FERC Accounting 101

January 25-26, 2022 | Online

Click Here to Register ($1195)

The overriding purpose of the Uniform System of Accounts (USofA) is to ensure uniformity and consistency in the reporting of the accounting transactions in the books and records of electric and gas utilities. Uniformity and consistency are important not only for regulators, but also for other parties requiring accounting information, such as utility management, shareholders, creditors and other parties to rate proceedings. Therefore, it is beneficial to anyone whose work involves public utilities to have a basic understanding of the FERC USofA since it is applicable both at the federal and state level.

This training in the basics of the FERC USofA will contain several modules, each one capsulizing a key component of the USofA. The course will highlight the development of the accounting system prescribed by FERC for electric and gas utilities. It will focus on the role of the USofA, the components of the USofA, and the role of USofA in the ratemaking (setting utility prices) process. To provide the attendees hands-on experience with the USofA, the final module in the course will contain classroom problems for the attendees to calculate a utility’s revenue requirement from USofA account balances.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to successfully:

  • Define public utilities and how their accounting systems are unique
  • Describe government agencies’ regulatory authority over public utilities and how they apply the USofA to electric and gas utilities
  • Explain the role of accounting in public utilities 
  • Demonstrate the structure and usage of the FERC Uniform System of Accounts for electric and gas utilities
  • Investigate Balance Sheet Accounts
  • Identify major categories of plant investments 
  • Examine Income Statement Accounts
  • Explain the process of accounting for utility property and associated depreciation
  • List major categories of expenses
  • Classify the concepts of capital versus expense 
  • Review USofA Financial Statements in the FERC Form No. 1 for electric utilities and the FERC Form No. 2 for gas utilities
  • Explain the work order process and project accounting
  • Examine the key concepts of Public Utility Depreciation
  • Review Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) and Allowance of Funds Used During Construction (AFUDC)
  • Discuss early retirement of utility plant and its associated accounting impacts
  • Define the impairment of utility assets 
  • List key differences between USofA accounting and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) 
  • Define the role of the USofA in the ratemaking process 

Agenda

TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2022

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Central Time

Short breaks will be taken during each session 

Reviewing Public Utilities Regulations

  • Development of Public Utility Regulation
  • What is a Public Utility and What Makes their Accounting System Unique?
  • Regulating Public Utilities and the Impact on their Accounting Systems
    • Books and records
    • Accounting entries for requested transactions 
      • Sales
      • Acquisitions 
      • Gains
      • Losses
      • Refunds
      • Cost assignment and allocation (CAAM)
  • The Role of Accounting in Public Utilities 
    • Transparency
    • Uniformity between utilities for regulatory review

Understanding FERC Uniform System of Accounts (USofA): Electric and Gas Utilities

  • Development of the USofA
  • FERC USofA
  • Definitions
  • Instructions
    • General instructions
    • Plant instructions 
    • Operating expense instructions 

Differentiating between USofA Accounting and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

  • Schedule M Timing – Temporary and Permanent Differences

USofA Balance Sheet Accounts

  • What are the Balance Sheet Accounts?
  • Balance Sheet Accounts Classifications 
  • Major Categories of Utility Plant
    • Electric plant
      • Intangible plant
      • Generation
      • Transmission
      • Distribution
      • General plant
    • Gas plant
      • Intangible plant
      • Production plant
      • Natural gas storage and processing plant
      • Transmission
      • Distribution
      • General plant

USofA Income Statement Accounts

  • Creating Income Statement Accounts
    • What are the Income Statement Accounts?
    • How are revenue and expenses accounts classified?
    • Above-the- line expenses
    • Below-the-line expenses

FERC Form No. 1 and No. 2

  • Balance Sheets
  • Income Statements

Other USofA Topics

  • Classifying Capital Versus Expense
  • Construction work in progress (CWIP)
  • Allowance of funds used during construction (AFUDC)
  • Public utility depreciation
  • Early retirement of utility plant 
  • Impairment of utility assets
    • Regulatory assets 
    • Regulatory liabilities

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2022

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Central Time

Short breaks will be taken during each session 

Accounting for Utility Plant

  • Work Order Systems
    • What is a work order?
    • Work order content
    • Initiating the work order
    • Closing out the work order
  • Records and Progress
    • Continuing property records
      • What are Continuing Property Records (CPRs)?
      • What information is provided by a CPR system?
      • What are the uses of CPRs

The Role of the USofA and the Ratemaking Process

  • Historical Cost and Ratemaking 
  • Revenue Requirements
  • Problem-solving Using USofA 
    • Using USofA account balances, we will calculate a utility’s revenue requirements (how much should a utility earn?).

Questions and Concluding Remarks