Energy Regulation and Compliance
Our Energy Regulation and Compliance practice group has been at the forefront of regulatory development in the energy industry. We are involved in nearly every wholesale market and credit issue in New England and assist clients in meeting their obligations to comply with the evolving regulatory requirements. We work closely with state and federal regulators on a routine basis. We help our clients throughout North America navigate critical issues that define their evolution and identity in the changing world of the energy industry.
We represent large energy companies in virtually all aspects of their businesses, helping our clients chart a path through restructuring and deregulation of the evolving electric industry, as well as in the regulatory issues related to energy project development in the West, Southwest, Southeast, Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States. We represent the interests of energy clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other federal regulatory bodies in Washington, DC, and confer with federal and state legislators, policymakers and lobbyists on behalf of those clients.
Regulation in Competitive Energy Markets
Our intimate involvement in the energy markets in New England in particular, including our central role in wholesale and retail restructuring, provides us with a depth and breadth of industry understanding that we can use to benefit our clients. We have been involved in the competitive wholesale energy market since its inception and thus can effectively assist our clients in anticipating the impacts of market changes or regulations on their energy businesses. We understand the inner workings of the relevant state public utility commissions because we have been involved in helping them shape regulations and enabling legislation. In addition to our work in New England, we also have represented clients in proceedings before federal regulators and state public utility commissions throughout the country.
In the area of wholesale market design, operation and participation, we have served as general counsel to the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL) - which includes most of the participants in that region's bulk power industry - since its formation in the early 1970s. We have assisted NEPOOL in all aspects of its operations and played a central role in its restructuring, working closely with market participants to accomplish tasks such as the negotiation and documentation of a region-wide, open-access transmission tariff and the establishment of restructured wholesale power markets with market-based pricing. We advise NEPOOL on modifications to the applicable transmission and market tariff provisions and on the ongoing operation of the power markets in New England.
We have advised clients on the implementation of a congestion management system, with the goal of optimizing the limited capacity of the regional transmission system and the two-part market settlement system, and also with the identification of acceptable market arrangements for resource adequacy in New England. Additionally, we have significant experience negotiating and documenting large power supply arrangements involving system power sales, such as the seven-terawatt-hours-per-year purchase agreement between a group of electric utilities and Hydro-Quebec, as well as bilateral power contracts involving nuclear, fossil and renewable facilities. We also were key participants in the development of Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) in New York and New England pursuant to FERC Order No. 2000 and in the proceedings that led to FERC's open access, standards of conduct and generator interconnections rules, reflected in Order Nos. 888, 889, 2003 and 2004. We have been involved actively in FERC's efforts to address pancaked through-and-out rates, dealing with grandfathered agreements and implementing competitive markets. We participated in FERC's proposed wholesale markets standardization rulemaking as well as in the agency's effort to merge the New England, New York and PJM ISOs.
At the state regulatory level, we have helped define restructured retail markets, drafted restructuring legislation and participated in hearings to quantify stranded costs, assisted in divestiture of nuclear assets and competitive businesses (including competitive generating assets and wholesale and retail marketing and energy services businesses), and supported the establishment of standard offer/default service and unbundled rates.
Compliance and Enforcement
Our regulatory strength also extends to the important area of compliance. Our attorneys have worked with numerous energy industry clients in designing, implementing and assessing compliance programs. We have considerable experience identifying, evaluating and proposing solutions to ameliorate legal and regulatory compliance risks faced by energy companies. Our thorough understanding of all segments of the energy industry comes from multiple client representations and expansive dealings with stakeholder processes, and this positions us to evaluate energy clients' compliance programs against energy industry best practices. We also have a long history of performing independent investigations and assessments of regulatory compliance.
In response to FERC's active enforcement efforts, we have assisted energy companies in achieving full compliance with FERC requirements by testing for and recommending enhancements to advance the systematic implementation and integration of rigorous compliance controls. Our compliance services have included representing clients before FERC Enforcement Staff in formal and informal investigations and before FERC in formal proceedings as well as comprehensive legal and regulatory compliance risk assessments involving critical fact analysis against regulatory standards, risk prioritization and improvement of compliance control (e.g., policies, procedures, standards, processes, audits and training) to better manage compliance risks.