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ABA book offers comprehensive guide on understanding, regulating public utilities

ABA book offers comprehensive guide on understanding, regulating public utilities

By John Glynn

CHICAGO, Nov. 1, 2013 — For more than a century, regulation of public utilities has supported and disciplined the nation’s infrastructural industries, regardless of sector or era. But in recent years, new policy challenges are stretching regulation’s legal boundaries.

A new book from the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, “Regulating Public Utility Performance: The Law of Market Structure, Pricing and Jurisdiction,” provides stakeholders in the public utility sector with a guide to the foundations of public utility law and applies them to frontier challenges. The book will help regulators, legislators, lawyers and a host of others in business and education to better understand some of the emerging issues and tensions in utility regulation.

Utility commissions are facing questions over climate change, universal broadband services, data privacy, microgrids, industry concentration and terrorism protection. Regardless of the specific issue, these commissions are typically guided by five features: the mission to align private utility behavior with public interest; the diversity of their challenges; their reliance on economics, accounting, engineering and finance; the broad sources of their legal authority; and the need for flexibility to accommodate multiple market structures and public purposes.

One reviewer wrote: “This timely treatise is characterized by uncommonly clear writing and superb organization. It will be a joy and an invaluable resource for the veteran, essential reading for the newcomer. The legendary Alfred Kahn (“The Economics of Regulation: Principles and Institutions”) would cheer this worthy successor and addition to the literature.”

The author, Scott Hempling, has taught the law of public utilities to a generation of regulators and practitioners and has served as an expert witness, testifying before state commissions, Congress and various state legislatures. He is a prolific writer and a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center.

Title:                “Regulating Public Utility Performance:
The Law of Market Structure, Pricing and Jurisdiction”
Publisher:        ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
Pages:              500
Product Code:  5350248
ISBN:               978-1-62722-292-1
Size:                7 x 10 paperback
Price:               $129.95
Orders: Order the book at 800-285-2221 or buy online.

Editor’s note: Author interviews and review copies are available by sending an email to Amelia Stone at If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Amelia Stone, American Bar Association, Book Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.

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