Joe is representing a public utility client in connection with its proposed $9 billion acquisition of another utility company. In terms of number of customers and value, this acquisition is the largest-ever utility merger for a Wisconsin-based utility. The acquisition must receive regulatory approval in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota. Joe has a leading role in the Wisconsin effort and is coordinating with the legal teams in other states to ensure continuity of legal strategy. If approved, the acquisition would create one of the largest utility companies in the United States.
Joe recently helped a public utility secure regulatory approval for redesigned rates that more accurately reflect the costs imposed on the system by Wisconsin homeowners who use solar panels or other means of self-generation to produce electricity. The client, like many utilities around the country, was concerned that as this practice grew more common, current energy rates resulted in customers without on-site generation subsidizing customers who own their own generation. The client sought to secure an increase in the fixed component of rates to help end this rate inequality and more equitably recover the cost of serving all customers. Despite heavy opposition from solar panel manufacturers, Joe was able help the client obtain approval for the redesigned rates.
In 2009, Joe was one of the lead attorneys for a utility client in an effort to secure regulatory approval for a wind farm in central Wisconsin. The proposed project met resistance from local citizens who claimed that infrasound (i.e. sound below the level of human hearing) from the wind turbines would negatively impact the health of community members. In one of the first proceedings to test the scientific underpinnings of these claims, Joe and the company's team of experts — including the world's foremost expert on infrasound — refuted these claims and secured approval for the $360 million project.