Main Menu Main Content

Overview

The energy industry is being impacted by rapid and disruptive changes faced in today’s environment. We are witnessing a wholesale shift away from fossil fuel generation to renewables, very low natural gas prices, changing environmental regulations, the growth of microgrids and distributed generation, and heightened interest in regional transmission and reliability. Combined, these changes are influencing state and federal energy policy and prompting regulatory action. This activity can create opportunities for entities that proactively plan.

At Calfee, we provide our clients with strategic support based on decades of experience, a track record of success at the state and federal levels, public policy advocacy and deep transactional experience. Our lawyers include a former utility regulator and general counsel, former Director of the Ohio EPA, and several other attorneys with decades of experience – both in house and as outside counsel – handling the full range of issues confronting energy companies, utilities and large consumers of energy.

Our clients have included a broad range of investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities, regional transmission organizations, telecommunications entities, pipeline companies, coal companies, investors, lenders, renewable resource developers and utility customers.

State Regulatory Matters. Our attorneys have successfully represented clients before state utility commissions throughout the Midwest, including the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Illinois Commerce Commission, Wisconsin Public Service Commission, Missouri Public Service Commission, and the Iowa Utilities Board. Our clients benefit from our experience counseling clients through complex regulatory issues, including rate cases, certifications for public convenience and necessity, rule makings, and M&A and utility asset transfers.

Federal Regulatory Matters. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in rule makings, tariff and rate schedule filings, complaint proceedings and enforcement actions. Our attorneys regularly assist clients in the development and implementation of strategies around wholesale electricity market design, new market entry, large-scale integrations, and complex, multi-jurisdictional matters involving both federal and state regulation. This experience also includes representation of clients in appeals of agency actions before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Renewables and Energy Transactions. We enable our business partners to capitalize on a variety of energy industry opportunities, including power purchase agreements, creation of microgrids, electric power and natural gas supply purchases, interconnection agreements, asset transfers, market entrance and integration analysis, and environmental permitting. These efforts have included the negotiation of contracts for the installation of onsite solar power production, including related lease agreements, power purchase agreements for the off-take of the power produced by onsite solar systems, as well as onsite microgrid projects.

Energy and Environment. Calfee provides energy clients with a full range of environmental counseling from the initial permitting stage through operational issues. Clients have included underground coal production, pipeline permitting and construction, natural gas and coal-fired electric generating units, and alternative fuel providers. These services include Clean Water Act NPDES and Section 401 and 404 permitting, Clean Air Act permitting, Power Siting Board permitting, compliance counseling, and defense of enforcement actions against these providers once the infrastructure has been completed.

Public Utility, Energy and Telecommunications Litigation. Because of Calfee’s extensive knowledge of the utility business, our litigators bring a unique problem-solving perspective to litigation involving utilities and energy companies. We routinely represent our clients in litigated matters before state and federal regulatory agencies. Moreover, our lawyers are experienced state and federal trial and appellate litigators, handling a wide range of disputes that include personal injury and other tort claims, tax, real estate, environmental and securities claims related to the energy industry. We routinely represent entities seeking to challenge or support rules or orders issued by agencies, including state utility commissions, FERC, EPA and others.

Noteworthy

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Rankings

Calfee was selected for inclusion in the 2021 "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News – Best Lawyers in Energy Regulatory Law (Metropolitan Tier 2 Columbus).

