Overview

Attorneys in Schiff Hardin’s Energy Group have represented a wide range of energy industry participants in proceedings before numerous state regulatory commissions, including those in Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York and Texas. Our clients have included electric generation, transmission and distribution providers (including renewable electricity suppliers), common carrier pipelines and natural gas distributors, as well as telecommunications carriers.   

We also counsel clients in determining whether state regulatory laws and regulations apply to their activities; in determining what approvals may be required; in structuring transactions and activities so as to avoid regulatory consequences; and in determining how to comply with applicable requirements. Additionally, Schiff Hardin attorneys have represented and counseled utilities and other industry participants in connection with state legislative initiatives that may affect their businesses and operations.

Leaders in Illinois Regulatory Issues

Schiff Hardin is one of Illinois’ most experienced firms representing clients before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) and counseling clients on Illinois regulatory matters.  The Firm has represented companies in a wide range of industries whose activities are (or may be) regulated by the ICC under the Public Utilities Act, Common Carrier by Pipeline Law and Illinois Power Agency Act, including electric transmission providers (incumbent and merchant), electric distribution providers, renewable electricity generators (wind and solar), merchant electricity generators, competitive retail electricity suppliers, common carrier pipelines (crude oil, natural gas liquids, and products pipelines), natural gas distribution providers, and telecommunications carriers (including incumbent local exchange carriers, competitive local exchange carriers, and interexchange carriers).

In addition to its representation of regulated energy and telecommunications companies before the ICC, Schiff Hardin has represented a municipal water utility in negotiating wholesale water supply contracts with other municipalities.

We have also successfully represented energy companies in litigating and appealing decisions of Illinois and local government taxing bodies concerning property taxes and other state and local taxes applicable to utilities and other energy industry participants.

Many of our clients are energy, pipeline and telecommunications industry participants headquartered outside of Illinois, who need experienced, knowledgeable Illinois lawyers to represent and provide counsel for their Illinois operations.

  • Experience

    Representative Experience

    • Certificate of public convenience and necessity or good standing applications for incumbent utility projects, merchant electric transmission projects, common carrier pipelines, and telecommunications carriers
    • Annual Illinois Power Agency electricity procurement plan proceedings
    • Requests for approval of utility and telecommunications carrier financial transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, and “reorganizations” under the Public Utilities Act; asset sales; financings; and agreements and other transactions between affiliates.
    • Electric utility, gas utility and telecommunications carrier rate cases (for telecom carriers, both traditional and TELRIC)
    • Construction cost and prudence audits and investigations for electric and gas utilities
    • Arbitration of telecommunications carrier interconnection agreements, approval of negotiated interconnection agreements and other inter-carrier agreements, and litigation of disputes between telecommunications carriers
    • Complaint cases, investigations, and rulemakings and other “generic” proceedings involving all regulated industries

    Appeals of ICC Orders

    Schiff Hardin has extensive experience representing regulated companies in appeals of ICC decisions. We have obtained reversals of ICC decisions on behalf of our clients in numerous cases. We have also successfully defended appeals of ICC decisions that provided the results our clients sought.

    A Strong Foundation in Legislative Activities

    One of our partners was a principal negotiator and drafter of Illinois’ Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law of 1997, which restructured the State’s electric utility sector and introduced customer choice.  He was also involved in negotiating and drafting the 2007 Illinois Power Agency Act and related Public Utilities Act amendments, which established the Illinois Power Agency and the electricity procurement processes it oversees, and also established Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard.  Additionally, Schiff Hardin has been involved in negotiating and drafting amendments to Illinois tax statutes applicable to energy industry participants.  On an ongoing basis, we provide advice on Illinois legislative matters to energy industry clients, including critiquing and providing drafting assistance for proposed legislation impacting their interests.

    Regulatory Advice on Proposed Transactions and Other Strategic Initiatives

    Schiff Hardin is frequently retained by energy industry and financial market participants, including companies located outside Illinois, to:

    • Advise them on Illinois regulatory requirements and risks of proposed transactions and other strategic initiatives under consideration, including on structuring transactions in light of Illinois regulatory requirements
    • Provide transaction opinions on compliance with or non-applicability of Illinois regulatory requirements
    • Monitor, report and provide advice on regulatory proceedings, legislation or other regulatory developments potentially impacting their activities and investments.

    Strong Multi-State Experience

    We have extensive experience in providing energy industry clients with multi-state regulatory strategy services, as well as experience representing electric and gas utilities and other energy industry participants before state regulatory agencies and in state court proceedings. This regulatory commission experience includes proceedings before utility regulatory commissions in Colorado, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York and Texas. Recent representations in some of these jurisdictions have included:

    • Defending an energy provider in a state regulatory proceeding challenging energy rates
    • Representing an energy provider in a state regulatory proceeding concerning the jurisdiction of the state regulatory body to regulate an interstate cooperative
    • Representing an energy provider appealing rate determinations of the public service commission
    • Representing an entity in connection with the application of state reliability rules
    • In multiple states, counseling clients regarding the application of public utility rules

Energy & Environmental Law Adviser

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