Electric and Natural Gas Utilities
Quarles & Brady has extensive experience handling issues that arise in the electric power and gas distribution industries, including regulatory commission approval to build new power plants (whether by a public utility company, an industrial concern seeking to self-supply or cogenerate, or an independent power producer), regulatory commission approval to adjust utility rates (both in general rate cases and in special-purpose rate cases to recover such items as fuel costs, spent nuclear fuel storage costs, and costs of new emission control devices), long-range plan approval proceedings, proceedings to unbundle transmission assets, and merger approval and proceedings for utility holding companies.
Quarles & Brady’s lawyers provide a full range of services, including:
- Development of a regulatory strategy.
- Preparation and prosecution of applications to regulatory commissions.
- Negotiations with regulatory commission staff and third-party intervenors.
- Retention of experts.
- Preparation of testimony in support of applications.
- Representation at regulatory commission hearings, including cross-examination of adverse witnesses.
- Preparation of post-hearing briefs and presentation of oral argument.
- Bringing or defending against post-decision appeals, at the agency level and in court.
One member of our energy practice, Ave M. Bie, (J.D., Wisconsin) is the former chairperson and commissioner of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (1998-2004). Another member, Brian D. Winters, (J.D., Yale) has an advanced degree in economics and was editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal on Regulation. Not only do they understand the law, they understand the energy industry and the issues it confronts.
By way of example, we recently won regulatory approval in a heavily-contested proceeding for an 80-mile-long natural gas lateral in Western Wisconsin by demonstrating the need for the project, evaluating projected economics, and addressing various environmental concerns.
In addition to the experience and knowledge of our regulatory lawyers, we have the depth of resources to handle most other areas of the law that affect energy industry participants, including environmental law, government relations, securities law, antitrust law, real estate laws, corporate and commercial law, and litigation.