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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proceedings and appellate litigation are the cornerstones of Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s group led by David Raskin. Richard Roberts represented Southern California Edison (SCE) before the FERC and in court proceedings and successfully recovered over $5bn from the municipal rate-setter to cover payouts made by SCE as settlements to overcharged customers during the California power crisis of 2000-01. Raskin also acted for the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) in the US Supreme Court appeal against a FERC order, which established rules for retail customer participation in wholesale markets. In other work, Douglas Green defended Entergy against market violation and breach of contract allegations brought by Occidental Chemical, and Marc Spitzer represented Arizona Public Service in an appeal regarding an administrative review of an order regarding unfiled agreements, which was heard before the US Court of Appeals DC Circuit. Other clients include American Electric Power (AEP) and Eversource Energy. Charles Mills joined the team from K&L Gates, while Jennifer Key was elevated to the partnership. Steven Ross is another key member of the team.

Bracewell LLP is particularly active in commercial litigation but also handles market manipulation disputes, rate cases and other contentious regulatory work. Trial lawyer and litigation group head Stephen Crain defended GDF SUEZ Energy North America against allegations brought by Aspire Commodities and Raiden Commodities, claiming that GDF had used its bidding strategy to impact an energy futures derivatives market traded nationally. Washington DC-based David Poe acted for Central Maine Power in a series of complaints by the states of New England and other entities on the equity return the company is able to recover through transmission rates. Environmental strategies group head Jeffrey Holmstead acted for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) in challenging an EPA rule known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Other clients include Powerex and Southern Copper Corporation.

McGuireWoods LLP draws on a wealth of expertise in representing utilities in contentious regulatory matters, including rate and tariff cases, while also handling FERC enforcement proceedings. The team increased its bench strength by adding Chicago-based Mark Johnson from Eimer Stahl LLP and senior counsel Bernard McNamee from the Office of the Texas Attorney General but lost Frank Schiller to Troutman Sanders. Noel Symons, co-chair of the utilities practice, represented Great Plains Energy and, via cost sharing, the Southwest Power Pool transmission owners in a multi-party litigation regarding transmission line payments. He also acted for Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations, challenging a rate increase resulting from the integration of the Entergy transmission system into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). Washington DC office managing partner and energy enforcement group head Todd Mullins represented former Barclays energy traders in a FERC investigation into manipulation of Western US energy markets.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s litigation practice works closely with the firm’s appellate and environmental teams, handling disputes for energy generators, processors, transporters, distributors and marketers in the electrical, gas and coal power sector. In 2016, the team represented the three power plant companies, Southwestern Public Service, Coleto Creek Power and NRG Texas Power, in an appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, challenging the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Haze rulemaking for Texas and Oklahoma. Kevin Jacobs and James Barkley represented Brazos Electric Power (BEPC) in litigation against South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC) and San Miguel Electric over the interpretation of contracts under which San Miguel generates and sells power to STEC and BEPC. Houston-based Bill Kroger and Washington DC-based Michael Calhoon jointly head the team.

The team at Dentons excels in contentious FERC proceedings and works closely with the firm’s regulatory practice. Energy sector co-chairs Clinton Vince and Stuart Caplan scored two victories for Navopache Electric Cooperative (NEC) against the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) in transmission rate and power supply agreement litigation before FERC. Kansas City-based Karl Zobrist acted for Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) - a regulated public utility owned by Great Plains Energy - in the successful defense of its compliance tariffs approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission. He also defended KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations in a $3m refund case brought by a customer.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘great’ litigation practice is well versed in representing clients before FERC and state courts but also in arbitration. Stan Berman and Marie Fiala acted as lead litigation counsel to Pacific Gas and Electric in a number of California electricity crisis disputes before FERC and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Kenneth Irvin, who co-heads the firm’s global energy practice with Irving Rotter and Cliff Vrielink, defended Coaltrain Energy in an anti-manipulation case brought by FERC. Mark Glasser retired from the firm, while practice co-head Eugene Elrod moved to Latham & Watkins LLP.

Working closely with the firm’s regulatory team, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP frequently acts in contentious FERC proceedings. Paul Wight and energy regulation and litigation group head John Estes represented FirstEnergy in a broad range of federal court and FERC cases concerning federal preemption, capacity market jurisdiction and electric market design as well as transmission cost allocation. Recent examples include representing the client before the US Supreme Court in challenges to FERC’s demand response regulations, as well as in challenges against state regulations on transmission costs and FERC’s Midwest transmission cost allocation policies. Wight also acted for Entergy in FERC complaint proceedings and subsequent matters, seeking to add exemptions to the buyer side mitigation rules in the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) capacity market. John Moot retired in January 2017.

White & Case LLP’s strength lies at the intersection of litigation and energy regulation, where it frequently represents clients before FERC and federal district courts. Energy markets and regulatory practice head Daniel Hagan acted for Occidental Power Services (OPSI), a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum and owner of an approximately 900MW generation facility which forms part of the Entergy system, in litigation with Entergy over the amount OPSI should be paid annually for providing reactive power services from the facility. He also acted for Occidental Chemical in litigation involving the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978.

Winston & Strawn LLP provides ‘high-quality and practical advice’ and frequently represents clients from the electric and nuclear power sectors in contentious regulatory matters. The ‘very approachable and knowledgeableTyson Smith acted for ConverDyn in challenging a DOE program that transfers uranium from government stockpiles into commercial markets. Washington DC partners Raymond Wuslich and Gordon Coffee continue to represent FirstEnergy in litigation arising from California’s energy crisis of 2000-01. Joseph Karp heads the energy, project development and project finance practice group from San Francisco. Lisa Vaughn left to work in-house.

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