Bar Association 2015 Presentations

Energy, Telecom, and Water Law Updates 2-27-15


Speaker Bios


2015 Presentations

1 Session Introduction by Bryan Kleinmaier

2 Cynthia Smith – Overview of Changes at the Public Service Commission of WI

3 Mike Varda – Broadband Seminar

3a Broadband Seminar Outline with Appendices

4 Judd Genda – Telecommunications Law Update

5 Kira Loehr – PSCW Energy Cases Update

6 David Gilles – Federal Energy Law Update

7 Anita Gallucci – Municipal Utility Law Update

8 Lawrie Kobza – PSC Water Update

9 Lauren Azar – Regulatory Reforms, Reactions to New Technologies


*Final Presentations Merged


Energy, Telecommunications and Water Law Update 2015

Energy, Telecommunications and Water Law Update – 2015

This program is Co-Sponsored by the Public Utilities Section

Friday, February 27, 2015


2015 Presentations

Pyle Center, Room 235


Program Description: An update of notable regulatory and legal cases, statuses, and administrative code provisions impacting practitioners in the energy, telecommunications and water arena in the year 2014.

Who Should Attend: Those interested in PSCW activities, energy and telecommunications law attorneys, water attorneys, municipal attorneys, and environmental attorneys.

Key Takeaways: Gain understanding of key developments in energy, telecommunications and water regulation; Explore recent happenings in the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin; Learn about changes in electric technologies and state reforms.


9:00 – 9:05 – Introduction | Bryan Kleinmaier, Partner, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP

9:05-10:00 – Overview of Changes at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin | Cynthia Smith, Chief Legal Counsel at the PSCW

10:00-10:25 – Telecommunications Law Updates | Mike Varda, PSCW Office of General Counsel & Judd Genda, Partner, Axley Brynelson in Madison

10:25-10:40 – Break

10:40 – 11:20 – Energy Law Updates | Kira Loehr, Executive Director and General Counsel, Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin, Inc., PSCW case updates & David Gilles, Godrey and Kahn, State and Federal legislative and case updates

11:20-11:50 – Municipal Law Updates | Anita Gallucci, Partner, Boardman and Clark LLP

11:50 – 12:20 – PSCW Water Regulatory Law Updates | Lawrie Kobza, Partner, Boardman and Clark LLP

12:20-1:40 – Lunch with Speaker, Changing Electric Technologies and State Reforms | Lauren Azar, Attorney, Azar Law LLC

1:40-2:00 – Questions and Answers

2:00 – Program concludes

Register Here: 

Click Here

$125 Registration Fee

Registration includes instruction, course materials and meals.

Directions and Where to Park: 

Pyle Center is located at 702 Langdon Street on the UW-Madison Campus. Parking ramps are on Lake St.

Combined Heat and Power–Finding Common Ground

Combined Heat and Power Workshop

This program is co-sponsored by the Dept. of Administration and the State Energy Office

Friday, January 23, 2015

Register for Free

9:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Pyle Center, Room 325

If the state embarks on an initiative to accelerate the adoption of CHP and industrial operational efficiency, and, if the utilities were put in charge of the program, what might the program look like?

9:30 – 9:50  DOA/SEO Program objectives—what will the DOA/SEO do with the stakeholder work and future plans for this work?  | Kevin Vesperman and Amanda Mott, DOA

9:55 – 10:20| Anne Hampson, ICF International

  • Benefits of CHP from an environmental and economic perspective
  • Utility experiences – What makes a good business case for CHP
  • Lessons learned from incentive programs

10:25 – 10:40 Experience for contracting CHP across Wisconsin | Randy Bertram, WMEP

10:45 – 11:00 Utility experience in contracting CHP | Rob Benninghoff, WPS

11:05 – 11:30 Open discussion on barriers and opportunities as outlined by three previous speakers

11:30 – 12:30  Panel Discussion 

In this session, we will explore how operational efficiency and moves to add such enhancements as CHP can lead to new production and thus new load.  The example will be drawn from current efforts: What needs to happen to ensure that this kind of effort is a benefit to utilities and stakeholders? 

  • Small/mid-size rural farm perspective | Dale Olson, USEMCO/Peters Farm
  • Financial success and potential resource recovery centers | Chris Lefebvre, Stevens Point WWTP
  • Phosphorus, etc. | Paul Nehm, Madison WWTP
  • Tribal/Industry | Charlie Opferman, Potawatomi Digester
  • Matt Cole | Big Ox Energy
  • Joel Laubenstein | Baker Tilly

12:30 – 1:00  Lunch

Technical and Contracting Options

1:00 – 1:30 Utility CHP Contracting | Tim Baye, Professor Business Developments, State Energy Specialist

1:30 – 1:50 CHP Technology Changes and Applications | Jeff Ihnen, Michaels Energy

1:50 – 2:10 Is there something here of interest? Discussion

2:10 – 2:50 We will divide the attendees into two groups: CHP or Operational Energy Efficiency.  

