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UTILITIES

The global effort to rethink how major economies produce and consume power is transforming the U.S. energy supply sector.

In particular, the electric power and natural gas industries are grappling with entirely new forces that are fundamentally reshaping their operations, especially as climate change concerns put a premium on curbing demand and increasing the use of renewable energy sources. As these climate-related reforms have emerged, other factors, such as financial uncertainty, the complexity and volatility of markets, the increasing cost of new transmission, and regulatory risk also continue to challenge energy providers. The interaction of these factors creates business and financial risks for suppliers and customers alike, but purchasers also face risks that are uniquely their own, such as scarcity pricing, pressures on aging and inadequate infrastructure, and integrating supply packages from disaggregated services.

Thompson Coburn’s utility attorneys understand the forces that are changing the energy supply industries. Our utility partners have decades of combined experience in this highly specialized area of law. They work closely with a team of skilled associates to provide comprehensive, interdisciplinary legal services to a variety of suppliers and purchasers, including municipal and cooperative utility systems, municipal joint action agencies, investor-owned gas systems and renewable energy companies. Our firm represents utility and non-utility parties in formal adjudications before federal and state regulatory commissions and courts, as well as in the various types of informal stakeholder procedures that have become common in organized markets operated by regional transmission organizations.

Our attorneys have secured favorable outcomes in a wide array of disputes arising from the evolution of utilities markets.

Cities of Anaheim, et al. v. FERC

We successfully pursued a petition for review on behalf of the Cities of Anaheim, et al., of an adverse decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Court’s decision, which quoted a portion of our oral argument, reversed FERC orders that had permitted retroactive implementation of a rate increase for sales of power to the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO). The decision is expected to result in multimillion-dollar refunds to CAISO’s transmission customers.

Lafayette (La.) Utilities System, Louisiana Energy and Power Authority, Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi, and Mississippi Delta Energy Agency

Client entities are purchasers of wholesale electric transmission services from Entergy Corporation, a multistate electric utility holding company system. In 2006, FERC approved arrangements for the independent coordination of Entergy’s wholesale electric transmission services through a contract with the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. The formation and ongoing administration of these arrangements gave rise to extensive administrative proceedings and stakeholder committee processes.

Municipal electric utilities located in the West, the South and the Mid-Atlantic regions

We have analyzed numerous clients’ compliance with electric utility reliability standards that became mandatory and enforceable under the Federal Power Act as of June 2007. We also have drafted and assisted with the implementation of internal compliance programs, procedures and guidelines designed to ensure ongoing compliance with the new standards and have developed and presented customized training programs related to the standards.

Stakeholder and Regulatory Processes Relating to the California ISO

We represent California municipal electric systems in multiple stakeholder and regulatory processes relating to the development and implementation of market rules for the California Independent System Operator Corporation, allocation of related market costs, and determination of transmission revenue requirements (for our clients that are Participating Transmission Owners in the ISO and for other Participating Transmission Owners) included in the ISO’s transmission access charges.

Riverside Plant Purchase Agreement

We assisted the City of Riverside, California in preparing a purchase agreement for its acquisition of a power plant from a neighboring municipality.

Bunge North America

In August 2006, the firm represented Bunge North America, Inc., in negotiating the terms of its minority investment in and strategic relationship with Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG), the biodiesel industry leader and a full-service biodiesel company. Bunge’s investment was part of a $100 million private equity financing involving multiple strategic partners and investors. The firm also negotiated the terms under which Bunge would supply REG with raw materials, risk management and logistics expertise.

California and Northwest Refund Proceedings

We have successfully negotiated multiple settlement agreements for a number of municipal or public utility district electric systems in administrative, federal and state litigation arising out of the 2000-2001 disruptions in the California and Western energy markets.

Nuclear Ownership and Decommissioning Issues

Attorneys in our Utility Group have extensive experience in preparation of construction, ownership, operation and power coordination agreements for joint ownership of nuclear power reactors, arbitration and settlement of issues arising out of such arrangements, and FERC proceedings involving rate-making issues arising from nuclear plant ownership and operation (e.g., nuclear decommissioning expense, accounting for nuclear fuel in process, treatment of spent nuclear fuel disposal costs, etc.), and proceedings before federal courts and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission relating to spent fuel disposal and decommissioning trust fund arrangements.

Insituform Technologies

Through extensive efforts, including direct meetings with the appropriate regulatory officers within the DOT, we were able to obtain an exemption for Insituform Technologies from the hours of service regulations for most of the client’s day-to-day activities. Insituform Technologies provides substantial maintenance and repair services to utility companies worldwide, with a particular emphasis on providing services to U.S. municipal entities. Given the nature and time sensitivity of the products used by the client, the utility-related work frequently requires the client’s drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles beyond the strict confines of the applicable hours of service regulations.

Counsel
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6901

Nicole understands that her electric and natural gas clients have varying comfort levels when dealing with matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC),...

Nicole understands that her electric and natural gas clients have varying c...

Nicole Allen
Senior Counsel
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6979

Involved in energy regulatory law for decades, Tom helped shape the regulations that affect this complex industry.

Involved in energy regulatory law for decades, Tom helped shape the regulat...

Thomas Blackburn
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6905

Bonnie has 40 years of experience focusing on wholesale ratemaking and regulatory policy in the electric utility industry, electric industry restructuring, antitrust issu...

Bonnie has 40 years of experience focusing on wholesale ratemaking and regu...

Bonnie Blair
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6919

Adrienne represents her clients in proceedings to enforce the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) rules for open access transmission service, formation and op...

Adrienne represents her clients in proceedings to enforce the Federal Energ...

Adrienne Clair
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6962

Jesse's practice focuses on electric transmission matters including open-access transmission service, cost-of-service and formula transmission rates, generation and trans...

Jesse's practice focuses on electric transmission matters including open-ac...

Jesse Halpern
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6415

Amanda is a litigator and a highly experienced litigation trial team leader for Fortune 500 companies facing class actions and complex business disputes.

Amanda is a litigator and a highly experienced litigation trial team leader...

Amanda Hettinger
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6345

Kevin’s practice encompasses all areas of intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, unfair competition, trade secrets and related areas.

Kevin’s practice encompasses all areas of intellectual property law, includ...

Kevin Kercher
Counsel
St. Louis
314 552 6132

Trey has represented clients before state and federal courts in a wide variety of products liability, class action, business litigation and land-rights litigation matters...

Trey has represented clients before state and federal courts in a wide vari...

Trey Lawrence
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6072

Tom is a veteran M&A and corporate finance attorney who provides clients with common-sense solutions to address complex transactional issues.

Tom is a veteran M&A and corporate finance attorney who provides client...

Tom Litz
Senior Counsel
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6971

Peter's broad knowledge of the electric utility industry and considerable experience as both a negotiator and a litigator helps lead his clients to efficient – and favora...

Peter's broad knowledge of the electric utility industry and considerable e...

Peter Matt
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6940

Meg serves as an advisor and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) counsel to municipally-owned utilities around the country.

Meg serves as an advisor and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) co...

Meg McNaul
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6185

Carl has represented corporations in high-stakes litigation on a regional and national basis for over 25 years.

Carl has represented corporations in high-stakes litigation on a regional a...

Carl Pesce
Associate
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6911

Rebecca represents municipally-owned utility clients in electric rate proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Rebecca represents municipally-owned utility clients in electric rate proce...

Rebecca Shelton
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6109

Peter Strassner
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6121

Roman is a nationally recognized litigator who represents major corporations in high-stakes litigation in venues across the country.

Roman is a nationally recognized litigator who represents major corporation...

Roman Wuller