Michael J. Connolly

Of Counsel

Newark

(973) 200-7412

(973) 200-7510

Recent Publication:

New Jersey’s First in the Nation State Environmental Justice Law [Alert]

Amorie Hummel, Evan Preminger, Michael Connolly, and Greg Eisenstark discuss the New Jersey law that is the first in the nation to require mandatory permit denials under state law for new facilities and to expressly allow the imposition of conditions on renewal and expansion permits for existing facilities based on environmental justice concerns alone.

Michael advises, counsels, and represents clients on energy and utility regulatory and policy issues in a wide variety of utility and energy-related regulatory proceedings, including with respect to reliability issues, regulatory audits, regulatory complaint proceedings, utility base rates and rate clauses, affiliate-interests, and tariff matters. He has represented utility interests in connection with administrative rule makings, including with respect to customer service, reliability, vegetation management, main extensions, affiliate standards, pole attachments, renewable energy, and distributed generation regulations. He has also represented utility clients in substation and transmission siting matters, reliability-related investigations, border disputes, storm cost recovery, utility property transfers, infrastructure and utility easement acquisitions, class actions, pooled-inventory arrangements, and management and other regulatory audits. Michael has extensive experience in advising clients regarding public utility holding company, service company, and affiliate interest compliance matters. He has assisted utility clients in the development and/or implementation of innovative programs such as the SREC-based financing program and a pre-construction utility clearance review process for municipal permitting. He has also practiced and appeared before the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court and has advised non-utility clients in connection with contractual and transactional issues associated with renewable and clean energy projects. 
 
Prior to private practice, Michael served as vice president for law at GPU Service, Inc. and for its energy company affiliates — Jersey Central Power & Light Company, Metropolitan Edison Company, and Pennsylvania Electric Company before GPU Service, Inc. merged with FirstEnergy Corp. In that capacity, he served as the chief legal officer leading the Legal and Claims Departments of those companies. His 18-year tenure as an in-house attorney, assistant general counsel, and vice president of law encompassed a period of major state and federal regulatory and industry-related policy changes and initiatives, including electric industry restructuring, generation divestiture, and Public Utility Holding Company Act repeal initiatives, with which Michael was involved in various advising and management capacities.
 
Michael is a former member of the Edison Electric Institute's Legal Committee, the American Corporate Counsel Association, the American Bar Association, and a current member of the New Jersey Bar Association and the Public Utility Law Section thereof. He has participated in the Aspen Institute's Energy Policy Forum. Michael was also a former member and past chairperson of the Legal Advisory Committee of Nuclear Electric Insurance, Ltd., and the former editor of the Berks County Law Journal. He has participated in a variety of executive management programs and has written and presented on a variety of energy and other issues. In addition, Michael has been elected to Best Lawyers in America, Energy Law, since 2016. 
 
Michael earned his bachelor’s degree from Cathedral College. Michael earned his M.Ed. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education and his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
 

News

More Than 200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch By The Best Lawyers In America

August 20, 2020

Best Lawyers selected 201 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 23 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© (Copyright 2020 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).

Cozen O’Connor Announces Hiring Two Nationally Renowned Energy Lawyers and Continues Expansion of its U.S. Footprint, Opening a Newark, N.J. Office

April 01, 2019

Gregory Eisenstark and Michael J. Connolly join Cozen O’Connor and will lead the Newark office

Publications

New Jersey’s First in the Nation State Environmental Justice Law [Alert]

October 22, 2020

Amorie Hummel, Evan Preminger, Michael Connolly, and Greg Eisenstark discuss the New Jersey law that is the first in the nation to require mandatory permit denials under state law for new facilities and to expressly allow the imposition of conditions on renewal and expansion permits for existing facilities based on environmental justice concerns alone.

NJBPU Approves Year 2 Application Process for Community Solar Energy Pilot Program [Alert]

October 13, 2020

Michael Connolly and Greg Eisenstark discuss the NJBPU's Community Solar Program Year 2 application process. Applications for Year 2 community solar projects are due by February 5, 2021.

Voluntary Moratorium on New Jersey Utility Shut-offs Extended to October 15, 2020 [Alert]

September 01, 2020

Gregory Eisenstark and Michael J. Connolly discuss the voluntary moratorium on utility shut-offs for non-payment of bills that Gov. Murphy extended to October 15, 2020. The moratorium applies to electric, gas, water, and wastewater utilities regulated by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

N.J. EO-127 Extends Contested Case, Rule Deadlines — May Impact Utilities, Other Regulated Entities [Alert]

April 20, 2020

Greg Eisenstark and Michael Connolly discuss New Jersey's executive order extending deadlines until after the public health emergency.

Update on N.J. and Pa. Restrictions on Construction Activities — Utility and Other Projects [Alert]

April 13, 2020

Michael Klein and Michael Connolly provide updates to restrictions Pennsylvania and New Jersey have issued on the energy industry.

COVID-19 Emergency Mandates on Utility Construction Activities and Supplies

April 07, 2020

Dave Zambito, Michael Klein, Michael Connolly, and Jonathan Nase explain what utility companies need to know about their construction projects in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Summary and Analysis of Key Provisions of the CARES Act

March 28, 2020

Members of Cozen O'Connor's Coronavirus Task Force provide analysis of the CARES Act and how it will impact small businesses, distressed industries, employers and employees, taxes, and the health care, real estates, and energy industries.

COVID-19 and the Utility, Energy, Telecommunications & Transportation Sectors: What [Alert]

March 24, 2020

David Zambito, Michael Klein, Michael Connolly, Gregory Eisenstark, Ira Megdal, and Jonathan Nase discuss the executive orders in New Jersey and Pennsylvania impacting the utility industry.

Practice Areas

Education

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D., 1981
  • University of Pittsburgh, M. Ed., 1976
  • Cathedral College, B.A., 1974

Awards & Honors

The Best Lawyers in America, Energy Law, 2016-2021

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania