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  1. Energy regulatory: conventional power
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Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s conventional power regulatory practice stands out for its expertise in advising on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rate cases, investigations and metering proceedings and has a solid knowledge in transactional regulatory matters. A recent mandate saw the highly regarded David Raskin assist Eversource Energy, as part of a transmission owners group, with four complaints before the FERC seeking reductions in the allowed return on equity for all of New England’s transmission owners. Gary Morgans is representing Peco Energy Company in a transmission formula rate case before the commission, while Marc Spitzer is acting on behalf of Arizona Public Service Company in a FERC proceeding related to the termination of a fifty-year transmission service agreement. The department is led by Richard Roberts and includes Douglas Green as well as Steven Ross.

The ‘experienced and responsive’ team at Van Ness Feldman LLP excels in representing clients before the FERC and continues to advise generation developers, investors and lenders on transactional regulatory matters; an area of growth is the representation of competitive electricity transmission developers and the regulation of participants in the new energy imbalance market in the West. Among a selection of significant transactions, practice head Douglas Smith and Justin Moeller are assisting Transource Energy with investments in the FERC-regulated sector of competitively selected transmission developers, while Jessica Friedman served as FERC counsel to Cogentrix Energy and The Carlyle Group regarding the purchase of Essential Power’s generation portfolio. Another mainstay for the firm is hydroelectric power; Michael Swiger and Julia Wood are advising FirstLight Hydro Generating Company on the multi-project FERC relicensing proceeding for its Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s practice is praised for its ‘good judgment and deep industry and regulatory experience’. The team counsels clients, such as ITC, NRG Energy and Southern Power, on rate and tariff cases, handles regulatory aspects of transactions and assists with approvals for transmission and generation developments. Houston-based James Barkley is acting on behalf of CenterPoint in the application process for a final reconciliation of a surcharge originally approved in 2008, while Jay Ryan is advising Exelon on securing a new operating license from FERC for the Conowingo Hydroelectric Facility. Another key matter was the advice given to Blackstone on regulatory aspects of the development of the Champlain Hudson Power Express Project, including FERC transmission rate policies. The team welcomed Andrea Stover from Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody.

Obtaining rate approvals, assuring regulatory compliance, advising on transactional regulatory matters and defence against regulatory enforcement measures are cornerstones for Bracewell LLP’s practice. The team is led by Catherine McCarthy and regularly acts before the FERC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Department of Energy (DOE), thereby ‘offering tremendous value’ for a broad client roster, including Hydro One Limited, Engie North America and Avangrid. High-profile cases included assisting Great Plains Energy with the obtainment of the FERC approval for its stock-for-stock merger with Westar Energy and advising Powerex on a framework for cross-border participation in the California Independent System Operator’s western energy imbalance market. The group was bolstered by the arrival of Paul Wight from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Michael Brooks is recommended.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s conventional power practice works closely with the firm’s transactional and litigation teams and is particularly strong in compliance and enforcement matters before the FERC, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). Head of Electricity John Lilyestrom is assisting Las Vegas Sands with a regulatory proceeding hearing before the Nevada Public Utilities Commission in order to replace its current utility electric supplier and is advising Big Rivers Electric on various regulatory matters, including annual electric transmission formula rate update filings at the FERC. Another mandate saw the team representing Harbert Power Fund in regulatory FERC proceedings related to its acquisition of twelve electric generation facilities. The group also counts Eversource Energy, Dominion and Edison International among its clients.

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K&L Gates is best known for representing transmission owners, utilities and developers in state and federal regulatory proceedings. Another focus area is energy storage; the firm regularly assists energy storage developers with changing market tariffs and rules.

Co-practice head William Keyser and Donald Kaplan advised the PJM Interconnection Transmission Owners on FERC matters related to the transmission planning process for Supplemental Projects within PJM, which included the revision of the PJM Open Access Transmission Tariff. The department, which increased its bench strength by adding Buck Endemann from Paul Hastings LLP as well as Elias Hinckley and counsel James Wrathall from Sullivan & Worcester LLP, also continues to represent Duke Energy, King County and Microsoft. Molly Suda is now in-house counsel at Duke Energy.

King & Spalding LLP handles the full array of regulatory matters before state and federal authorities, with a particular strength in transaction-related issues. Neil Levy is highly experienced in advising independent power producers and recently assisted LS Power with various transactional regulatory matters, including the acquisition of a 3,950MW generation portfolio from TransCanada and the acquisition of generation facilities in Illinois with a combined generating capacity of approximately 1,300MW from NRG. In another highlight case, David Tewksbury is representing a NRG subsidiary in a D.C. Circuit appellate proceeding related to FERC’s rules for the capacity market administered by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). The firm’s client roster also includes Dynegy, Exelon and Tenaska Energy.

