Former PUC Chair Still Serving
Wendell Holland is an attorney with the CFSD Group LLC, and is the former chair of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
PUF's Steve Mitnick: You have a long and distinguished career in regulation. Tell us what you're doing now, how it's different, and how it's similar.
Wendell Holland: I decided to try a very uncommon approach to serve the public interest after I left the chairmanship of the Pennsylvania commission. I try to encourage the very utilities that we regulated to do business once again with Main Street banks - those banks on Main Street in the small towns that they serve.
That's the way business was done thirty or forty years ago, when I started in the utility business. Utilities did a large part of their financing with those banks who are headquartered in the service territories. Over time, the emphasis by utilities moved toward using the large global banks for finances, and we largely lost the benefit of using local banks for financing.
We have tried to encourage utilities to complement their facilities by using the local banks. We've thought that they can get largely the same pricing, but what it does even more, is improve the credit quality of their local banks. That's because the local banks do not otherwise have the ability to get investment grade loans in their portfolio. If they get an investment grade credit, it increases their Federal Reserve score, so, they can loan more.