Honorable, to replace Norris, SNL reported. Honorable is the president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

Norris, a Democrat, was nominated for a partial term in 2010 to fill a seat on the commission. He was reconfirmed in 2012 for a full term expiring in June 2017. —J.A.

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Wired Group

The American Public Power Association's Fall Education Institute, set for Sept. 29-Oct. 3, in Scottsdale, Ariz., will offer a series of courses designed for accounting, cost of service, and finance personnel at public power utilities.

•    Public Utility Accounting, Sept. 29-30, is aimed at those who are new to utility accounting practices or are unfamiliar with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's accounting structure. It covers accounting procedures, uniform system of accounts and utility accounting subsystems.

•    Work Order and Asset Management Accounting, Oct. 1, offers tips on how to streamline processes that support work order asset management accounting and job costing.

•    Advanced Public Utility Accounting course, Oct. 2-3. Participants will learn about the more complex aspects of accounting theory and practice.

•    Basic Cost of Service and Retail Rate Design, Sept. 29-30. This course covers traditional industry approaches to utility costing and pricing. Participants will learn where and how information is obtained, how a utility's costs are incurred, and how to develop allocation factors.

•    Intermediate Cost of Service and Retail Rate Design, Sept. 30-Oct. 1. This course features exercises and practical applications using a fully functional cost-of-service/unbundling and rate design model in Excel.

•    Advanced Cost of Service and Retail Rate Design, Oct. 2. Participants will go through the process of developing a marginal cost rate and learn how traditional cost-of-service studies are used to support aspects of a marginal cost study.

•    Financial Planning for Municipal Utilities, Oct 3. Participants will learn why financial planning is critical to the success of public power utilities and will develop a long-term rate track to help ensure the utility’s financial stability.

Attendees can earn professional certification credits by attending these courses. Each two-day class provides 15 continuing professional education credits (CPEs). The one-day courses are worth 7.5 CPEs. APPA also offers continuing education units (CEUs) and professional development hours (PDHs).

The Fall Institute includes eight other in-depth courses on key accounts management, overhead distribution systems, and a new course on operations improvement and benchmarking. In addition, APPA's annual Public Power Leadership Workshop will be held Oct. 1-3. The program is designed for general managers and CEOs (particularly those new to their jobs), as well as those on track for executive management positions. All events will be held at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center.

There is a $100 discount for those who attend more than one course (or register with a colleague) and a $50 early registration discount for those who register by Sept. 8.

For more information, visit the APPA website, or contact Meghan Riley at 202/467-2919 or MRiley@PublicPower.org. —LEE KRINZMAN

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LiveWire Compliance, LLC

The Environmental Protection Agency is cautioning air-conditioning technicians, homeowners, manufacturers of propane-based refrigerants and home improvement contractors of the safety hazards related to the use of propane in existing motor vehicle and home air-conditioning systems.

A number of unapproved refrigerants with "22a" or "R-22a" in the name contain highly flammable hydrocarbons, such as propane, the EPA said. These refrigerants are being marketed to consumers seeking to recharge existing home and motor vehicle air-conditioning systems that were not designed to use propane or other flammable refrigerants, according to the agency.

The FBI has joined the EPA in issuing warnings and has launched an investigation into the sale of unapproved refrigerants. It said the two agencies, along with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, "are conducting an investigation into a flammable 'refrigerant' sold as Super-Freeze 22a, Super-Freeze12a, Super-Freeze 134a, Enviro-Safe 22a, and R134a."

More information is available from the EPA and FBI. —J.A.

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Members of APPA's Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) program may apply for up to $125,000 in funding to support innovative utility projects.

DEED grants are intended for demonstration or early commercialization projects at DEED member utilities that promise to improve efficiencies, lower costs or add service or value in the provision of electricity or energy services to the customers of publicly owned electric utilities.

The application deadline for grants is Aug. 15. For more information, see the DEED funding opportunities page on the APPA website. To obtain access to the application site, contact DEED@publicpower.org. —J.A.

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EVENTS CALENDAR
Webinar – Performance Monitoring and Accountability for Boards
August 12

Webinar – Electric Rate Designs: Rate Structures to Promote Financial Stability or Energy Conservation
August 19

DEED webinar – Customizable Weather Database Helps Utilities Handle Customers' High-Bill Complaints
August 20

Webinar – Line Extension Policies: Contributions in Aid of Construction
September 9

Webinar – Using Advanced AMI Technology to Move from AMR to AMI
September 10

Business and Financial Conference
Portland, Oregon
September 14-17

Webinar – Smart Grids Enable Smart Cities: Insights into the Benefits New Technologies Offer Public Power Communities
September 23

NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Version 5 Compliance Program Development Workshop
Scottsdale, Arizona
September 29-30

Fall Education Institute
Scottsdale, Arizona
September 29-October 3

Webinar – Achieving Excellence in Public Power Governance
September 30

Public Power Leadership Workshop
Scottsdale, Arizona
October 1-3


Webinar – Performing a Utility Financial Check-Up
October 16

Legal Seminar
San Antonio, Texas
October 19-22

DEED webinar – Measuring Energy Savings Using Non-Intrusive Devices Inside Residential Customer Homes
October 23

Customer Connections Conference
Jacksonville, Florida
October 26-29

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


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Naylor, LLC

CLASSIFIEDS
Director of member and public relations— Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a not-for-profit joint action agency serving 61 member communities in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. MRES has operating revenues of $178.4 million, assets worth $488.3 million, and a debt-to-equity ratio of 65 percent. The agency enjoys a strong financial position and is rated in the top tier of joint action agencies with an Aa3 rating from Moody’s Investor Service, and an AA– rating from Fitch Ratings. The director of member and public relations is responsible to plan, develop, implement, and direct the agency’s strategic plan and related member services and communications to enhance and promote the competitive position of MRES and its members. The director reports to the CEO and manages a staff of 30. Qualifications: The successful candidate will possess at least 10 years of progressively responsible experience that includes planning and directing communication programs, leading strategic planning processes, and managing state and federal legislative activities in the electric industry. Fully qualified candidates will also possess experience coordinating the delivery of member services like energy efficiency and demand-side management programs. Additional experience directing electric distribution maintenance programs is considered ideal. In addition, candidates must possess a strong customer service mentality, unquestionable ethics and integrity, and a value set aligned with that of MRES and its members. MRES is targeting candidates with a bachelor's degree in business, communications, public policy, or a related field, along with a masters’ degree. However, the agency will consider other educational credentials and professional experience. Compensation: MRES provides a competitive base salary and a full complement of fringe benefits. Apply: Please submit resumes by Aug. 15 to Lanie Prouse at Mycoff, Fry, & Prouse by emailing lprouse@mfpllc.us. For questions, call 800/525-9082.

Engineering and electric operations manager—Lebanon Utilities in Indiana currently has a job opening for an engineering and electric operations manager. The position, under the direction of the general manager, is responsible for the planning, engineering, designing, and managing of projects for electric transmission, distribution, and substation facilities in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Qualifications: A bachelor's degree in electrical engineering is preferred; civil engineering considered. Strong written and verbal communication skills are also necessary in order to deal with a wide range of personalities, both inside and outside of the organization. Apply: If interested, please call 765/482-8395 for a complete job description.


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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