The conventional power group at McGuireWoods LLP has a strong position in the utilities sector and counts Dominion and Duke Energy among its clients. Noel Symons successfully represented Exelon in multiple related reliability must-run agreement filings before the FERC regarding its Ginna Nuclear Power Plant and, alongside Todd Mullins, assisted NextEra with a FERC complaint proceeding related to interferences with the ISO-New England wholesale energy market through state subsidies. Other mandates included the representation of AGL Resources and its subsidiary Virginia Natural Gas in obtaining regulatory approvals for the proposed merger with Southern Company and acting on behalf of Cleco Power in a cost recover filing before FERC. David Connelly is now with Jones Day.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP distinguishes itself through its experience in the electric as well as nuclear energy industry. On the electric side, the firm counsels utilities, transmission entities, power marketers, generators, developers and investors on regulatory aspects of transactions, compliance and enforcement matters. A recent engagement saw the team advising Maxim Power on the regulatory approval process for the sale of its US portfolio of power projects to HSE AC 1; Mark Williams led the case. On the nuclear side, Paul Bessette assisted NuScale with the design approval submission for a small modular reactor to the NRC, while practice head Kathryn Sutton and Stephen Burdick advised STP Nuclear Operating Company on its license renewal process.

Highly strategic and knowledgeableNorton Rose Fulbright US LLP focuses on compliance as well as enforcement matters and enhanced its bench strength with the Chadbourne & Parke merger in June 2017. The team’s recent caseload includes advising Brookfield Energy Marketing on FERC proceedings related to asset acquisition and representing Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative in a revenue recovery settlement proceeding before the commission. Another highlight was counselling Dominion Virginia Power on a petition for review of FERC transmission cost allocation orders. The group is jointly led by Joseph Williams, Michael Yuffee, Keith Martin and Rohit Chaudhry. Brian Greene and Michael Masri were elevated to the partnership.

Under the leadership of John Estes, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP stands out for its capabilities in the transactional and enforcement space. Highlights included the representation of a coalition of generators to challenge the FERC’s approval of an exemption from buyer-side mitigation for renewable resources in ISO New England and acting on behalf of a U.S. grid owner/operator and energy services provider in a FERC enforcement investigation related to alleged violations of NERC reliability standards and a connected liability case arising from a fire. On the transactional side, the team assisted Fortress Investment Group with the obtainment of the commission’s approvals for its acquisition through SoftBank Group. Mike Naeve stepped down as partner and is now of counsel. Paul Wight joined Bracewell LLP.

Vinson & Elkins LLP is recommended for representing its clients before state and federal authorities, including FERC, DOE, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT). The group, jointly led by David Andril and Matthew Henry, specializes in rate cases, compliance matters, enforcement proceedings as well as the purchase and sale of power generation facilities and transmission assets. John Decker advised Sundevil Power on the sale of two 550 MW power blocks under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code, while Richard Adams and Henry continue to represent Energy Future in various regulatory matters, including proceedings related to the disposal, export and importation of low-level radioactive waste as well as surface coal mine permit and reclamation bond proceedings.

Winston & Strawn LLP regularly represents a broad client portfolio, including New York’s eight transmission-owning utilities who formed the New York ISO, in NRC licensing proceedings, FERC rate and cost allocation issues, market manipulation claims, market-based rate filings and FERC-jurisdictional transactions. John Whittaker and Kimberly Ognisty continue to counsel PG&E on all FERC-licensed hydroelectric projects, including ongoing license compliance. Tyson Smith and William Horin are advising Sempra Energy and its subsidiary San Diego Gas and Electric on nuclear regulatory and commercial issues associated with the shutdown and decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Other notable clients are NextEra Energy, Honeywell and Duke Energy. David Repka has retired.

Arnold & Porter’s energy regulatory work is deeply entwined with the firm’s environmental practice and regularly represents clients in contentious as well as non-contentious proceedings before the FERC, DOE and state and public utility commissions. Co-practice head Sandra Rizzo is representing RC Cape May, owner of a generator that is needed for reliability in the PJM power market, in a Reliability Must-Run proceeding for which a settlement is ongoing at FERC, and assisted Bruce Power with regulatory approvals required for the purchase of Dynegy Lee. Other clients include Talen Energy, Rockland Capital and the PJM Power Providers Group.

