Utilities Sector

News & Analysis as of

Approved Drone Use Grows Among Electric Utilities

On May 11, 2015, Xcel Energy became the latest electric utility to obtain an exemption under Section 333 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act authorizing the company to conduct commercial small unmanned aircraft...more

CFTC Issues Proposed Order to Exempt Certain SPP Transactions from Regulation Under Most Provisions of the CEA and CFTC Rules

On May 19, 2015, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC” or “Commission”) issued an order in response to an application from Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) proposing to exempt three categories of SPP transactions...more

Coal power plants retiring in 2015

The U.S. portfolio of electric power plants will continue to shift in 2015, according to a federal assessment projecting that nearly 16 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity will retire in 2015. Most of the capacity to be...more

Sprint to the Finish! Fast Work at the Conclusion of the 2015 Minnesota Legislative Session Results in Few but Significant Energy...

In a literal sprint to the finish, the Minnesota legislature passed a bill, which included energy policy provisions as part of a Senate Floor Amendment, just seconds before the State constitutional deadline. Pertinent energy...more

House subcommittee considers reliability draft

A congressional committee is considering legislation to assure reliability and security of the U.S. electricity grid. The House Subcommittee on Energy and Power's discussion draft includes a series of provisions designed to...more

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. Budget Work Continues, Gains Momentum in Appropriations - As the clock ticks towards the...more

Arizona Resource Planning Process Seeing Changes

Resource planning is a critical task for energy utilities. It is also of great interest to regulators, ratepayers and other industry members such as renewable energy companies....more

Mello-Roos May Be Used to Fund Condemnation Action of Private Utility Provider

Those of us living in newer neighborhoods are familiar with Mello-Roos – it shows up on our annual tax bills as a way to pay off bonds issued to finance various public improvements, such as schools, streets, and parks that...more

Water District Case Clarifies California Public Records Act Exemption for Utility Customers

“Customer” Includes a Business or Corporation, Judge Rules - The Public Records Act exempts from required disclosure the identities of commercial, as well as individual, utility customers, according to a recent...more

Harper Review: Implications for networks businesses

The Final Harper Competition Policy Review Report (Harper Review) was released on 31 March 2015. We set out below the key potential implications for networks businesses....more

Maine long-term contracting for electricity

Maine energy regulators have asked for public comment on the goals and objectives for a decade-old program supporting long-term contracts between utilities and independent power producers. At stake is the future of Maine's...more

Hydropower Concessions – Long Awaited Reform

France is Europe's second largest hydroelectric producer after Norway and in 2010 initiated a process for renewing hydropower concessions. At the time, several European utilities expressed strong interest in bidding for these...more

Fourth Circuit Continues Trend toward Narrowing Scope of CERCLA Arranger Liability

Action Item: With federal courts moving toward limiting arranger liability under CERCLA, companies that sell new or used products containing hazardous substances should heed the guidance of those courts and take certain...more

The Clean Power Plan: A View from FERC, Part IV - Economic v. Environmental Dispatch, Please

It’s been a long winter in my neck of the woods and not because Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. Pipes froze. Twice. Furnace was out overnight. Broke three shovels. So I had a particular interest this past Wednesday,...more

Impact of Reclassification on Pole Attachments

The Order recognizes that the deployment of communications networks and broadband infrastructure depends heavily on access to utility poles on reasonable rates, terms and conditions. Accordingly, the Order declined to...more

A Bright Outlook for Solar Energy in South Carolina

South Carolina’s major utilities recently submitted their proposed distributed energy resource programs to the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) for approval. The proposals come in the wake of the South Carolina...more

Community Solar - A New Path in Illinois

This week, the Chicago Tribune reports that the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) filed a petition with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to require Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd)...more

Opportunity for Utility and Energy Companies to Comment on Proposed UAV Rules

Reactions to the FAA’s proposed rules for the Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems have been mixed since their release on February 15, 2015. Some stakeholders have lauded the FAA’s action as a...more

Energy Industry News and Trends

This regular publication by DLA Piper lawyers focuses on helping clients navigate the ever-changing business, legal and regulatory landscape. - Department of the Interior opens areas for oil and gas drilling through...more

Summary of FERC Meeting Agenda - February 2015

In This Issue: - Administrative Items - Electric Items - Gas Item - Hydro Items - Excerpt from Hydro Items: H-1: Boyce Hydro Power, LLC (Project No. P-2785-089): On October 15, 2014, the...more

FERC Eases EQR Filing Burden by Eliminating E-Tag ID Requirement

On February 6, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an Order on Rehearing of its Order No. 768, in which FERC expanded its Electric Quarterly Report (EQR) filing requirements by, among other things,...more

FAA Opens the Door for Drone Use by Utilities and Energy Companies

On February 15, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration issued its long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), a broad class of technology commonly referred to as drones. While...more

Court Finds CFTC RTO/ISO Exemptive Order Bars CEA § 22 Private Right of Action, but More to Come from the CFTC

Can private litigants bring claims under the Commodity Exchange Act alleging manipulation in ERCOT’s energy markets? On February 3, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas answered “no,” granting...more

Primary Steps New Jersey Municipalities Must Take to Sell or Lease Public Water or Wastewater Systems to Regulated Utilities Under...

On February 5, 2015, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law the Water Infrastructure Protection Act to authorize municipalities to transfer water and wastewater assets to regulated utilities by sale or long-term...more

Continuity of supply of essential services to be guaranteed during business recovery (UK update)

Following a consultation on the issues last year, an Order was laid before the UK Parliament on Monday (9 February 2015) to prevent suppliers of water, gas, electricity, communications services and IT from cutting off supply...more

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