NARUC Utility Rate School




    Rate School is open to everyone in the regulatory policy community:

  • Regulatory commissioners, members of oversight boards, and other public officials
  • Staff members of state public utility commissions and environmental agencies
  • Public utility consumer and environmental advocates
  • Utility company personnel, analysts, and investors
  • Attorneys, accountants, engineers, consultants and other professionals.
The NARUC Utility Rate School is held twice a year, in the fall (Eastern - Clearwater Beach, FL) and the spring (Western - San Diego, CA). The basics of utility ratemaking are presented by program faculty members from state public utility commissions, utility companies, and the legal, consulting, and academic communities. Rate School emphasizes the fundamentals of the utility rate setting process, including how to establish revenue requirements and the basic concepts of rate design. Participants work in teams to learn the fundamentals of establishing revenue requirements and setting rates by working through a hypothetical rate case for a water utility. The program also provides insight into current issues affecting the water industry and other public utilities.

By featuring a carefully crafted mock rate case and a team approach, Rate School provides a unique hands-on educational experience. Rate School is relevant to anyone interested and involved in utility ratemaking. Specialists across all sectors – water, natural gas, and electricity – have actively participated and benefited from the School and are encouraged to attend. Although the program centers on a mock water rate case, the emphasis is actually on the core principles, concepts, and tools of rate-base/rate-of-return regulation and reatemaking—particularly accounting, finance, and economic analysis. Water and energy demonstrate technical distinctions, they have more in common than not when it comes to ratemaking. What are revenue requirements? What is reported on a balance sheet and income statement? What is included in the ratebase? How is the rate of return determined? Balance sheets, income statements, taxes, depreciation, capital structure, cost of capital, cost allocation, and rate design are common considerations for all regulated utilities. Rate School also includes a special session on energy issues

The NARUC Utility Rate School has been sponsored by the Committee on Water of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) since 1972. The Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University provides administrative support to the School. Check out photos of last year here!


  • Regulatory, Industry, and Consumer Perspectives
  • Economic Basis for Regulation
  • Legal Basis for Regulation
  • Prefiling Briefing for the Mock Rate Case
  • Basics of Utility Rate Setting
  • Choosing the Test Year
  • Developing the Rate Base
  • Getting Started on the Mock Rate Case
  • Balance Sheets and Income Statements
  • Expenses, Adjustments, and Depreciation
  • Income Taxes
  • Corporate Finance and Cost of Capital
  • Ratemaking Issues for Energy Utilities
  • Economics of Rate Design
  • Cost-Allocation Methods
  • Rate-Design Methods
  • Summation Panel for the Mock Rate Case


NARUC and IPU welcome lifelong learners, including former attendees. The Rate School program builds on a tradition of knowledge and experience while incorporating current regulatory issues and methods, providing a great opportunity to reflect and refresh. You may have attended Rate School in the past, but the mock rate case and materials are continuously updated. As your career evolves, you will welcome fresh insights into familiar concepts. And keep in mind that Rate School is eligible for continuing education credits as well as IPU's new Certificate of Continuing Regulatory Education, details of which are available at


Participants in IPU programs are awarded a certificate of participation, as well as applicable continuing education credits and credits toward a Certificate of Continuing Regulatory Education (CCRE) endorsed by NARUC. The NARUC Utility Rate School is eligible for 40 CCRE credits:

Program Learning Objectives
  • To understand the core principles and methods of public utility ratemaking.
  • To understand the economic and legal basis for utility ratemaking.
  • To understand the role of accounting and finance in utility ratemaking.
  • To understand alternative perspectives on the regulated ratemaking process.
  • To provide a hands-on learning experience through a mock rate case.
  • Program Level The program is classified as “basic” and accessible to new personnel working in the regulatory policy community.

    Program Prerequisites No prerequisites apply to this program. Preparatory resources are available on the IPU website on the URS program page as well as the IPU research page.

    Program Delivery The program delivery method combines presentations by experienced professionals, including examples and opportunity for discussion. The centerpiece of the program is a mock rate case where students work in a mentored small group. Active learning and participation are encouraged and instructors are accessible for individual assistance throughout the program.

    Cancellation and Refunds. Cancellations are generally accepted until one week before the program. Substitutions are accepted at any time. Program fees may be applied toward a future program or refunded.

    Comments and Complaints. IPU welcomes program input and feedback. Participants will be asked to complete program evaluation forms. Comments and complaints about the program may be directed to IPU Director, Dr. Janice A. Beecher ( or IPU Program Coordinator, Ms. Ligita Nelson (

    NASBA National Registry Statement. The Institute of Public Utilities is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors, 150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 700, Nashville, TN 37210-2417. Website: CLE credits are also available. IPU-MSU will apply for accreditation or registration of the program. Application does not guarantee approval.


    Don't just take our word for it, hear what past Rate School attendees think about the program.