Legal Services for Utilities
Spiegel & McDiarmid LLP enjoys a national reputation in the energy industry, which is based on the clients we represent, the positions we advance and the results we have been able to achieve. Our clients are largely public sector entities, including city and consumer-owned utilities, ratepayer advocates and states. We fight to promote consumer interests against resource-rich opponents, and are known for our extensive knowledge of the issues and our creativity in forging innovative solutions, whether in hearings, settlement talks, contract negotiations or legislative and policy arenas.
Our experience in addressing complex energy matters is on a par with any firm in the country. We practice mainly before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and related federal appellate courts, but also appear regularly in proceedings before many state utility commissions. Over the past four-plus decades, we have participated in all phases of energy litigation — everything from initial interventions and complaints, to alternative dispute resolution proceedings, to evidentiary hearings, to district court, appellate court and Supreme Court advocacy. The firm has also been at the forefront of many of the rulemaking proceedings utilized by federal administrative agencies to set national energy policy.
As consumer advocates operating in the context of an ever-changing mix of priorities and mandates (many of which we have helped to shape), we often confront complex issues that involve the intersection of law, policy, economics and engineering, and we often advance positions that stretch current boundaries. We are able to harness experience that is national in scope, spanning both regions that are subject to organized or restructured markets and those in which such markets are not in place. The types of issues with which we typically deal include infrastructure development, rate regulation, market design, mergers and acquisitions, investment incentives, cost allocation, and energy efficiency/renewable generation, as well as reliability and cyber security.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Rules Guidance
We represent a number of our energy clients before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), primarily in formulating comments on EPA rules that will affect the utility industry. Potential new rules affect almost every aspect of energy production and delivery, with a profound impact on costs to ultimate consumers. We assist clients in navigating those challenges and in providing EPA with practical guidance on how proposed rules will affect energy supplies and customer rates.
Environmental Contracts Law and Cap-and-Trade Programs
We also handle all types of contractual matters that touch on environmental law. For example, utilities often find themselves obliged to negotiate specialized contracts that deal with renewable resources (such as wind, solar, and geothermal energy), or that involve issues such as the ownership of environmental credits in state or regional capand-trade or renewable portfolio programs. We also help resolve environmental contract disputes, such as those among joint owners of a plant or project.
Rate-Making and Demand Response Programs
In addition, we help electric utilities navigate new and emerging issues in the ratemaking area. These include demand-response programs at the federal and state level, determining who can and must participate, who pays, and how to allocate the costs. Utilities also must grapple with contentious matters such as rate decoupling, the implementation of energy efficiency programs and the allocation of the costs and benefits of renewable resources.
Policy Advice and Lobbying Services
Clients that value a role in shaping policy and the legislative process turn to us for policy advice and lobbying services. Our lawyers have helped to draft some of the key pieces of energy legislation enacted during the past three decades. Our vast experience gives us credibility with lawmakers and regulators in all matters relating to electric industry regulation.
Committed to the Public Sector
Spiegel & McDiarmid attorneys bring unsurpassed first-hand knowledge and experience to solve client problems creatively and cost-effectively. We are committed to the public-sector side of the industry, a commitment that infuses our advocacy and policy perspectives