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Utilities Law Exam Structure

  • 6 hours long (two 3-hour sessions)
  • 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Morning Session

  • 55 multiple-choice questions
  • 12 short answer questions
  • Sector Specific Questions - Choose one set of five multiple choice questions about a specific sector (Electricity, Natural Gas, or Water).

90-minute lunch break – on your own

Afternoon Session

  • 4 short essays (allow approximately 15 minutes per short essay question).
  • 2 long, multi-part essay questions (allow approximately 45-50 minutes per long essay question). Five long essay question options will be presented, select two to answer.

Options include: Affiliated Transactions, Competitive Procurement Renewable Energy, House Bill 589, Independent Power Producer Projects, Mergers and Rates.

Open book materials allowed:

  • Chapter 62 of the General Statutes Annotated (bring your own copy, tabs allowed, but no notes).
  • The North Carolina Utilities Commission Rules and Regulations (bring your own copy, tabs allowed, but no notes).
  • The Board of Legal Specialization has 2 copies that will be available if needed.

All questions are allocated "points" and require responses that demonstrate accuracy, clarity, sound reasoning, recognition of the problem presented, knowledge of the principle of law involved and correct application of those principles. Full or partial credit for answers may be given.

Subject Matter

The specialty of utilities law is the practice of law devoted to public utilities, including practice and procedure before the North Carolina Utilities Commission, representation of clients subject to the provisions of Chapter 62 of the North Carolina General Statutes, and representation of investors in this field. The examination shall cover the applicant’s knowledge and application of utilities law and rules of practice, and may include the following:

(A) Rules and Regulations of the North Carolina Utilities Commission

(B) Chapter 62 of the North Carolina General Statutes

(C) Rates and Ratemaking

(D) Territorial Assignment

(E) Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN’s)

(F) Mergers/Acquisitions/Changes in Ownership

(G) Penalties/Ethics

(H) Sectors: Telecom, Electric, Water, Renewables and Gas

Suggested Study Materials:

Important cases listed below (review on Lexis Nexis, WestLaw or Google Scholar):

  • Bluefield Water Works and Improvement Co. v. Public Service Commission of West Virginia, 262 U.S. 679 (1923)
  • Federal Power Commission v. Hope Natural Gas Co., 320 U.S. 591 (1944)
  • State ex rel. Utilities Com. v. General Tel. Co., 281 N.C. 318 (N.C. 1972)
  • State ex rel. Utilities Com. v. General Tel. Co., 285 N.C. 671 (N.C. 1974)
  • State ex rel. Utilities Com. v. Simpson, 295 N.C. 519 (N.C. 1978)
  • State ex rel. Utilities Com. v. Bird Oil Co., 302 N.C. 14 (N.C. 1980)
  • State ex rel. Utilities Com. v. Intervenor Residents of Bent Creek/Mt. Carmel Subdivisions, 305 N.C. 62 (N.C. 1982)
  • State ex rel. Utilities Com. v. Conservation Council of North Carolina, 312 N.C. 59 (N.C. 1984)
  • State ex rel. Utilities Com. v. Carolina Utility Customers Asso., 314 N.C. 171 (N.C. 1985)
  • State ex rel. Utilities Commission v. Village of Pinehurst, 99 N.C.App. 224, 393 S.E.2d 111 (1990), review allowed 328 N.C. 97, 402 S.E.2d 427, affirmed 331 N.C. 278, 415 S.E.2d 199 (1992).
  • State ex rel. Utilities Com. v. Carolina Water Service, Inc., 328 N.C. 299 (N.C. 1991)
  • State ex rel. Utilities Comm'n v. Carolina Util. Customers Ass'n, 348 N.C. 452 (N.C. 1998)
  • State ex rel. Utilities Comm'n v. Carolina Util. Customers Ass'n, 351 N.C. 223, 230 (N.C. 2000)
  • State ex rel. Utilities. Commission v. Cooper, 366 N.C. 484,  739 S.E.2d 541 (2013)
  • State ex rel. Utilities Commission v. Cooper, 367 N.C. 444, 761 S.E.2d (2014)