State Energy Regulation

In addition to adhering to federal regulatory standards, utility companies must contend with local or state regulatory bodies that govern the industry. Troutman Sanders has one of the premier state regulation utility practices in the United States. The firm has represented utilities before state public service commissions since the 1920s in every type of proceeding.

Our representation covers the entire range of utility regulation, including the following:

  • Rates
  • Financing
  • Fuel-cost recovery
  • Plant construction (nuclear, gas, and coal)
  • Competitor and customer complaints
  • Marketing practices
  • Power-purchase agreements
  • Renewable resources, including solar and wind
  • Biomass development and certification
  • Integrated resource planning
  • Conservation programs
  • Rulemakings and compliance with state and federal rules

We also provide strategic advice in a variety of renewable areas currently affecting our clients, including net metering, solar-avoided cost and Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) matters.

In addition to appearing before state public service commissions, we advise clients on a variety of matters that touch upon the daily operations of their regulated businesses. For example, our lawyers routinely advise utilities in the areas of acquiring additional generation capacity, with particular focus on nuclear, fossil and renewable generation. We also advise our clients on territorial service matters, transmission and distribution matters, and the development and implementation of demand-side measures and energy efficiency.

Our lawyers have a long record of successful litigation and trial experience, including significant work in witness preparation and cross-examination of opposing expert witnesses. We have been nationally recognized for our work as advocates before state commissions and the courts. Our strength comes from a group encompassing diverse regulatory backgrounds, including significant experience working within regulatory agencies and legislative bodies. We are not just lawyers to our clients; we are business associates who work with clients from the beginning to the end of a matter.

We serve as counsel in the development and negotiation of requests for proposals (RFPs) for power purchases. This includes extensive experience in the development of and compliance with the state regulatory RFP process, including the negotiating of power purchase and ancillary agreements. We provide ongoing support for contract management of power purchase agreements, including change of control transactions, contract amendments, and amendments to public convenience and necessity certificates.

The breadth of Troutman Sanders' experience in state regulation of utilities means our clients have the unique advantage of working with lawyers who have a proven track record of successfully handling traditional utility cases and the capability to tackle new and emerging utility issues. We offer clients the flexibility to seek advice on individual issues or to fully utilize our lawyers to represent them in cases that most impact their businesses.

Representative Experience

  • Represented a utility in designing and implementing one of the largest voluntary solar energy procurement programs in the country. We continue to represent the utility in procuring utility-scale and distributed-generation solar resources totaling over 735 megawatts to be placed in service over a four-year period, substantially increasing the amount of cost-effective solar energy resources in the state in the absence of a mandated renewable portfolio standard.
  • Represented a utility in a rate case and negotiated a settlement whereby the state commission approved, without modification, a three-year accounting order that provided the stable and constructive rates and timely recovery needed to make the significant capital investments deemed appropriate by the state commission.
  • Represented a utility in an integrated resource planning and demand-side management program proceeding and negotiated a settlement whereby the state commission approved the utility’s environmental compliance program to retire over 2,000 megawatts of coal- and oil-fired power plants and certified several demand-side/energy efficiency programs estimated to reduce peak demand by approximately 2,000 megawatts by 2016.
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