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The American Public Power Association (APPA), the Public Power Council (PPC) and the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency have asked a federal appeals court to review a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order limiting the Federal Power Act’s preference for municipal applicants for hydro licenses. In its Dec. 19, 2013 order, FERC ruled for the first time that the preference for municipalities required by Section 7(a) of the FPA (in the case of competing applications for a hydro license) applies only to hydro projects that are in the "vicinity" of the municipality.

"The Commission’s new interpretation of the FPA’s Section 7(a) is contrary to principles of administrative decisionmaking; to its statutory mandate; and to sound public policy," APPA and the PPC said in a Jan. 22 request for rehearing (see Public Power Daily, Jan. 27, 2014). Section 7(a) "is a clear and commanding directive from Congress to the agency." If the non-municipal applicant does not have a better proposal, "the plain text of Section 7(a) compels that the municipal applicant be granted a tie-breaker preference," they said in seeking rehearing.

In the Dec. 19 order, FERC applied its new interpretation to deny municipal preference to the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency and, after a random drawing, award a preliminary permit to FFP Qualified Hydro 14, LLC, a private company.

The three public power organizations filed their joint appeal Aug. 15 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. —ROBERT VARELA

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Austin Energy is lowering its proposed increase to the average monthly residential bill from 4.4 percent to 2.6 percent to stay below a system-wide affordability goal, the Texas utility said Aug. 15. The average 1,000 kilowatt-hour monthly bill would increase by $2.72. Earlier this summer, Austin Energy proposed increasing the bill by $4.67. The utility said it will collect the same amount to cover mandated expenses, but will spread out the collection over a longer period of time.

The Austin City Council will consider the proposal when it takes up the city’s budget in September. The increased charges would go into effect on bills starting Nov. 1, 2014, Austin Energy said.

The charges will result in a 1.9 percent increase to Austin Energy’s overall revenues, keeping its system average below the council goal of no more than 2 percent annual increases. The recommendation will require Austin Energy to undercollect $19 million from its "Regulatory Charge," the utility said. The collection will occur over multiple years.

Austin Energy is proposing to increase the Power Supply Adjustment charge by $2.36 and the Regulatory Charge by 36 cents on the average monthly bill. Earlier this summer, Austin Energy proposed increasing the Regulatory Charge by $2.33.

The proposed increases to the Power Supply Adjustment and Regulatory Charge are pass-through charges, Austin Energy noted. Pass-through charges are used to recover costs for specified expenses on a dollar-for-dollar basis and cannot be used for other purposes, the utility said.

The Regulatory Charge is Austin Energy’s share of the statewide costs for using the transmission grid, as well as the costs for the management, expansion and upkeep of the lines. Transmission providers in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas recently completed a $6.7 billion expansion of the state transmission grid to provide access to energy resources in the western half of Texas, including new wind production resources, Austin said. Transmission providers expect to complete more than $3.6 billion in additional projects between 2014 and 2018.

The Power Supply Adjustment charge is a dollar-for-dollar recovery of Austin Energy’s costs for fuel and power supply expenses to generate electricity at its power plants and to buy and sell power on the market, the utility said. The colder than normal winter created a 5 percent higher than normal demand for energy from Austin Energy customers. The increase in demand translated into natural gas prices that were 25 percent higher than the previous year, Austin Energy said. However, the utility's diverse generation portfolio helped minimize the proposed increase caused by the cold winter and higher natural gas prices, Austin Energy said.

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Two public power leaders—Santee Cooper President and CEO Lonnie Carter and NMPP Energy Executive Director J. Gary Stauffer—will be featured speakers at APPA's tenth annual Public Power Leadership Workshop, Oct. 1-3 at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center in Arizona. The workshop brings together industry leaders and practitioners to address the changes and challenges facing public power; and the skills, knowledge and techniques leaders need to guide their organizations and governing boards.

Carter will discuss how a CEO leads during a time of change and how to be an effective utility senior manager: setting organizational direction, defining appropriate roles and responsibilities, directing and motivating staff, and working with the utility’s governing body. Stauffer will examine the utility industry's outlook for the future and look at the significant issues that will face public power, including power supply, climate change regulation, new technology, energy efficiency, renewable resources, and the smart grid.

They will also lead a joint session on positioning your utility to be competitive in the future, which will include a discussion of how to develop a strategy to manage various issues facing utility executives; laying out the strategy; deciding who should be involved; communicating the strategy; and making sure the strategy is implemented.

This program is designed for general managers and CEOs (particularly those new to their jobs) as well as senior managers and those on track for executive leadership positions.

In conjunction with the Public Power Leadership Workshop, APPA is also holding the Fall Education Institute courses the week of Sept. 29 in Scottsdale. The Institute features 14 in-depth courses on accounting, cost of service, financial planning, key accounts management, overhead distribution systems, operations improvement and benchmarking, and a NERC CIP Version 5 compliance program development workshop.

For more information, visit www.APPAAcademy.org under "Courses and Workshops" or contact Meghan Riley at 202/467-2919 or MRiley@PublicPower.org. —HEIDI LAMBERT

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Attendees planning to participate in APPA’s Business & Financial Conference are strongly encouraged to register and make their hotel reservations soon.  The deadline to take advantage of the early registration price is Aug. 22; starting Aug. 22, all registration fees will increase by $50.

The registration fee for preconference seminars will also increase after Aug. 22. Seminar topics will include "Sustainability Accounting and Reporting," "Distributed Generation: Unique Issues Facing Public Power," "Establishing and Strengthening the Internal Audit Function in Your Utility," and "Utility Data Analytics: Turning Data into Value."

The deadline to make hotel reservations in the APPA room block at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower is Aug. 22. The room block may fill up before the deadline, though, so early reservations are encouraged.

The Business & Financial Conference will be held Sept. 14-17 in Portland, Ore. The conference offers educational and networking opportunities for public power professionals in accounting, finance, customer accounting, customer service, human resources, information technology, pricing, and market analysis.

For more information about the conference, or to make hotel reservations and register for the conference, visit www.publicpower.org/BandF/.  —MEGHAN RILEY

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The American Public Power Association (APPA) is moving this Friday (Aug. 22) to a new office across the Potomac River from our current location in Washington, D.C. Starting on Aug. 22, our new mailing address will be:

American Public Power Association
2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 1000
Arlington, VA 22202

Please send all correspondence, including applications for the Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) program, to the new address (but continue to mail checks and payments only to our lockbox at P.O. Box 418617, Boston, MA 02241-8617).

The new location is still in the Washington, D.C. metro area, minutes from Reagan National Airport and a short cab or Metro ride to Capitol Hill. APPA welcomes members to visit us when you are in the area.

APPA’s other contact information remains the same. For more information, you may visit our website, www.PublicPower.org, email us at info@PublicPower.org, or call us at 202/467-2000. Please bear with us, as there may be brief phone, email, and web service interruptions between Aug. 22 and Aug. 25, while we relocate resources.

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Exelon Corporation filed an application yesterday with the Maryland Public Service Commission for approval to acquire Pepco Holdings, The Washington Post reported. Pepco is a utility based in Washington, D.C., that serves about half a million customers in Washington’s Maryland suburbs. The all-cash deal, announced in April, is valued at about $6.8 billion. The approval process for the merger is expected to take a year to 15 months. —J.A.


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EVENTS CALENDAR


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

Webinar – Rural Broadband Funding Opportunity for Public Power Utilities
September 11

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

Grid Security Summit
Arlington, Virginia
November 12-13

Webinar – It's a Wrap: A Look Back at Legislative, Regulatory, and Political Developments in 2014
December 9