In addition to its track record in advising municipalities on their energy compliance work, Dentons has a solid FERC practice that represents its clients in rate cases, project developments and enforcement proceedings. Led by Karl Zobrist, the department is assisting Kansas City Power & Light and its parent holding company Great Plains Energy (GPE) with the obtainment of the Missouri regulatory approval of GPE's proposed merger with Westar. Another key client is the City Council of New Orleans; Clinton Vince, Presley Reed and Emma Hand continue to advise the client on a wide range of regulatory matters, including the oversight of Entergy New Orleans’ securitization of a $100 million storm reserve.

Eversheds Sutherland has a strong profile for transaction-related regulatory matters and counts electric power companies, financial institutions and energy commodity trading companies among its clients. Under the leadership of practice head Catherine Krupka, the group assisted electric utility Vistra Energy with the regulatory approvals of its acquisition of Dynegy, reached a settlement on behalf of Merrill Lynch related to the California Energy crisis and advised Just Energy on regulatory compliance matters. The team was strengthened by the arrival of Joseph Hall from Dorsey & Whitney LLP and Jonathan Gottlieb from Stinson Leonard Street LLP.

Combining its regulatory and litigation experience, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP acts for a broad client roster, including Entergy Services and Energy Transfer Partners, in FERC investigations and enforcement cases, rate proceedings and transactions. Practice head William Scherman is representing Trans Bay Cable in multiple FERC matters; most recently he filed an application before the commission for the recovery of unrecoverable extraordinary costs arising from a 2014 anchor strike by a cargo ship. In other work, Scherman assisted Southern Company with the DOJ approval for its merger with AGL. William Hollaway is representing Hudson Transmission Partners in cost allocation proceedings and merchant transmission facility issues before the FERC.

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP focuses on representing generators, utilities, regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and large consumers in regulatory as well as transactional matters before the FERC. Recent mandates saw the team acting on behalf of TC Ironwood in a FERC proceeding related to the alleged excess of reactive power rates, assisting MISO with the addition of a locational component as part of its market capacity restructuring and representing Maryland Hospitals in a rate proceeding brought by Potomac Electric Power Company to raise rates in Maryland. Meghan Griffiths joined Jackson Walker, L.L.P. and in March 2018, following the merger of the legacy Hunton & Williams and Andrews Kurth Kenyon firms, former practice head Kenneth Wiseman and Mark Sundback joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, as special counsel and partner respectively.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s power industry group is particularly strong in transactional matters and harnesses the firm’s expertise in finance, M&A and energy regulation to provide advice for clients such as Alterra Power, FirstEnergy, Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative and Quantum Utility Generation. A recent mandate saw the team assisting Energy Capital Partners III with the acquisition of Calpine; Natasha Gianvecchio led the regulatory work which included FERC, New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) and Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) approvals. The department, led by David Schwartz, welcomed Tommy Beaudreau, former Chief of Staff for the United States Department of the Interior.

Paul Hastings LLP fields a solid commercial regulatory practice that is well versed in FERC proceedings, as well as transactional regulatory matters and power litigation. Practice head William DeGrandis and Charles Patrizia continue to assist Olympus Power with regulatory aspects of multiple transactions, including the FERC approval of the sale of Michigan Power and the acquisition of WPS Westwood Generation. Other highlight cases included advising Rassini on contractual agreements for electricity export and representing DCR Transmission before the regulatory authorities regarding the Ten West transmission project; Peter Weiner is the key advisor in the latter case. Notable clients are Midland Power Cooperative, Yahoo! Energy and Glidepath.

FERC and CFTC regulatory proceedings, enforcement and investigation matters, rate cases and compliance work are central pillars of Reed Smith LLP’s practice. The firm’s energy and natural resources industry group, which is led by Pittsburgh-based Nicolle Snyder Bagnell and Houston partner Craig Enochs, counts electricity generators, transmission and distribution companies as well as municipal utilities among its clients.

With a focus on the Texan energy market, Thompson & Knight LLP is particularly strong in representing clients before the Public Utility Commission (PUC), Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). In addition to the regional expertise, the team handles a steady flow of FERC proceedings and expanded its capabilities with the hire of counsel Nicolas McTyre, former trial attorney for the Office of Administrative Litigation of FERC. Key points of contact are Katherine Coleman, Phillip Oldham and Rex VanMiddlesworth. The group continues to represent BP, INEOS, Texas Instruments and Praxair.

Project development within the conventional power sphere is a sweet spot for WilmerHale: the team regularly assists energy developers with all aspects of state and federal regulation of electricity generation, transmission and distribution, including permitting and compliance. Group head Andrew Spielman is advising Dominion Resources on the federal permitting and development of a transmission line to ensure grid reliability and is also handling the licensing process for a new power plant on behalf of Florida Power & Light, while Ken Salazarserves as strategic counsel for the Edison Electric Institute. Former Interior Department Secretary Michael Connor joined the firm’s natural resources team.

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