Jonathan Nase discusses the Commonwealth Court's decision in David N. Hommrich v. Comm., Pa. Pub. Util. Comm’n.
Cozen O’Connor’s Utility & Energy Practice guides clients through complex regulatory approvals by state public utility commissions and other federal and state regulatory agencies, and represents clients in utility- and energy-related transactions, litigation, enforcement actions, and regulatory proceedings. We represent public utilities (water/wastewater, natural gas, electric, transportation, and telecommunication), offshore wind developers, infrastructure investment funds, power producers, renewable and clean energy companies, competitive retail suppliers, municipalities and municipal authorities, large institutional and manufacturing consumers, technology companies, and corporate clients. Cozen O’Connor attorneys have decades of relevant legal experience, both in private practice and as state regulatory agency counsel.
State-Regulated Public Utilities
Cozen O’Connor has a premier state-based utility regulatory practice. Led by former counsel to the chair of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, our attorneys have the requisite knowledge and relationships to help utility clients achieve success. Our clients include water and wastewater, electric, natural gas, steam and chilled water, transportation, and telecommunications service providers. We represent clients before state public utility commissions (primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region) in a range of matters: base rate cases, mergers and acquisitions, certificate of public convenience, fair market valuation, gas and steam cost, distribution system improvement charge, rate clause filings, electric and natural gas supplier licensing, formal complaints and investigations, securities registration, management audits, affiliated interest agreement, public utility and municipality agreement, energy efficiency and conservation, land use and zoning preemption, transmission line and other utility infrastructure siting, rail-highway crossing, utility financing and asset sale/transfer authorizations, rulemaking, policy-making, and tariff proceedings. We also practice before appellate courts in appeals from public utility commission decisions and related issues.
Water, Wastewater & Stormwater
The water, wastewater, and stormwater utility sectors, including investor-owned utilities as well as municipal and authority-owned systems, face unique regulatory and commercial challenges that require counsel with a deep understanding of the law, infrastructure, and operations. Cozen O’Connor’s national water, wastewater, and stormwater practice, which includes the former general counsel of water utilities located in six states and of a national water and wastewater management services company, handles clients’ most critical transactions and litigation. We guide the sale and long-term lease of water, wastewater, and stormwater systems; negotiate management services contracts; site and obtain permits and other approvals for controversial facilities; assist with the development of filtration plants, pump stations, and water towers; negotiate power purchase agreements; provide guidance on public/private partnerships; handle litigation involving water allocation permits; guide providers on lead and PFAS contamination issues; and resolve water, wastewater, and stormwater-related enforcement actions and litigation.
Cozen O’Connor represents common carriers of passengers and property (such as transportation network, household goods moving, shipping, trucking, taxi cab, and autonomous vehicle companies), as well as transportation logistics companies, in state and federal regulatory matters and disputes. We assist clients with market entry, base rate requests, and certificate of public convenience applications; help navigate complex compliance and enforcement issues; and provide commercial contract review and drafting services.
Customer Complaint Defense
Cozen O’Connor recognizes that a significant challenge for state-regulated public utilities is the effective management of customer complaint cases. The disputes often involve a small dollar amount or a minor service issue; yet, discovery and a full-blown evidentiary hearing is required by the state public utility commission. Using alternative fee arrangements and junior attorneys/staff supervised by experienced utility lawyers, our firm is able to manage customer complaint cases in an efficient and economical manner while keeping a keen-eyed view of broader policy issues that may be implicated by any particular case.
Combined Heat & Power
Cozen O’Connor is an industry leader in combined heat and power (CHP) projects, an increasingly viable option for large energy users to reduce costs, become energy resilient, and generate revenue. The firm has advised and guided CHP projects for universities, health systems, data centers, industrial firms, and hotel/resort/casino complexes. We handle every phase of project development, including due diligence, energy sales and design, build, operating agreements; financeable land leases; regulatory advice; land use and environmental permitting; tax exempt and taxable finance; public/private partnership transactions; land and easement acquisition; incentive programs; and tax planning. Cozen O’Connor also has strong relationships with developers and consultants in the field, enabling the firm to deliver turnkey projects to its clients.
Renewable and Clean Energy
Our attorneys have deep experience with solar, wind energy, hydro-electric, and biofuels, and we regularly represent utility companies, renewable and clean energy developers, manufacturers, investors, lenders, and energy consumers. Cozen O’Connor assists renewable and clean energy projects from start to finish, managing negotiation of sophisticated commercial contracts, pursuit of federal and state government incentives, regulatory filings and compliance, agency outreach, and all aspects of renewable and clean energy project financing, tax strategy, real estate, land use, and zoning.
Oil & Gas
The firm provides corporate, regulatory, and litigation services to upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas clients. We help exploration and production (E&P) companies, oil field service companies, vendors, suppliers, gathering and pipeline companies, refineries, and investors complete transactions, pursue land and access rights, negotiate operational agreements, file comments to rulemakings, and achieve regulatory compliance. Our team also represents clients in diverse litigation and enforcement actions before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. We have notable experience working with companies developing the Marcellus and Utica shales.