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


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CLASSIFIEDS
Generating station shift supervisor— Due to the pending retirement of two long-term employees, the Burlington Electric Department in Vermont is seeking to fill a full-time position at its 50-megawatt, wood-fired generating station: McNeil Generating Station. This position is responsible for the overall operation of the McNeil Generating Station, utilizing wood, oil, or gas during the assigned 12-hour rotating shift. Qualifications: The ideal candidate will possess a high school diploma with additional vocational or technical training, and prior experience in a solid-fueled, steam-electric generating plant. Burlington, Vermont, is located on the shore of Lake Champlain and has highly accredited schools, a great outdoor sports and hunting, and excellent nearby ski areas, including Stowe, Sugarbush, and Smuggler’s Notch—to name a few. Compensation: This position provides an excellent benefits and compensation package, including up to $35.37 per hour, Blue Cross-Blue Shield health insurance, a traditional pension, and extremely generous time off benefits. Apply: For a complete job description and city of Burlington application, visit our website at www.burlingtonvt.gov/hr, or contact Human Resources by phone at 802/865-7145. If interested, send a resume, cover letter, and a completed city of Burlington application by Sept. 4 to: City of Burlington, Human Resources Department, 179 S. Winooski Ave., Burlington, VT 05401. EOE. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are highly encouraged to apply.

Vice president of business operations— The American Municipal Power, Inc., (AMP) in Columbus, Ohio, is seeking a vice president of business operations to oversee all AMP-owned properties, vehicles, and equipment. The individual will be responsible for the budgets of all phases of these business operations. The candidate will oversee the Forestry Program and AMPO, Inc., and assist the president in strategic planning and program/project development. Qualifications: The candidate must possess excellent leadership, organizational, and communications skills, and demonstrate the ability to make decisions and take appropriate actions. The candidate should have superior educational credentials and experience in public power and risk hazards. Apply: For the complete description of this position, please visit our website at www.amppartners.org. EOE.

Senior vice president of generation services and operations— The American Municipal Power, Inc., (AMP) in Columbus, Ohio, is seeking a senior vice president of generation services and operations to oversee all functions of the Power Generation Group, including all generation resources. The position provides the overall executive oversight and strategic planning of the organization’s generation portfolio. Qualifications: The candidate must possess excellent leadership, organizational, and communications skills. The candidate should have superior educational credentials and experience in the public generation field. The candidate should have knowledge of electrical engineering and maintenance procedures and practices. Apply: For the complete description of this position, please visit our website at www.amppartners.org. EOE.

Technical services superintendent— The Oberlin Municipal Light and Power System (OMLPS) in Ohio is accepting applications for the position of full-time technical services superintendent in the Electric Technical Services Division. Duties include supervision, planning, and coordination of the activities of the Electric Technical Services Division staff within the Electric Department. Minimum qualifications: Candidates must possess a bachelor's degree with three years relevant work experience or a high school diploma, or equivalent, that is supplemented with electrical engineering or related courses, and seven or more years of relevant work experience, or an equivalent combination. Candidates must also possess a valid state of Ohio class "A" commercial driver's license. Compensation: The salary range is $56,591 to $98,924 per year, depending on qualifications. Apply: Application packets are available at the Oberlin City Hall (85 S. Main St., Oberlin, OH 44074) and online at www.cityofoberlin.com. The closing date for the position is Monday, Aug. 25, at 4:30 p.m. The city of Oberlin is an equal employment opportunity employer and a drug-free workplace.

Distribution superintendent— The Oberlin Municipal Light and Power System (OMLPS) in Ohio is accepting applications for the position of full-time distribution superintendent in the Electric Distribution Division. Duties include supervision, planning, and coordination of the activities of the Electric Distribution Division staff within the Electric Department. Minimum qualifications: A bachelor's degree is preferred, but candidates must possess a high school diploma or equivalent that is supplemented with electrical engineering or related courses, and seven or more years relevant work experience, or an equivalent combination. Candidates must also possess a valid state of Ohio driver’s license. Compensation: The salary range is $56,591 to $98,924 per year, depending on qualifications. Apply: Application packets are available at the Oberlin City Hall (85 S. Main St., Oberlin, OH 44074) and online at www.cityofoberlin.com. The closing date is Monday, Aug. 25, at 4:30 p.m. The city of Oberlin is an equal employment opportunity employer and a drug-free workplace.

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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