Public Utilities and Regulation (Energy and Water)

Christian & Barton attorneys have specialized expertise in legal issues involving electricity, natural gas and water utilities for many years.

The firm’s attorneys have represented clients in energy utility proceedings before public service commissions and other state and federal regulatory bodies; in appeals of orders in such proceedings; in drafting, negotiating, and interpreting contracts and tariffs; in analyzing issues related to rates, rules, cost of service, accounting, and rate of return; in lobbying; and in drafting and interpreting related statutes, including those pertaining to regulation and deregulation of services provided by such utilities.

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Christian & Barton is widely recognized for its expertise in this field. Our attorneys have routinely made energy and administrative law presentations to client groups, industry trade associations, and bar associations. By continuing to participate in the development of statutes and regulatory policies governing energy industries, we expect to continue to play an important role in helping our clients remain competitive in the global marketplace.

Energy Users – Industrial, Commercial and Governmental
For more than 40 years, Christian & Barton has been a leader in representing industrial, commercial, and governmental users of electric and natural gas utility services. The firm has represented such users in proceedings before public service commissions and other state and federal regulatory agencies as well as in direct negotiations with utilities and other suppliers. Our lawyers regularly appear in administrative proceedings before the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the Delaware Public Service Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, both in generic proceedings and in rate and regulatory cases involving individual utilities.

Our firm serves as counsel for coalitions of industrial and commercial customers of electricity, natural gas, and water utilities. For more than 30 years, we have represented two coalitions of industrial customers of Dominion Energy Virginia and Appalachian Power Company, respectively, and we have worked closely since their inception with coalitions of large industrial customers of Kingsport Power Company, Delmarva Power, and Virginia local natural gas distribution companies. The coalitions share a single overarching objective–reliable service at the lowest reasonable rates.

Our firm has helped shape changes in statutes and regulations affecting electric and gas utilities as the states of Virginia and Delaware have approved the use of alternative forms of regulation and allowed customers to choose among competitive suppliers of such utilities’ services.

Since its inception, we also have served as counsel on electricity-related matters to an association of Virginia local governments in Dominion Energy Virginia’s service territory. In that capacity, we have assisted counties and municipalities in negotiating multi-year contracts worth more than $300 million per year. We also have assisted local governments with competitive purchases of green energy and renewable energy credits as well as natural gas services.

Energy Suppliers
Christian & Barton has advised and represented competitive providers of electricity in Virginia’s retail electricity market. The firm has provided representation in license acquisition and regulatory compliance and in negotiations and ongoing relations with customers and incumbent utilities. The firm also has represented such providers in contested proceedings with such utilities before the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

Utility Acquisitions and Sales
Christian & Barton has assisted foreign and domestic entities with regard to the acquisition or sale of utilities or utility assets regulated by the Virginia State Corporation Commission. This work has included preparation of transaction documents with respect to regulatory due diligence and compliance as well as representation in obtaining necessary regulatory approvals.

Water Distribution
For more than a decade, Christian & Barton lawyers have represented a coalition of industrial customers of Virginia-American Water Company in rate cases before the Virginia State Corporation Commission. In addition, the firm has advised consumers on issues raised in the creation of a separate non-potable water system for industrial uses.

Builders and Developers
Christian & Barton has represented builders, developers, and other property owners and operators before the Virginia State Corporation Commission on utility regulatory matters. We have assisted such clients with the interpretation of utility tariffs, regulations, and laws pertaining to a utility’s rights and obligations in the provision of service to new and existing developments. Christian & Barton also played a lead role, on behalf of a major builder, in the development of an electric cooperative’s guidelines for the installation of service to planned and existing developments.

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