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Legal Seminar to feature discussions on cyber liability, NERC compliance, and open records requirements

From the October 2, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published October 2, 2013

By LeAnne Nienhuis
Education and Customer Programs Manager
Attendees at the 2013 Legal Seminar will have an opportunity to attend one of three discussion forums on important legal issues that may be facing public power utilities, including a utility’s legal liability in the case of a cyber attack; compliance issues with rules established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corp.; and open records requirements.

The first discussion forum, only recently added to the Legal Seminar program, will focus on "Potential Legal Liability of Public Power Utilities for Damages Arising from Cyber Attacks." This discussion will cover recent legal research on state laws on what would happen in a worst-case scenario in which a public power utility is taken down by a cyber attack for an extended period of time, including the utility’s potential exposure to lawsuits from customers or other adversely impacted parties, and possible ways to address the issue in federal legislation. Participants are encouraged to come prepared to discuss state laws and share ideas. 

The second discussion forum will focus on "NERC Compliance Issues." A panel of experts will lead a discussion of recent legal and policy developments in the FERC-NERC reliability compliance regime. Participants will explore current issues in NERC compliance and share their own experiences and best practices. 

The final discussion forum will examine "Open Records Requirements & Freedom of Information Act Requests." A panel of public power attorneys will lead participants in exploring legislative and courtroom experiences, including recent legislation in Arizona and other states and pending federal legislation. Participants iare encouraged to bring materials, citations, etc. to share with the group and include in the post-seminar report.

The Legal Seminar is APPA’s annual meeting for attorneys that represent public power utilities and for utility managers and governing board members who oversee policy. The conference will be held Oct. 20-23 in Seattle, Wash. 

Complete program and registration information is available at


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