Utilities Sector

News & Analysis as of

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

Australia's Federal Court Mandates Greater Care When Offering Discounts on Energy Usage Charges

The Federal Court of Australia has found that AGL South Australia Pty Ltd (AGL) made false or misleading representations and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, concerning the level of discount that residential...more

Arizona Corporation Commission Offers Clues to Renewables Development in Recent APS Order

Each public service corporation serving retail electric load in Arizona files for review and approval with the Arizona Corporation Commission (Commission) a plan that describes how it intends to comply with Renewable Energy...more

"Emerging Issues in the Federal Regulation of Electricity Markets"

In 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will address many of the most serious challenges the electric industry faces in multiple proceedings that will be closely followed by industry participants. Those...more

Municipalities Playing A Leading Role In U.S. Renewable Energy Development

In an ever-changing, evolving global economy, renewable energy developers and investors are looking for the panacea that encourages continued economic growth and revitalizes new project development in the United States’...more

Illinois Supreme Court Affirms Revenue Decoupling for Natural Gas Rates

In the closing days of its January term, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Appellate Court’s decision in People ex rel. Madigan v. Illinois Commerce Commission, approving the use of the so-called...more

FERC Protects a QF’s PURPA Right to Sell Net Output

On January 22, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order reaffirming a qualifying facility’s (QF) right to sell all of its net output to a utility under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act...more

FERC Proposes to Strengthen Hold-Harmless Policy for Electric Mergers

The policy would impose greater scrutiny and controls on “transaction-related” costs that utilities commit not to pass through to ratepayers and would open the door to cost recovery for acquisitions driven by utility need....more

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