Our attorneys have assisted clients with the full range of base rate matters (non-fuel rates), fuel reconciliations, fuel factors and surcharges, purchased water factors, and other cost recovery factors, electric transmission rates, cost unbundling associated with restructuring for a competitive retail market, and transmission service rates.
We have assisted clients with utility affiliate transaction issues, including cost recovery, accounting, and cost allocation. In addition, we have advised our clients with respect to the development of affiliate codes of conduct and compliance with such codes of conduct.
SALES, TRANSFERS, AND MERGERS
We have advised clients in connection with sales of utility property, mergers between utilities, and other transfers of utility property and certificates. Bickerstaff Heath attorneys have been actively involved in three merger projects between major investor-owned utilities and in the acquisition and sales of generation, transmission, substation, and distribution facilities.
CONSUMER PROTECTION AND QUALITY OF SERVICE
We have assisted clients in developing customer protection rules and in formulating quality of service plans. We have advised them with respect to compliance with customer protection rules and in achieving quality of service standards.
DESIGNATION OF SERVICE AREA AND CUSTOMERS
We have assisted clients in negotiating agreements designating service areas and customers and represented them in regulatory proceedings to implement such agreements and to effect the certificate transfers necessary to effectuate the agreements' terms.
REGULATORY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
We advise both investor-owned and publicly-owned entities in the full range of regulatory reporting matters and with respect to the treatment of information that must be provided to regulatory bodies, including protection of competitively and commercially sensitive information from public disclosure.
We have advised both investor-owned and publicly-owned entities with respect to regulatory rulemaking proceedings that can affect them with respect to the provision of services. We have assisted our clients in developing and submitting comments on rules. Such activities have involved our working closely with technical, economic, and accounting professionals employed or retained by our clients.
Our attorneys have substantial experience in assisting clients in matters relating to utility siting, easements, and rights-of-way. We represent entities with respect to the acquisition of rights-of-way for utility facilities and with respect to the full range of issues related to the use of such rights-of-way.
We have assisted clients with respect to siting of transmission lines, power plants, and related facilities. We have represented clients in negotiations with landowners, in preparation of follow-up documentation, and in acquiring facility sites and obtaining the associated governmental authorizations. Our attorneys have advised and assisted clients on over numerous major electric facilities siting projects over the years. These projects have included regulated and unregulated generation siting and transmission line siting.
RIGHT-OF-WAY ACQUISITION AND MANAGEMENT
We have assisted and represented clients in negotiating right-of-way management, franchise agreements, and related compensation agreements.
ELECTRIC CERTIFICATES OF CONVENIENCE AND NECESSITY
We have represented entities in obtaining necessary electric utility certificates of convenience and necessity for electric transmission facility additions. We have assisted our clients in rulemaking proceedings related to siting and certification of utility facilities. We have represented clients in contested cases before regulatory agencies and trial and appellate court challenges to agency decisions (including appeals, temporary restraining orders, injunctions, and declaratory judgments) related to utility facility certification. Our attorneys have litigated electric transmission line certification cases. Other cases litigated included significant issues related to need, environmental impact, landowner impact, analysis of alternatives, and the routing process.
ENVIRONMENTAL, ZONING, AND OTHER PERMITS AND LICENSES
We assist our clients in obtaining necessary governmental authorizations in connection with their electric and telecommunications facility plans. For example, we assisted the electric generating arm of a major national public utility holding company to obtain certain air quality control authorizations related to its acquisition of generating facilities in an ozone non-attainment area in Texas. We also assisted a German-based merchant generation developer obtain necessary environmental, land use, water and other permits and licenses for its development of power plant projects in Texas. We regularly work with our clients in helping to prepare environmental analyses and other similar evaluations with respect to governmental filings they need to make to obtain authorization to construct facilities.
Our attorneys advised and assisted four electric utility operating subsidiaries of major national public utility holding companies in the preparation of their business separation plans and cost unbundling to comply with the 1999 Texas Electric Utility Restructuring Act. They represented these electric utilities in the extensive and complex regulatory proceedings related to approval of the business separation plans and unbundled transmission and distribution rates.
Wholesale and Retail Market Protocols
Our attorneys have advised clients with respect to the implementation of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) protocols related to the wholesale and retail aspects of the implementation of retail open access in ERCOT.
Open Access Transmission to Support the Competitive Wholesale Market
Our attorneys have represented both investor-owned and publicly-owned entities in the establishment of open access transmission to support the competitive wholesale market. This representation has included rate proceedings to establish the open access transmission system, multiple judicial litigation arising from regulatory initiatives to implement open access and the related transmission rates, and multiple appeals of regulatory orders implementing the open access transmission system. Their activities have included participation in a related Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proceeding.
STRANDED COST RECOVERY
Our attorneys have represented two electric utility operating subsidiaries of major public utility holding companies with respect to the quantification of generation-related costs that will be stranded as a result of retail open access and with respect to the recovery of such stranded costs under the Texas electric utility restructuring requirements enacted in 1999. In connection with their involvement in this matter, our attorneys worked closely with technical, economic, and accounting experts in developing estimates of stranded costs and in evaluating the competitive retail open access dynamics that contribute to the creation of such stranded costs.
We have advised both private and public entities with respect to rulemaking proceedings related to the implementation of wholesale and retail electric competition. In connection therewith, we have assisted clients in preparing comments on proposed rules and have represented them in rulemaking proceedings.
We represent and assist clients in connection with litigation involving electric, gas, and telecommunications-related matters. Our attorneys have worked on multiple contested electric, gas and telecommunications matters, including rate-related matters, service area certifications, facilities siting, retail customer choice issues, electric transmission access and pricing, stranded cost recovery, and regulatory rulemakings.
We have represented clients in state and federal court cases involving contract disputes, service area disputes, facilities construction disputes, right-of-way acquisitions, easements, condemnation, and trespass. Our attorneys have advised and consulted with utility clients' local counsel and special counsel in complex ratemaking and other utility matters, such as fuel supply litigation, in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
CONTESTED CASES BEFORE REGULATORY AGENCIES
Our attorneys have represented utilities in Texas in numerous major ratemaking proceedings, numerous fuel expense proceedings, and hundreds of other types of cases such as those involving rulemakings, tariffs, complaints, and facilities certification.
APPEALS OF AGENCY DECISIONS
We have represented clients, both challenging and supporting regulatory decisions, in trial and appellate court appeals of agency decisions, including seeking and opposing temporary restraining orders, injunctions and declaratory judgments. Our attorneys have briefed and argued numerous appeals in all levels of state and federal courts. In addition, we have both prosecuted and defended against petitions for injunctive and declaratory relief.
We assist clients in drafting fuel contracts for electric and gas systems, power supply contracts, gas supply contracts, and other transactions. Our attorneys represent clients in preparing electric, gas, and fuel transmission and transportation contracts. We have also represented a utility and a corporate trustee in debt and equity issuances and leveraged sale and lease back financings. We have represented sellers and buyers in long-term electric power purchase and sale contracts and have negotiated and drafted contracts to acquire natural gas. We have represented a client purchasing underground conduit to expand its network. Additionally, we have helped clients in drafting and negotiating pole attachment agreements.
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
We have advised clients and assisted them in performing due diligence in acquisitions of telecommunications facilities and infrastructure. We have assisted clients in conducting due diligence in connection with mergers and acquisitions of major electric utility companies. We have assisted clients in conducting due diligence in the acquisition of electric generating facilities.