Questions will include:

What benefits do you (utility, public interest, customer)  see from adoption of these technologies ?

What are the downsides?

Are there policies that help the state move forward with these technologies?

Are there policies that stand in the way?

What would make you (utility, public interest, customer) welcome this change?

What would make you not welcome this change?

2:50 – 3:15 View other team’s work

3:30 – 4:00  Return to group and discuss findings on flip charts and any issues placed into a “parking lot” topic. 

Can we find some common ground for further discussion:

  • Anything needs further investigation on possibility—if so, who and timeline
  • Closing comments from  participants, SEO/DOA

Site Location

Pyle Center, Lake and Langdon, Parking in the Lake Street Ramp

Kira Loehr

Executive Director and General Counsel, Citizens Utility Board

Kira Loehr, Executive Director and General Counsel, Citizens Utility Board

Kira Loehr is the Executive Director and General Counsel for the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin. CUB is a nonprofit organization that advocates for reliable, affordable and sound utility service on behalf of Wisconsin’s residential and small business utility customers. Kira represents CUB in all proceedings before the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, MISO, FERC, and the courts. She also manages the organization and helps develop positions on utility policy and other issues of importance to CUB’s members. Before joining CUB in 2010, she practiced public utility and environmental law with Cullen Weston Pines & Bach LLP. Kira served on the Board of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Public Utility Law Section from 2007 to 2014 and was the Chair of that Section Board from 2013-2014. Kira received a J.D. degree, cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2002, and a B.A. degree in psychology and philosophy magna cum laude from Saint Louis University in 1997.

Energy Utility Basics 2015


Energy Utility Basics Fundamentals Course 

Registration Link


October 5 – 9, 2015

Seminar Site:  The Pyle Center, located on Lake Mendota

Energy Utility Basics is an intensive course on the fundamental concepts critical to being conversant in today’s energy industry. Course content is updated yearly as technology, regulation, competition and markets evolve.  WPUI has proudly presented this exceptional course each fall since 1983.

Course Summary: Over four and a half days, participants will receive an introduction to the electric and natural gas industries, insights into regulatory decision-making, and an analysis of the current issues facing both industries.  The dedicated gas course begins Thursday at noon and continues until mid-Day Friday

Benefits: Attendees will obtain practical knowledge of the operations and technology of the natural gas and electricity industries from extraction, whether from the ground or renewables, to the customer’s bill. Course registration covers a field trip to a natural gas power plant, daily lunches and breaks, printed course materials and UW-Madison CEU certification. CLE credits will be applied for.

Who Should Attend: The energy industry has undergone substantial changes – including changes in hiring practices. Twenty years ago, new utility staff would start out learning the ropes by working up through the ranks. In today’s fast-moving business environment, it is often advantageous to hire staff from other industries, bringing in outside talent that doesn’t yet have a working knowledge of the energy industry. Energy Utility Basics is intended for anyone working in the energy industry, including public interest groups, legislative staff, regulatory staff, state and local government personnel. The course is for energy professionals who want a better grasp of how all the technological, financial and political pieces of the energy puzzle fit together. Registration is open to the public

What others have said:

“I came in new to the industry wanting to learn about how energy is made, distributed, and transmitted. I am leaving with a better understanding of all that and more.”

“The good mix of speakers and audience made for an excellent atmosphere to understand a complex industry from all angles.”

“I wish I could have taken this course right away when I entered the utility industry.”

“I appreciate the care in progressively building on the modules.”

“Plenty of beneficial information, good speakers.”

“As someone with only a couple years of utility experience, this was a great foundation”

“Covered as many of the topics as possible in an entertaining and informative way – could have been very boring, but it wasn’t.  Nice work!”

“Excellent overview and well-planned program.”

“Delivery of complex information in an easy to digest manner.”

“I loved getting to see the operators and getting to touch and see how it all works at the power plant”

“Variety of speakers, all were knowledgeable and able to break down the subject matter for those with a limited knowledge of the industry.”


October 5: Electricity  Industry Structure

Why a regulated monopoly? Who’s regulated, why and how: The Federal and State Perspective

  • Federal Roles, Rules, Spheres of Influence:  FERC and EPA
  • The Public Service Commission-Roles and Rules, Balance of Power
  • Transmission-The Overlooked Connection Until 1970
  • A Day in the Life of a Regional Transmission Organization:  A Primer
  • Utility Company Models-Presentations and Panel Discussion

October 6: Electricity  Industry Operations

From Heat to Electricity – How we make Electricity in the U.S.

