Despite market turmoil, state commissions refuse calls for an ROE boost.
Phillip S. Cross is Fortnightly’s legal editor. He acknowledges Diane Boiler’s contributions to the ROE survey and report.
(November 2009) A look at the rate cases in this year’s survey suggests that regulators have some degree of confidence that the worst effects of the financial crisis might be subsiding and that a steady but slow recovery is underway. This brings into sharp focus the true importance of economic indicators as a driving force in rate case rulings this past year.
For utility companies, this means state regulators are rejecting calls by utilities for increases to returns on equity (ROE) to account for either volatility in the capital markets or increased risks going forward.
At the same time the stubbornness of the economic downturn and the reluctance of corporations to begin hiring again continue driving consumers to keep pressure on regulators to look for ways to keep rates low. Caution is advised in drawing any conclusions, however, as the cases reviewed in our latest table were decided over the last year, many of them based on “test period” data that’s now over a year old.