Business & Finance Conference

B&F Preconference Seminars

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Preconference seminars offer longer class times, smaller class sizes, interactive formats, and experienced instructors. Dive deep into hot topics to add value to your conference experience. 

Separate registration and fee required.

Preconference Seminars - Sunday, September 15

  • Performing a Utility Financial Check-Up
  • Distributed Energy Resources: Overview of Financial Risk and Opportunities
  • Talent Wars: Are You Ready for the Next Generation? 
  • Trending Complexities in Public Utility Accounting
  • Utility Rates at the Crossroad: Emerging Rate Designs

Registration fees: $350 members (each) / $700 nonmembers (each)


Sunday, September 15

Performing a Utility Financial Check-Up
8:30 a.m. - Noon

Get refreshed on accounting and budgeting best practices and find out how to set and achieve key financial targets—cash reserves/requirements, rate of return, debt coverage ratio, age of system, capital re-investment, debt policies, transfers to the city, rate structures for revenue stability, accounting and budgeting practices.

Review best practices for capital planning and debt issuance, and when and how to review rate structures. Get practical insights from other utilities and gain a deeper understanding of the short and long-term implications of financial decisions on your utility’s financial health. Learn how to communicate utility financial performance and rate changes to governing bodies and customers. Go beyond the basics to discuss strategies for increasing liquidity and other factors to consider outside of cash reserves.

Course Topics

  • Monitoring a utility’s financial health
  • Setting proper revenue requirements
  • What should be reported to management and governing bodies
  • Key financial targets and indicators to guide strategic decision making
  • Identifying rate structure risk and methods to minimize and control risk
  • Social, environmental, and political risks to consider when establishing financial policies
  • Determining cost drivers and allocations
  • Proper capital planning
  • Monitoring, exposure, and methods to control the utility’s revenue stability
  • Timing of rate structure reviews
  • Communicating utility financial performance, rate changes, and the need for increasing liquidity to policymakers and customers

Dawn Lund, Vice President, Utility Financial Solutions, Leland, Michigan


Distributed Energy Resources: Overview of Financial Risks & Opportunities
8:30 a.m. - Noon

Advances in distributed energy resources present several opportunities as well as risks to your utility.  Load management and cost recovery challenges loom large. How can you manage growth in behind-the-meter technologies and maintain customer relationships? Examine case studies to see how “business as usual” analytical methods can be improved to identify and manage risks. Discuss the effects of integrating distributed energy resource technologies on your utility’s load, operations, resource management, and financial planning. Understand how you can mitigate financial risk through strategic rate design.

Course Topics

  • Identify key risk areas resulting from growth in distributed solar, electric vehicles, and behind-the-meter energy storage
  • Recognize the role an integrated rate strategy can play in managing load shapes
  • Develop strategies to mitigate DER risk
  • Alternative rate design solutions

Scott Burnham, Executive Consultant, Tony Georgis, President, Energy Practice, and Andy Reger, Senior Consultant, NewGen Consulting, Denver, Colorado


Talent Wars: Are You Ready for the Next Generation? 
FREE (Offered as part of the Association’s Supporting Workforce Development strategic initiative)
8:30 - Noon

Can public power attract and retain tech-savvy employees with the talent to power our smart world? See how others are building the energy workplace of the future and closing the gaps in diversity and inclusion. Explore generational differences in career expectations and workplace behaviors. Prepare for increased Baby Boomer retirement, manage the forgotten Gen Xers, and engage the Millennials. Build a comprehensive plan of action to take on the increasing industry competition for new talent. Discuss the real cost of attrition and retention and ways our industry can modernize its message and work environments to attract and engage this new digital talent.

Course Topics

  • When Millennials Take Over: Who they are/aren’t, YOLO, Millennial demographics vs. public power demographics), power industry perception, identifying gaps and action items
  • The Millennial Employee: Dispelling myths, career expectations and workplace behaviors, 5 forces analysis and downstream consequences
  • The War for Talent: The real impact of Baby Boomer retirement; Gen X managers (the unseen jeopardy): the real cost of attrition and retention; the competition for talent
  • Creating an Employee Experience Workplace: The employee experience vs. employee lifecycle, communicating your employer value promise, 7 must-do actions for attracting and retaining talent, communicating with remote employees via social platforms

Janet Kieffer, Principal, INFLUENCE, Austin, Texas


Trending Complexities in Public Utility Accounting
1:30 - 5 p.m.

Get an update on accounting guidance and interpretations issued to keep up with changes in energy markets, technology, and reporting requirements. Learn about trending topics such as accounting for renewable energy projects and joint ventures and public-private partnerships. Review recent GASB pronouncements and potential impacts on utility reporting. Get tips on preparing informative and efficient presentations to the utility board at monthly meetings.

Tom Unke, Partner, Baker Tilly, Madison, Wisconsin 


Utility Rates at the Crossroad: Emerging Rate Designs
1:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Utilities must learn how to bridge the span between the rate and regulatory framework of yesterday and tomorrow. Explore how utilities are changing up the approach to customer charges, demand charges, time of use rates, and distributed generation rates, and discuss how these approaches can strengthen financials, meet customer needs, and support regulatory or policy initiatives. Examine which emerging trends in rate designs are the best fit for your utility, and how you might educate community stakeholders about recommended changes and options. 

Course Topics

  • The Role of Demand in Cost of Service Two-Part Rate vs. Three-Part Rate 
  • Alignment of Wholesale and Retail Rates
  • Rate Design & Billing Impacts 
  • Utility Implementations of Emerging Rate Designs
  • Public Perception & Reception
  • Regulatory and Political Initiatives
  • Emerging Issues & Trends
  • Rate Design Options for Emerging Trends
  • Customer Offerings: TOU, DG, EDRs, & More
  • Challenges, Advantages & Disadvantages

John Wolfram, Principal, Catalyst Consulting, Louisville, Kentucky