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Utility & Energy

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Overview

Stoll Keenon Ogden’s Utility & Energy practice works with a host of utility businesses on regulation and operation issues, from day-to-day procedures to major mergers and acquisitions. Our attorneys have extensive experience in the field, including representation of clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, Kentucky Public Service Commission and other state and federal regulatory bodies, including trial and appellate courts.

Our clients include combination gas and electric utilities, natural gas local distribution utilities, water utilities, telecommunications carriers, municipal utilities, electric cooperatives, energy marketing companies, and industrial purchasers of energy and telecommunications.

Our scope of services includes representing clients with respect to:

  • Rate adjustments
  • Transfers of control
  • Financing and construction applications
  • Consumer complaint proceedings
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Employment issues
  • Securities
  • Antitrust and compliance
  • Market entry
  • Inter-carrier relations
  • Legislative affairs

Industry Involvement

Energy Bar Association

Energy and Mineral Law Association

Federal Communications Commission Bar Association

Foundation of Energy Law Journal

Kentucky Bar Association

Louisville Bar Association

Fayette County Bar Association

Virginia State Bar Association

Edison Electric Institute

Work Highlights: Kentucky

Electric

  • General Rate Cases

    In recent years, SKO has served as lead counsel for several general rate cases for the state’s largest investor-owned gas, electric and energy provider. In 2012, SKO led the legal effort for base rate cases that were settled and approved by the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

  • Construction of Emission Control Technology

    SKO handled, on behalf of a major gas, electric and energy services provider, applications with the Kentucky Public Service Commission seeking Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity for the construction of new emission control technology and the modification of an existing ash pond. The provider also sought approval to recover $2.5 billion in costs of new pollution control facilities through its environmental surcharge tariff and continuation of the return on equity authorized in its most recent base rate case settlement. The Commission approved a unanimous settlement agreement in the environmental cost recovery cases for the provider, clearing the way for the investment of $2.3 billion in environmental upgrades to meet new, stricter Environmental Protection Agency regulations and recovery of the costs through environmental surcharge rate mechanisms.

  • Construction of a Generating Facility

    SKO worked with a gas, electric and energy provider and the Kentucky Public Service Commission to obtain approval of a proposal for the provider to construct a natural gas-fired generating facility at one of the provider’s plants and to purchase an existing natural gas-fired plant. The provider plans to construct a 640-megawatt combined cycle generating plant at a cost of $583 million. The provider is proceeding with the construction of the combined cycle unit.

Gas

  • General Rate Cases

    SKO served as sole counsel representing a local distribution company in an application with the Kentucky Public Service Commission on April 20, 2007 seeking an increase in gas revenues of $5,641,650, an increase of 9.25 percent. On October 19, 2007, the KPSC approved a negotiated settlement, authorizing a rate increase totaling $3,920,000.

    SKO served as sole counsel representing a local distribution company in an application with the KPSC on March 16, 2010 requesting authority to adjust its base rates for gas service. On October 21, 2010, the KPSC approved a rate increase totaling $3.5 million.

  • Investigation of Operations

    SKO defended a significant investor-owned local distribution company in the Kentucky Public Service Commission’s formal investigation of numerous alleged safety violations that were uncovered during the agency’s field investigation of a natural gas explosion that destroyed a house. Although the maximum possible fine was $500,000, SKO negotiated a settlement with the agency that was subsequently approved by the Commission. The settlement included the payment of a $125,000 fine and another $125,000 in penalties suspended, pending completion of certain remedial actions specified in the settlement agreement.

Water

  • Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity

    In recent years, SKO has served as lead counsel in obtaining two CPCNs for significant construction projects proposed by the state’s largest investor-owned water utility. First, SKO helped obtain a CPCN to build a new water treatment plant on the Kentucky River. Numerous parties intervened in the case, with the opposition coming mainly from a group of citizens impacted by the construction. The Kentucky Public Service Commission granted the requested CPCN. That decision was appealed all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court, but SKO’s client prevailed at every step in the appellate process. Second, SKO recently obtained a CPCN for the construction of a significant water transmission line that will transport treated water from the plant on the Kentucky River to the client’s customers.