Professionals

Experience

Experience

  • Representing electric utility seeking Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approval of multi-billion-dollar electric security plan under R.C. 4928.143 or market rate offer under R.C. 4928.142.
  • Representing electric utility in proceedings seeking approval of $250 million Energy Efficiency and Peak Demand Reduction Portfolio Plans mandated by Ohio law.
  • Representing a municipal electric utility in a $128 million class action alleging improper billing practices.
  • Successfully defending a claim on an $86 million letter of credit in a contested contractual dispute between a competitive retail electric service provider and a governmental aggregator.
  • Representing competitive retail electric service provider in proceedings challenging terms of electric utilities’ electric security plans and contesting an electric utility’s need to construct a solar facility to satisfy alternative energy portfolio standards.
  • Defending natural gas utility before utility commission and in state court against claims involving rates and service issues.
  • Representing utility customers in the drafting and negotiation of power purchase agreements, including solar power purchase agreements. This representation has included negotiations regarding distribution improvements needed for major projects, integrating distributed generation resources, and assisting energy brokers in negotiating with the CRES provider.
  • Representing municipalities in Electric Security Plan proceedings and base distribution rate cases initiated by electric utilities.
  • Developed multi-state rate case strategy by aligning positions historically taken by different state utilities under parent holding company.
  • Representing an international automotive manufacturer in proceedings relating to distribution network adequacy and rate structure.
  • Assistance in the drafting of legislation authorizing securitization of utility regulatory assets, and representation in PUCO proceeding authorizing an electric utility to securitize its regulatory assets.
  • Obtaining state regulatory commission approval that allowed incumbent carrier to withdraw mandatory yet uneconomic services, saving millions annually.
  • Led the prosecution of a FERC interstate pipeline rate case, which exceeded goals and obtained $100,000 award against an Intervenor for frivolous claims.
  • Led the successful negation of FERC audit penalty, achieving a 70% reduction in amount sought by Office of Enforcement.
  • Successfully litigated utility tax overcharge for municipal taxes at the state regulatory commission. Worked with incumbent utility and local municipality to secure repayment program that considered economic stresses faced by municipality.
  • Representing national environmental organization before Ohio Power Siting Board regarding the construction of a natural gas-fired power station adjacent to wetlands.
  • Representing Ohio political subdivisions before Ohio Power Siting Board regarding the construction of a natural gas pipeline through the political subdivisions.
  • Obtaining summary judgment against a municipal utility attempting to force a non-municipal resident to accept service under Ohio’s constitutional home rule provisions and Certified Territory Act.
  • Representation and counseling of acquired and acquiring companies in merger approval proceedings before state utilities commission. After extensive hearings and negotiations, the mergers were approved pursuant to commission-approved stipulation and recommendations. The stipulations represented consensus built among consumer, competitor and governmental groups.
  • Representation of utility clients before city councils and planning agencies and providing advice and counsel in respect to use of city rights of way. Taking a collaborative approach where possible, we have been able to obtain ordinances that permit our clients to provide their necessary services without unreasonable regulation or interference.
  • Representing the world’s leading transportation network company in Ohio utility commission proceedings.
  • Representation of utility clients in rule-making proceedings. Such proceedings included the Minimum Telephone Service Standard, Telephone Utility Local Service Guide Line and Electric Transition Plan rule-making proceedings.
  • Created administrative rules for adversarial proceedings for an electricity grid regional reliability authority.
  • Representing municipal governmental aggregation communities involving over 1 million customers. 
  • Representing gas utility client before Illinois Commerce Commission in a rate proceeding after another firm was discharged. Receiving Illinois’ first ever order approving gas energy efficiency program, primarily responsible for rate design securing substantial increase in fixed cost recovery, and team achieved second largest increase in company history.
  • Representing utility client in contested matter achieving reversal of $25 million rate base ruling in rate case proceeding. Primarily responsible for rate design and the recovery of costs associated with securing/hardening facilities.

Services

Services

Calfee provides a broad range of legal services to the energy industry that include regulatory, government relations, construction, transactional, environmental, intellectual property, real estate finance and litigation counseling and representation.

Public Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Litigation

Calfee represents public utilities, municipalities, cooperatives, and other interested parties before regulatory agencies and in state and federal courts. We have represented electric utilities, municipal utilities, natural gas distribution companies, intrastate natural gas pipelines, local telephone and cellular telecommunications carriers, brokers, and industrial customers.

Environmental

Calfee has experience with all aspects of the environmental compliance requirements associated with the energy industry. From the permitting requirements associated with obtaining the raw materials for energy production to the compliance requirements associated with distribution, Calfee can provide a full range of environmental compliance counseling for the energy industry.

