Energy - FERC |
Perkins Coie has a dedicated team of lawyers that routinely practice before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state regulatory commissions with respect to matters involving electric power, natural gas, crude oil, and petroleum products. We represent utilities in matters covered by all aspects of the Federal Power Act from hydroelectric licensing and electric transmission and interconnection to generation and power marketing and electric reliability. Perkins Coie lawyers also represent clients on issues falling under the Natural Gas Act, Natural Gas Policy Act and Pipeline Safety Act, including those concerning certificates of public convenience and necessity, rate and tariff matters, regulatory compliance and enforcement actions, and reporting requirements. The Perkins Coie team also has experience dealing with the pipeline regulations under the Interstate Commerce Act for crude oil and products. As FERC’s regulations have evolved, we have been actively involved in the industry and have bench strength in this era of competitive markets and open access transportation.
How We Can Help
Our attorneys work with clients on transmission and interconnection matters ranging from the design of transmission tariffs and development of business practices to the allocation of damages resulting from large-scale power outages. We have the institutional memory, technical capability and operational insight to advise current and future utility clients on a wide range of transmission, interconnection and grid integration issues.
We have in-depth knowledge of the complex regulatory and technical requirements of the Federal Power Act and the related federal and state laws regarding the licensing and compliance of hydroelectric projects. Our attorneys are experienced in representing utilities, developers, licensees and intervenors before FERC in hydroelectric licensing, dam safety and compliance, environmental review, and related matters. Our work has involved hydroelectric projects of various types and scales, including pumped storage, small hydro, run-of-river, and major reservoir impoundments. We have well-established relationships with federal and state resource agencies, tribes, legislators, and non-governmental organizations involved in hydro licensing matters.
Perkins Coie lawyers represent developers and operators of renewable energy generation facilities and fossil-fuel fired power plants across the country in regulatory proceedings before FERC and state commissions and help them obtain permits and financing and negotiate a variety of agreements, including power purchase agreements and interconnection agreements. We routinely provide generators with training on compliance with FERC regulations, reliability standards, and antitrust rules.
Perkins Coie lawyers have played a leading role in shaping the rules and regulatory policies required for power marketing companies to successfully operate in the organized electricity markets. In addition to representing a large share of the power marketing industry before FERC, our lawyers have also represented trading companies in Stakeholder and other proceedings before the PJM system, ISO New England, Midwest ISO, New York ISO, California ISO, and ERCOT. We routinely provide regulatory compliance training to power marketers and financial marketers and, where necessary, defend such companies from FERC enforcement actions.
We represent the owners and operators of the bulk-power system in their efforts to comply with reliability standards enforced by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and regional reliability entities. We have experience counseling clients in reliability audits from audit preparation through settlement negotiations. We also assist clients in developing procedures to comply with the general reliability standards and the CIP standards.
Pipelines and Storage Companies
Perkins Coie attorneys represent pipeline companies, storage companies, and developers of liquefied natural gas terminals in obtaining FERC certificates of public convenience and necessity. We draft precedent agreements and tariffs, negotiate interconnection agreements and operational balancing agreements, and assist with right-of-way acquisitions. We routinely represent pipeline companies in rate cases and other tariff filings, as well as in complying with the pipeline safety regulations of the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Perkins Coie lawyers also advise the owners and operators of intrastate pipelines, gathering facilities, Hinshaw pipelines, and local distribution facilities. We also represent storage companies in obtaining market-based rate authorizations from FERC, and represent cross-border pipelines in obtaining Presidential Permits and import/export authorizations.
Shippers and Gas Marketers
Perkins Coie attorneys counsel shippers and gas marketers regarding FERC policies on, among other things, open seasons, negotiated rates, discounted rates, nonconforming service agreements, gas quality and interchangeability, scheduling priorities, penalties, backhaul service, receipt and delivery point flexibility, segmentation, regulatory assets, cost of service, cost allocation and rate design, rate of return, billing determinants, standards of conduct, and compliance practices. We also represent shippers in pipeline rate cases and advise clients regarding pipeline services and the design of asset management services. We also have substantial experience representing shippers and gas marketers in the defense of FERC enforcement actions.
We advise pipeline companies and shippers regarding project feasibility, jurisdictional issues, cost allocation and rate design, rate of return, income tax allowances, the Opinion No. 154-B methodology, billing determinant issues, termination of service, reversal of flow, common carrier obligations, proration policies, scheduling policies, grandfathering pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 1992, indexing, refunds and reparations, the Interstate Commerce Act, negotiation of throughput and deficiency agreements, FERC compliance training, and the prohibition on undue discrimination and preferences.
Representative Matters: Transmission and Interconnection
Hydro Licensing and Relicensing
- Represent owners and developers of electric generation facilities in negotiation of interconnection agreements and in litigation before FERC concerning interconnection agreement terms and conditions.
- Baker River Hydro Project – utilized FERC’s Alternative Licensing Process to arrive at a settlement with 23 parties (federal and state resource agencies, tribes, local governments and NGOs) on the terms and conditions of a new 50-year FERC license addressing a broad range of aquatic, terrestrial, recreational, and cultural resources, as well as power generation and flood control; ongoing efforts include licensing and implementation, amendments, and FERC dam safety compliance.
FERC Compliance – Electric And Natural Gas
- Represented an owner/operator of the bulk-power system in its tri-annual audit including audit preparation, SME interview training, responding to notice of alleged violation and settlement negotiations.
- Represent an owner/operator in its response to a notice of alleged violation, including legal parameters of intentional violations and settlement strategy.
- Provide counsel to investor-owned and municipal electric utilities, power marketers and financial marketers regarding FERC compliance issues, including standards of conduct, market manipulation, code of conduct, price reporting, and open access transmission requirements; and help establish appropriate internal controls, procedures and compliance manuals and training to ensure compliance.
- Prepare compliance manuals and conduct regulatory compliance training sessions for pipeline companies and shippers covering, among other things, FERC’s capacity release rules, the shipper-must-have-title rule, the prohibition on buy-sell transactions, market manipulation rules, and standards of conduct.
- Represent electric utilities, natural gas pipelines and shippers in all aspects of non-public FERC enforcement proceedings, including responding to calls to the FERC Hot Line, preparing “no-action” letters and participating in pre-filing meetings with staff, performing internal investigations, responding to staff investigations, and negotiating and drafting settlement agreements.
- Represent power marketers and financial marketers in Midwest ISO, PJM, California ISO proceedings addressing market design and cost allocation.
- Represent power marketers and financial marketers in California ISO proceedings involving the structuring of market rules to apply to virtual bidding.
- Represent power marketers and financing marketers in ERCOT proceedings involving resettlements associated with modeling issues.