  • General Rate Cases

    In recent years, SKO has served as lead counsel for several general rate cases for the state’s largest investor-owned water utility. In 2010, SKO led the legal effort for a base rate case that was fully litigated by numerous intervenors and decided by the Kentucky Public Service Commission. In 2013, SKO is serving as lead counsel in a general rate case for the same water utility client.

Telecom

  • Regulated & Unregulated Voice Services Cases

    SKO’s emphasis is representing competitive providers of regulated and unregulated voice services, including wireline and wireless carriers. During the past two years, SKO represented a national provider of long distance services in a rate complaint case involving wholesale services provided by local exchange carriers. This case was concluded as a result of preemptive action by the Federal Communications Commission. SKO also represented a national provider of wireless and long distance services in the federal and state courts in a complex intercarrier dispute related to termination of wireless services traffic to a local phone company. SKO also represented numerous wireless service providers in obtaining approval to participate in the federal and state programs implementing the Universal Service Fund for eligible telecommunications carriers.

  • Other Telecom Cases

    In matters not directly involving the Public Service Commission, members of our practice group worked with SKO state tax litigation attorneys in representing a state cable service provider’s association in a lawsuit, brought by a large city in Kentucky, related to the constitutionality of a state tax applied to video services. SKO also represented a national wireless provider in litigation related to Kentucky’s wireless 911 funding statute. Finally, SKO represented a class of customers and obtained summary judgment in a federal class action involving overcharges by a federally-regulated provider of telecommunications services. SKO also successfully defended against an interlocutory appeal of a favorable class certification decision, winning a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Work Highlights: Virginia

  • General Rate & Fuel Factor Cases

    In recent years, SKO has served as lead counsel for two general rate cases and several fuel factor cases for the state’s third largest investor-owned electric utility. In 2011, SKO led the legal effort for a base rate case that was resolved through a settlement with the agency’s staff and subsequently approved by the State Corporation Commission. In 2013, SKO is serving as lead counsel in a general rate case for the same electric utility client.

  • Change of Control

    SKO represented the state’s third largest investor-owned electric utility in obtaining the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s approval of its change of control and ownership in Joint Petition of PPL Corporation, E.ON AG, E.ON US Investments Corp., E.ON U.S. LLC and Kentucky Utilities Company for Approval of a Transfer of Control of Kentucky Utilities Company, Docket No. 10-00118.

  • Financings

    SKO represented the state’s third largest investor-owned electric utility in obtaining the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s approval of a significant restructuring and refinancing of its debt in Petition of Kentucky Utilities Company for an Order Authorizing the Restructure and Refinancing of Unsecured Debt, the Assumption of Obligations and for Amendment of Existing Financing Authority, Docket No. 10-00119.

  • Affiliate Transactions

    SKO represented the state’s third largest investor-owned electric utility in obtaining the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s approval of a series of affiliate transactions.

Work Highlights: Tennessee

  • Rate Cases

    SKO served as lead counsel for one of the state’s largest investor-owned water utilities in a general rate case. The rate case was filed with the Tennessee Regulatory Authority in early 2012. Multiple parties intervened in the case. Ultimately, a proposed settlement was reached among the parties and was approved by the TRA.

  • Change of Control

    SKO represented an investor-owned electric utility in obtaining the TRA’s approval of its change of control and ownership in Joint Petition of PPL Corporation, E.ON AG, E.ON US Investments Corp., E.ON U.S. LLC and Kentucky Utilities Company for Approval of a Transfer of Control of Kentucky Utilities Company, Docket No. 10-00118.

  • Financings

    SKO represented an investor-owned electric utility in obtaining the TRA’s approval of a significant restructuring and refinancing of its debt in Petition of Kentucky Utilities Company for an Order Authorizing the Restructure and Refinancing of Unsecured Debt, the Assumption of Obligations and for Amendment of Existing Financing Authority, Docket No. 10-00119.

Work Highlights: Federal

  • Power Contract Negotiation

    SKO has negotiated power contracts for large industrial customers with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

  • FERC Proceedings

    SKO also represents a large, out-of-state generation and transmission cooperative before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in proceedings involving wholesale electric power rates and independent system operators.

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