Pre-Rally Seminars

Governance Best Practices: Policy Development and Implementation
Monday, February 27
8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (boxed lunch included)

Policy development and use is at the core of effective public power governance. Because enabling legislation and by-laws on their own are seldom adequate for effective governance, a board’s documented policies provide the basic structure and processes through which it fulfills its responsibilities. 

In this seminar, participants will learn about the importance of documented policies in (1) strengthening board leadership; (2) supporting the consistent application of sound governance principles; (3) making decisions that guide both board and management action; and (4) sustaining the beneficial legacy of public power for the next generation. 

Specifically, participants will learn how an effective board can accomplish the following objectives through the routine development, implementation, and monitoring of policies.

  1. Develop the board’s capability to be intentional and consistent in its policy leadership of the organization.
  2. Organize written policies to (1) address the full range of policy issues that the board is likely to face; (2) clearly distinguish the respective roles and accountabilities of the board and management; and (3) clearly delegate appropriate authority to board officers and to the General Manager/CEO.
  3. Ensure that policies are consistent with and responsive to current legal and regulatory requirements.

Participants will review several significant governance issues that are common to Public Power organizations, consider alternative responses to those issues, and develop written policy statements. Participants will also be exposed to a systematic format for policy documentation and a systematic structure for organizing policies into a comprehensive policy manual.

R. John Miner
, P.E., President, Collaborative Learning, Inc., Helotes, Texas

Tax Reform and Municipal Bonds: What Can We Expect?
Monday, February 27
8:30 a.m. - Noon

This seminar will provide an overview of tax reform and municipal bonds, including the current status and how we got here, what’s on the table and what lies ahead under the new administration. Speakers will also address federal tax regulatory developments affecting public power and public private partnerships as a tool for risk management.

Jane Campbell,
Director, National Development Council, Washington, D.C.; Ed Oswald, Partner, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Washington, D.C.; Mitchell Rapaport, Partner, Nixon Peabody, LLP, Washington, D.C.; and Chuck Samuels, Member, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC, Washington, D.C.; and Mark White, Managing Director, Bostonia Partners, Boston, Mass. 

Pole Attachments:  Major New Challenges and Opportunities
Monday, February 27
1:30-5:00 p.m.

Public power utilities across the United States are facing increasingly complex wireline and wireless pole attachment issues. On the wireless side, rapidly growing requests for attachments of small cell facilities or distributed antenna systems are creating significant new engineering, operational, administrative, rate-design, and other challenges as utility pole owners seek to balance the competing needs of multiple providers, while simultaneously protecting and maintaining the safety, security and reliability of their core electric services. According to the FCC, a 10-fold increase in wireless sites will be necessary to support the so-called “fifth generation” (5G) of wireless. To pave the way for this, the FCC has recently taken several significant steps, and legislation that would curtail local authority to deny or condition applications for wireless attachments has been introduced in numerous states. 

On the wireline side, pole attachments are also becoming increasingly complicated as existing and new communications service providers rush to construct fiber networks in a growing number of localities across the United States. As a result, many traditional pole attachment processes have come under review, and controversial new techniques, including “One Touch Make Ready,” have been the subject of extensive debate, local legislation, and litigation. 

This workshop is designed to provide an overview and insights into the main issues confronting utilities in managing wireless and wireline attachments, including:

  • A report on the current status of pole attachment regulation in the US
  • A preview of the potential federal, state, and local legislation
  • An overview of what small cell facilities, distributed antenna systems, and “5G” are today and where they are heading in the next few years
  • A review of the key engineering, safety, legal, financial, and other issues posed by the next generations of wireless
  • A discussion of the major new issues surrounding wireline attachments, including new techniques such as “One Touch Make Ready”
  • A report on pole attachment litigation, including the Louisville and Nashville “One Touch” cases
  • A discussion of the major changes that some utilities are making to their traditional pole attachment practices and procedures

Jim Baller
, President, Sean Stokes, Principal, and Casey Lide, Principal, Baller Stokes & Lide, PC

Cybersecurity Challenges for Utilities: An Overview of Threats, Preparedness, Incident Response, and Legal Developments
Monday, February 27
1:30 – 5:00 p.m.

This course is free for American Public Power Association members.

Cybersecurity is a growing concern for the electric industry, with utilities facing threats such as power outages, service disruptions, ransomware, denial of service attacks, destructive malware, theft of sensitive operational and business information, and breaches of employee/customer information. Utilities are ramping up preparedness efforts to manage risks associated with cybersecurity and privacy violations and the government recently passed new laws and issued new regulations addressing cybersecurity.
Hear an update on the cybersecurity threat environment, including an overview of new legislation and regulations, a discussion of pre-incident preparedness and risk management measures, and recommendations on how to respond to a cyber incident. 

Topics include:

  • The board’s role in cybersecurity and ways to engage policymakers and executives on cybersecurity/privacy issues
  • Creating a board cybersecurity committee or an enterprise-wide cybersecurity and privacy task force
  • Updating information security policies
  • Managing cybersecurity risks associated with third party vendors and privacy/security provisions to include in vendor contracts
  • Engaging with government and private entities on information sharing: overview of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 and recent Executive Orders on cybersecurity
  • Understanding the federal government’s approach to cybersecurity under the Trump administration
  • Updating your incident response plan; understanding data breach table top exercises and whether your utility should participate
  • Responding to a data breach or cyber incident; appropriate roles for lawyers in incident response
  • Determining the right cyber insurance coverage and understanding the SAFETY Act


  • Paul Tiao, Partner, Hunton & Williams, Washington, D.C.
  • Kevin Jones, Partner, Hunton & Williams, Washington, D.C.
  • Walter Andrews, Partner, Hunton & Williams, Washington, D.C.
  • Fred Eames, Partner, Hunton & Williams, Washington, D.C.
  • Don Good, Director, Navigant, Washington, D.C.
  • Heather Glass, Senior Attorney, Hunton & Williams, Washington, D.C.