6th Annual Utility Law Seminar
Kentucky Rural Water Association • Utility Leadership Institute
Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC
Holiday Inn University Plaza | Sloan Convention Center
Bowling Green, Kentucky
October 27, 2021
7:45 - 8:25 Registration and Refreshments
8:25 - 8:30 Welcome and Program Overview – Gary Larimore
8:30 - 9:30 Recent Developments in Utility Regulation – Damon Talley
This presentation reviews recent developments in public utility law and regulation. Topics include unaccounted water loss, revisions to the Open Meetings Act and Open Records Act, borrowing money, keeping Minutes, and laws enacted by the 2021 General Assembly. The presenter will also examine and discuss recent court and PSC decisions.
9:30 - 9:45 BREAK
9:45 - 10:45 Challenges Facing Water Utilities – Greg Heitzman and Robert Miller
This presentation will provide a summary of the major challenges facing Kentucky Drinking water systems, including: regulations, infrastructure, water loss, affordability, and funding. Twelve recommendations will be presented to make proactive changes in management of Kentucky water systems and take advantage of unprecedented infrastructure funding from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.
10:45 - 11:00 BREAK
11:00 - 12:00 Hot Water Topics – LaJuana Wilcher and Sarah Jarboe
This presentation will cover the current environmental law issues relevant to water and wastewater utilities. We will address PFAS regulation and litigation, infrastructure funding for utilities, the status of the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, developments in Clean Water Act point source liability for discharges via groundwater, and federal and state environmental enforcement discretionary policies related to COVID-19.
12:00 - 1:00 LUNCH (Provided On-Site)
1:00 - 2:00 Utility Financial Health Checkup – Mary Ellen Wimberly
This presentation analyzes various financial statements contained in a utility’s Audit Report and discusses how certain items and adjustments included in those financial statements may distort the reader’s perception of the utility’s financial health. The presenter will also explain the different types of audit opinions, compare the Audit Report to the Annual Report, and discuss recent PSC orders regarding financial health.
2:00 - 2:15 BREAK
2:15 - 3:15 Municipal Wholesale Rates – Gerald Wuetcher and Damon Talley
The Presenters will provide an overview of the PSC’s regulation of municipal utility rates for providing wholesale water and wastewater service to public utilities. Common mistakes made by both municipal utilities and public utilities will be discussed. The presenters will stress the importance of communicating with wholesale customers and highlight recent PSC decisions. Strategies that a wholesale customer may use to oppose or minimize wholesale rate increases will also be discussed.
3:15 - 3:25 BREAK
3:25 - 4:25 Ask the Lawyers – Gerald Wuetcher and Damon Talley
A panel of attorneys will entertain audience questions regarding frequently recurring legal issues faced by water utilities. Discussion is expected to address KRS Chapter 74 and its effects on the management and operation of water districts, as well as other highly relevant statutory provisions, such as the Claims against Local Government Act, Bidding Requirements provision of KRS Chapter 424, Eminent Domain, Local Model Procurement Law, Whistle Blowers Act, and general laws related to special districts. PSC regulatory requirements will also be discussed.
4:25 - 4:30 Closing Remarks & Administrative Announcements – Gary Larimore