The energy and telecommunications markets experienced a major transformation in the 1990s as a result of restructuring and increased competition, allowing market forces to wield a greater influence on consumer prices and services. Today, those markets continue to evolve in light of new initiatives to strengthen and modernize energy and telecommunications systems and to promote the efficient use of energy and demand response, the deeper penetration of renewable-energy resources, and the wider deployment of distributed energy resources, empowering consumers with even more choices for managing and consuming energy. Market participants need in-depth knowledge of the complex federal, state, and local laws and regulations and a thorough understanding of the evolving policies, procedures, and requirements of federal and state regulatory bodies.
We combine our energy and telecommunications industry experience and regulatory insight with economic analysis, business understanding, and legal know-how to help clients solve and avoid a wide range of complex regulatory problems. Our attorneys partner with our international, national, and regional clients to understand their unique needs and objectives. We counsel them on compliance with federal and state law and regulations and on operational and financial matters, and we interact with senior management to assist them in the formulating innovative legal, regulatory, and business strategies. We also work in tandem with attorneys from our Environmental, Project Development, Real Estate, Real Property Tax, and Corporate Practice Areas on the project development, mergers and acquisitions, and transactional issues.
Electric and Gas Regulation
Our participation in formal administrative proceedings before the PSC and FERC, as well as in the NYISO’s governance process, is complemented by the active participation of our regulatory attorneys in a wide variety of commercial transactions where an understanding of the policies and requirements of theses regulatory authorities is essential. These matters include the negotiation of agreements for interconnection, gas-purchase sales and transportation; transmission service; power purchase and sales; and energy management.
Given the continual stream of mergers and acquisition activity in the energy and telecommunications industries, our regulatory attorneys often assist clients in conducting comprehensive due diligence on the projects and facilities to be acquired, on the approvals needed from the PSC and FERC for transfers of electric and gas property, and on compliance issues following mergers and acquisitions. In addition, our regulatory attorneys assist customers, Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), and other competitive suppliers to determine their rights and obligations under the tariffs of New York State’s distribution utilities and the NYISO and under the regulations and policies of the PSC and FERC with respect to the competitive retail markets.
As a result of the need for expanded electric and natural gas transmission capacity, our regulatory attorneys have successfully achieved PSC approval to site linear projects as well as repowered and new generation projects involving a variety of fuel sources, including natural gas and renewable resources. We work collaboratively with a myriad of government agencies, local municipalities, and private stakeholders to develop innovative solutions that meet competing needs and to navigate the challenges of environmental review and permitting, right-of-way and property rights acquisition, and real-property-tax mitigation and incentives.
In the telecommunications and cable industry, our attorneys have extensive experience with relevant federal, state, and local laws and authorities. Our thorough understanding of antitrust law and its implications is another advantage to our clients as they seek to work within increasingly competitive markets. This unique combination of knowledge and experience allows our attorneys to develop effective, comprehensive regulatory strategies for our clients.
The dramatic market changes in the energy and telecommunications industries have led to an increased volume of business disputes and lawsuits. Disagreements range from basic contract disputes to more complicated matters involving the backdrop of overlapping federal and state statutes and regulations. In addition, because a great deal of our regulatory work proceeds in administrative agencies, intervenors and unsuccessful parties may seek judicial review of the various agency decisions. When disagreements cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation, our energy and telecommunications attorneys team up with firm litigators to successfully represent clients in the courtroom.