Spencer Fane LLP Logo

Representation Before State Utility Commissions

Spencer Fane Energy attorneys help public utilities and interveners challenge potentially burdensome regulations and changes related to public service commission and state regulatory commission proceedings, fighting proposals that could negatively impact clients’ business interests.

State utility commissions regulate the vast majority of public utilities including electric, gas, and water distribution entities, and railroad safety, telecommunication companies, and pipeline operators. In a few states, they even regulate cotton gins. Each state has its own regulators and regulations, which may differ from federal regulations and those of other states. Our attorneys have the experience to handle issues regardless of the jurisdiction.

We have the ability to represent not only public utilities, but also interveners— parties who become engaged in these discussions because they are customers facing increased costs due to regulatory changes — particularly high-volume users of electric and natural gas.

Our team includes former members of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, giving us an inside perspective on how these regulatory bodies operate and consider arguments. Additionally, our attorneys have provided expert testimony before utility commissions, state legislatures, and the U.S. Congress — an additional layer of the firm’s understanding of the big picture when serving as a resource or advocating for our clients.

In addition, our attorneys have appellate experience, allowing Spencer Fane to represent a client starting with initial arguments and through the entirety of the appeal process. We have argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and commissions and state supreme courts across the country. When beneficial, we collaborate with attorneys firmwide, including those with significant experience representing utilities, when matters include difficult and complex issues.

We also represent clients in the increasingly complex area of rate-making and utility riders. When choosing an approach to fit the client’s needs, we aim to find an efficient and novel route to establishing the desired rates and riders resulting in the best product.

Our team works with clients to maintain compliance amidst ever-changing state and federal regulations — especially when guidance at different levels conflicts. When issues arise, we determine the proper regulatory channel in which to file and guide clients through the process. We are attentive to our clients’ desired outcome and offer different approaches to fit their needs.

Representative Experience

  • Intervened in utility proceedings on behalf of a natural gas association in matters across 10 states.
  • Testified on behalf of a client in support of long-term procurement contracts at a state utility commission.
  • Successfully represented a utility before a utility commission for its energy efficiency portfolio.