  • Field Identification Guide to the Electric Industry
  • A Day in the Life of a Distribution Company
  • A Day in the Life of a Transmission Operator
  • Field Trip: Co-Generation Power Plant

October 7: Rate-making for Electric and Gas Companies

  • What drives utility stock prices?” Does that work for you?
  • Basics of Rate Setting
  • Dynamic Pricing and Demand Response
  • New Models for Pricing
  • Strategies for Addressing Fixed Cost Recovery Issues
  • A Utility’s Response to Changing Customer Expectations

October 8: Low to No Carbon Options

Work Done Without (or with a small) Carbon Footprint

  • Nuclear Future—The Base Load of the Future?
  • Balancing your Resource and Financial Portfolios
  • Where, How and Why Energy is Used in the US
  • Renewables Panel

October 9: The New/Old Kid on the Block: Gas

What Everyone Ought to Know About Gas

  • Providing Natural Gas Service-Wholesale
  • Providing Natural Gas Service-Retail
  • Gas Physical and Financial Markets

Institute Member   $1,450.00
Non-Member  $2,250.00
Government (Non-Utility)    $700.00
Non-Profit, Member    $1,200.00
Non-Profit, Non-Member    $1,550.00


Register here:

Accommodations: Graduate Madison

Room Rate:  $149

Deluxe Rooms includes amenities such as transportation to and from the Madison Airport, hot breakfast and more.

Parking is available for hotel guests

Additional Parking available in Lot 46 (Lake & Johnson St Ramps at 301 N. Lake St.)

Click here for map and more info



Not Your Father's Pension Plan

Defined Benefit Pensions:  A Balancing Act of Financial, Regulatory, Fiduciary, and Public Trust Considerations

Pensions 2014 Presentations

 October 31, 2014

Pyle Center on Langdon Street (Park in the Lake Street Ramp)

Presented by

Wisconsin Council on Economic Education, Inc. and the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute

Registration is required

Pension plans and responsibilities for pension plans have changed over the past years.  No longer is it the “savings account” for retired employees.  This pension seminar will review the interests of involved parties and the responsibilities assigned to the various regulatory bodies at federal and state level. The interactions and potentially conflicting objectives among the various interested parties will be considered.

A special discussion seminar with Enrique Bacalao, Economics Wisconsin President and Chief Executive Officer

Guest speakers:

Tom Kilkenny, Partner, Deloitte & Touche

Wesley Smyth, Vice President – Senior Accounting Analyst. Moody’s Investors Service

Timothy Jennings, Managing Director and Head of Origination, Pacific Global Advisors

Registration is required, attendance will be limited to 25.  Please use the link below to register.,3100-101,3100-102


9:30 – 9:45 Registration
9:45 – 10:00 Introductions Cara Lee Mahany Braithwait, Director, WPUI
10:00 – 10:15 Framing the Issues Enrique BacalaoPresidentWisconsin Council on Economic Education, Inc. We will frame the issues that will be addressed at this meeting and will suggest a desired outcome for the session, with the participants’ help.  This presentation will review the interests of the various parties and the responsibilities assigned to the various regulatory bodies at federal and state level. The interactions and potentially conflicting objectives among the various interested parties will be considered. This presentation sets out to provide a framework for the subsequent presentations and discussions.
10:15 – 11:00 A Legal Perspective Emory IrelandPartnerFoley & Lardner(to be confirmed) In this session we will discuss the nature of the defined benefit pension plan’s obligations and the sponsors’ fiduciary responsibility to its employees, retirees, and stockholders, balanced against the duties to the customers, other commercial stakeholders, and the general public. The last 15 minutes of this session will be available for discussion.
11:00 – Noon An Accounting Perspective Tom KilkennyPartnerDeloitte & Touche In this session we will discuss the rules followed to measure and report on our defined benefit pension plans’ obligations and assets according to U.S. GAAP, as well as the determination of any given defined benefit plan’s net funding status, and the impact of these rules on the various financial statements. The last 15 minutes of this session will be available for discussion.
Noon- 12: 30 Box Lunches and a Break
12:30 – 1:30 A Credit Rating Agency’s  Perspective Wesley SmythVice President – Senior Accounting AnalystMoody’s Investors Service In this session we will discuss how one major credit rating agency evaluates the management of defined benefit pension plans, and how alternative pension plan management strategies and outcomes affect the plan sponsor’s credit strength and credit ratings. The last 15 minutes of this session will be available for discussion.
1:30 – 1:45 Break
1:45 – 3:15 What Can We Do? Timothy JenningsManaging Director and Head of OriginationPacific Global Advisors Given the current positions of public utility companies, the regulatory framework faced in this area, and current market conditions, are there better ways to reduce risk and lower the costs of meeting defined benefit pension plans? If so, what are the main characteristics of these alternatives? Within the regulatory framework, what encourages or discourages plan sponsors to make the right decisions?  How can we be sure of any proposed changes actually improving matters? The last 30 minutes of this session will be available for discussion.
3:15 Adjourn