The utility regulatory process is prone to controversy, given the inherently adversarial roles and varied viewpoints among the utilities, regulators, and other stakeholders. Oft-heard pleas of "why can't you just see this issue my way" or "can't we all just get along" underscore the deep-seated frustrations of utility leaders and regulators in trying to find a common ground for addressing crucial issues surrounding the formulation of business strategies, establishment of responsible financial goals, and setting of operational performance standards for the regulated gas and electric distribution utility segments of the energy industry.
In fall 2004, Navigant Consulting conducted a comprehensive survey1 to solicit the insights of utility leaders into the key challenges surrounding regulatory uncertainty, and the implications on the rate-case and ratemaking activities of gas and electric distribution utilities. The message, heard loud and clear, was that regulatory uncertainty is real and remains one of the most critical issues in the North American energy industry. It must be better managed.