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  1. Energy litigation: conventional power
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Conventional power heavyweight Steptoe & Johnson LLP regularly acts on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proceedings and high-stake litigious matters, such as the ongoing defence of Southern California Edison in appellate proceedings related to the overcharges during the California power crisis of 2000-2001. In a recent highlight case, practice head Richard Roberts obtained an interlocutory appeal by FERC on behalf of PEPCO and Delmarva Power and Light to reverse an Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) order to produce highly sensitive files; the order has been issued after claims of withheld and falsified information were brought by a merchant transmission developer. Another engagement saw the team representing Public Service Electric & Gas Company and PSEG Power in an appellate proceeding before the Supreme Court contesting state programs that interfere with pricing in FERC regulated markets. A representative client is Entergy; antitrust and litigation expert Douglas Green represented the energy company before the FERC and Justice Department Antitrust Division regarding its sale of the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant to Exelon. Key members of the team are the highly-regarded David Raskin and the eminent Steven Ross.

Bracewell LLP’s ‘very good’ practice is well versed in commercial disputes in the conventional power arena and handles a steady flow of FERC proceedings for a broad client roster, including Hydro One, Powerex and GDF SUEZ Energy North America (ENGIE). Houston-based Bryan Dumesnil and Bradley Benoit are defending Southern Copper and its directors against damages claims brought by a putative class of shareholders; the case is related to the ownership transfer of a subsidiary with two power plants, the execution of a power purchase agreement and the restructuring of a line credit for the power plants‘ construction. In other work, David Perlman represented Shell Energy North America in a FERC settlement regarding refunds for short-term energy sales during the 2000-2001 California energy crisis and Jeffrey Holmstead acted for member-owned electric cooperative Tri-State in a contentious proceeding challenging two EPA rules that would have prevented the construction of two coal-fired plants. Stephen Crain heads the team, which recently welcomed David Super from Baker Botts L.L.P. and Paul Wight from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

McGuireWoods LLP’s conventional power litigation team is best known for representing utilities in contentious matters, including rate and tariff cases at state as well as federal level. Recent mandates saw the team representing City Power Marketing and K. Stephen Tsingas in a FERC enforcement litigation in the federal district court related to alleged manipulation of the PJM markets; Washington-based head of the power sector energy industry team Todd Mullins led the case. In another highlight matter, Mullins reached a favorable settlement for Dan Brin and Scott Connelly, two energy traders formerly with a British multinational banking and financial services company, in a FERC investigation regarding manipulation of Western US energy markets. Former co-chair of the utilities team Noel Symons specializes in FERC compliance matters and regularly assists various clients with Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) tariff and market design, while chair of the regulatory and compliance department Joseph Reid recently handled an administrative litigation proceeding before the Virginia State Corporation Commission regarding the re-regulation of Virginia’s electric utilities. Notable clients are Dominion Energy, Exelon, NextEra Energy and Duke Energy & American Transmission.

Praised for its ‘first rate level of service’, Baker Botts L.L.P. handles litigious matters for generators, processors, transporters, distributors and marketers, with a particular strength in the gas and electric utilities sector. Led by Washington-based Brooksany Barrowes, the team is representing MISO Transmission owners in a series of contentious cases regarding the relationship between the transmission-owning utilities and its neighbouring RTOs, including FERC compliance proceedings and rate payment disputes. Jason Newman successfully defended CenterPoint Energy in an alleged negligence lawsuit following a house fire and, together with Macey Stokes, achieved the dismissal of all claims in a personal injury case stemming from a power outage. The group is jointly led by recommended Bill Kroger and Michael Calhoon and also includes utility litigation expert John Anaipakos.

