PUC Announces Availability of Updated Utility Ratemaking Guide

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The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has announced the availability of an updated publication of “A Guide to Utility Ratemaking.” PUC Commissioner Norman J. Kennard recently updated the original handbook he wrote more than 35 years ago with former PUC Commissioner James H. Cawley.

The new 190-page handbook is designed as an introduction to ratemaking for customers and new practitioners and also is a research tool for the more advanced participant. It updates the 1983 discussion of test year ratemaking and addresses many innovations that have made Pennsylvania a national leader in the field, including the distribution system improvement surcharge, fully projected future test year and revenue decoupling. Also updated are industry descriptions that have changed with competition and other variables, and the handbook contains a thorough guide to the procedures used by the Commission to set rates.

“This rewritten version replaces the 35-year-old original. Everything is different – the economy, technology, the state of utility infrastructure and the art of regulation. What is unchanged is the inventiveness and dedication of the employees of this Commission who rise to the challenge every day,” said Commissioner Kennard.

Commissioner Cawley added: “This second edition of the Rate Case Handbook, updated with my hearty encouragement, is a giant leap forward from the 1983 version and is certain to be a very useful guide for rate case beginners and veterans alike as well as a reliable aid to Pennsylvania’s appellate courts.”

About the Authors

Commissioner James H. Cawley served two terms as a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, from 1979 to 1985 and from 2005 to 2015, the second longest combined tenure in the Commission’s (and its predecessor, the Public Service Commission’s) history dating to 1913. He served as Chairman from 2008 to 2011. After completing his term of office in 2015, he became Of Counsel to Skarlotos Zonarich LLC, a Harrisburg, PA, law firm. A graduate of St. Bonaventure University and Notre Dame Law School, Cawley was one of the original law clerks for Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court when it came into existence in 1970, served as majority counsel to the state Senate Consumer Affairs Committee and chief counsel to the Democratic floor leader in the Senate, and was a major drafter of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Code. While at the PUC, Cawley was appointed by the Federal Communications Commission to serve as a member of the Federal-State Joint Board for Universal Service.

Commissioner Norman J. Kennard was sworn in as a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Nov. 14, 2017. Prior to that, he was engaged in the private practice of law for thirty plus years (1983-2014) representing various consumer, supplier and utility interests. The scope of his legal practice included natural gas transportation, broadband infrastructure legislation, the negotiation of power generation and gas supply contracts, interconnection agreements, intercarrier compensation and rate case filings of all sorts. He has had experience across all regulated industries, in multiple forums, state and federal, regulatory and legislative, as well as litigation and appellate representation. His career began with the Office of Consumer Advocate in 1979.  He has served as counsel to two previous PUC Chairmen: Robert F. Powelson (2014-17) and Clifford L. Jones (1981-83). Kennard received his bachelor’s degree from Hartwick College and earned his law degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law.


The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

Visit the PUC’s website at www.puc.pa.gov for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. 


Original Press Release