Transactional

Calfee’s Corporate and Finance attorneys have a broad spectrum of transactional experience with energy companies, including electric power, oil and gas producers, coal companies (both surface mining and deep hole), and ash reclamation. Members of the group have assisted energy industry clients with legal matters that include acquisitions, financings, leases, purchase agreements, tax planning, due diligence and compliance.

Government Relations and Legislation

Calfee’s Government Relations and Legislation practice group provides a unique perspective into the highly regulated energy arena. Whether our clients require legislative lobbying, regulatory and technical experience or execution of administrative matters, our experienced attorneys offer years of experience and knowledge-based relationships in the energy industry developed from years of legal representation and lobbying on energy issues.

Calfee clients benefit from our strengths when analyzing governmental issues, developing and executing successful strategies, and adding unique insight ranging from the General Assembly to the PUCO. We work together to resolve our clients’ issues involving the executive and legislative branches of government, as well as commissions, authorities and other special purpose entities.

Litigation

Calfee has successfully represented energy industry clients in a myriad of litigation matters involving complex contract and commercial disputes, government investigations, employment and labor matters, real estate and environmental disputes, class action litigation and ERISA claims. Calfee also has extensive experience representing energy industry clients in tort, accident and product liability claims including asbestos and toxic tort defense. Calfee works closely with clients to aggressively prevent, resolve and defend litigation matters at all phases of a dispute to reach the best business resolution for our clients.

Intellectual Property

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will, on petition, accord "special" status to all patent applications for inventions that materially contribute to:

  • The discovery or development of energy resources (i.e., developments in fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, and petroleum; hydrogen fuel technologies; nuclear energy; solar energy, etc.); or
  • The more efficient utilization and conservation of energy resources (i.e., inventions relating to the reduction of energy consumption in combustion systems, industrial equipment, household appliances, etc.).

Calfee’s patent attorneys are skilled in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications for energy and energy-related inventions. The Group includes patent attorneys with degrees in physics, electrical engineering, chemistry and chemical engineering, and mechanical engineering. In addition to their technical education backgrounds, many of our patent attorneys have spent time working in their technical fields as engineers and scientists prior to becoming patent attorneys.

Real Estate

Calfee’s real estate attorneys represent developers, investors and syndicators, institutional lenders, individuals and corporate clients in connection with matters related to the acquisition, disposition, construction, development, leasing and financing of property assets, including the acquisition of mineral interests by fee or lease.

In addition to conventional transactions, our practice encompasses the formation of investment syndications, joint ventures and tax-advantaged investment arrangements, the structuring of synthetic leases and tax-deferred exchanges, and the representation of clients in complex multisite and multistate transactions.

Construction

Calfee takes a multidisciplinary approach to energy construction projects tailoring its advice to the specific needs of the client. Calfee has been involved with advising and drafting contract documents, assisting in contract administration, and representing clients in contract disputes in all phases of energy related construction.

Calfee has assisted clients with new construction, scheduled outages, transmission issues, alternate energy projects, including wind and gasification, and power generation systems and storage. Calfee attorneys are sensitive to assessing risk in all phases of a project and are additionally sensitive to cost issues. This broad range of experience on varied types of energy project informs our decisions and protects our clients’ interests throughout the life of a project.

Client Feedback

Client Feedback

"Calfee, Halter & Griswold is my go-to law firm, in an emergency as well as for longer-term strategic planning. Jim Lang is a consummate professional, an excellent trial lawyer, and the state's best public utility regulatory lawyer. Their team always gets the job done quickly and efficiently and helps develop creative and effective strategies."

– Calfee client, as reported by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® in the 2019 “Best Law Firms” rankings report

News & Events

PDF

Practice Contacts

"Calfee, Halter & Griswold is my go-to law firm, in an emergency as well as for longer-term strategic planning. Jim Lang is a consummate professional, an excellent trial lawyer, and the state's best public utility regulatory lawyer. Their team always gets the job done quickly and efficiently and helps develop creative and effective strategies."

– Calfee client, as reported by U.S. News - Best Lawyers in their 2019 “Best Law Firms” rankings report

Jump to Page