The conventional power team at Dentons combines its regulatory and litigation strengths to represent clients in contentious FERC matters, such as rate cases and enforcement proceedings. The broad client base includes Kansas City Power & Light and Navopache Electric Cooperative. Kansas City-based Curtis Woods is representing Transource Missouri, a joint venture of Great Plains Energy and Ameren, in a dispute related to the construction of the Midwest Transmission Project which also involved compensation claims brought by more than 400 landowners. Practice head Clinton Vince represented the City Council of the City of New Orleans in various proceedings before FERC, the US Court of Appeals and at the local level of New Orleans, including the successful integration of ENO into the MISO regional transmission organization and the termination of Entergy’s multi-state system agreement. Former co-chair Stuart Caplan and Andrew Schifrin joined Troutman Sanders.

The newly established energy practice group at Jenner & Block LLP is led by former Exelon general counsel Randy Mehrberg and former FERC commissioner Suedeen Kelly, who joined from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. A recent case saw the team representing Exelon in a federal district court lawsuit against the State of Illinois regarding its Zero Emissions Credit program; the program was enacted by the state to fight climate change by compensating financially distressed zero emission nuclear power plants and is now challenged by competitors who burn fossil fuels. Another mandate on behalf of Exelon was its representation as an intervener in support of a FERC decision regarding penalties for non-performance of generators. The firm’s client roster includes Edison Electric Institute, Pepco and Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Names to note are Max Minzner, previously General Counsel at FERC, and Matthew Price, who regularly acts on behalf of utilities in litigious proceedings.

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K&L Gates is best known for representing transmission owners in FERC proceedings and also counts independent power producers and companies that aim to procure their own power among its clients. A key client for practice head William Keyser and Donald Kaplan is PJM Transmission Owners; mandates include the representation in a FERC proceeding related to tariffs and operating agreements and a dispute regarding the cost allocation of the Artificial Island Project. John Longstreth successfully defended Talen Energy (formerly PPL Montana) in an administrative FERC proceeding against claims brought by the City of Seattle related to market manipulation and exercised market power during the Western energy crisis 2000-2001. Other notable work saw the team reaching a settlement on behalf of PPL Electric Utilities Corporation in a FERC proceeding to resolve cost allocation matters regarding transmission facilities that operate at 500kV and above in the PJM.

Leveraging its top notch regulatory capabilities, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP frequently acts in FERC enforcement matters and appellate proceedings. Eminent practice head John Estes is representing a large grid-owner/operator and energy services provider in a FERC investigation regarding potential violations of North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability standards and a connected liability case as well as acting on behalf of NextEra in a contentious FERC proceeding to secure the client’s congestion revenue rights. Other highlights included representing Barclays Bank in an FERC enforcement action connected to trading activity in West U.S. energy markets and assisting PJM Power Providers with a judicial review of a FERC order concerning the Minimum Offer Price Rule. Paul Wight left for Bracewell LLP.

Public utilities, power generators, power marketers, merchant transmission providers, project developers as well as government and state owned entities are among White & Case LLP’s clients. The team is regularly engaged in FERC proceedings and has solid experience in disputes before federal district courts. Daniel Hagan, head of the firm’s energy markets and regulatory practice, is the key contact; he handles contentious matters before various federal and state agencies and is well versed in investigations and enforcement proceedings.

Under the leadership of Joseph Karp, the energy group at Winston & Strawn LLP acts for a variety of power producers on contentious regulatory matters and has a special expertise in the nuclear sector. In a standout piece of work, Tyson Smith is representing Cameco Resources, a large uranium producer, in three separate cases challenging licensing actions filed by anti-mining groups and a local tribe. Gordon Coffee and Raymond Wuslich are representing Public Service Electric & Gas Company as an intervener in an administrative FERC complaint case brought by TranSourc against PJM Interconection related to incremental auction revenue rights. Another engagement is the defence of DTE against claims brought by anti-nuclear groups in an administrative litigation regarding the licensing process for the Fermi 3 reactor. The firm’s client roster also includes NRG and Duke Energy. Dave Repka retired and Basheer Ghorayeb joined from Jones Day.

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