On June 4, Bracewell partner Jason Hutt was interviewed on Nightly Business Report by NBC’s Jackie DeAngelis about the role of government support in the growth of the solar power industry. Click here to view the Nightly Business Report clip.
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Bracewell & Giuliani
The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) recently convened a proceeding to investigate whether to begin regulating providers of demand response services as electricity suppliers. To participate in the proceeding, interventions must be made with the PSC by September 2 and comments submitted by September 30.
A central issue in the proceeding will be whether demand response providers are “electricity suppliers,” which the Maryland Code defines as someone “(i) who sells: 1. electricity; 2. electricity supply services; 3. competitive billing services; or 4 competitive metering services; or (ii) who purchase, broker, arrange, or market electricity or electricity supply services for sale to a retail electric customer.” If determined to be electricity suppliers, then demand response providers may be subjected to a host of new licensing and compliance responsibilities, including creditworthiness, registration, marketing, reporting, and record retention, depending on the outcome of the proceeding. (more…)
Baltimore Gas & Electric (BG&E) won Maryland PSC approval late Friday for an $833 million smart grid plan pursuant to which it will install 3,000 smart meter devices per day through 2014. Without timely PSC approval, BG&E risked losing approximately $200 million in Department of Energy subsidies to implement the plan.
The PSC rejected BG&E’s original plan, which included the large-scale build-out of advanced meters and mandatory time-of-use (TOU) billing because the PSC opposed (1) granting BG&E a rate tracker to recover smart grid costs as they are incurred as opposed to following a prudence determination, and (2) imposing TOU rates on all retail customers. The PSC also faulted the original BG&E proposal as doing too little to educate customers on how smart grid programs would work. The PSC nevertheless invited BG&E to resubmit its proposal to address these concerns. (more…)
PR News announced that Bracewell & Giuliani’s Energy Legal Blog will be recognized as the best “Legal PR Blog” at its annual Corporate Social Responsibility & Legal Awards Luncheon on February 24, 2010 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. This award recognizes an outstanding and influential law-related weblog or online journal written by a representative of the organization with the goal of espousing the brand or a certain message and written with flair and personality.
“Managing a crisis and working with legal counsel are two areas of communication that will always be a part of a PR professional’s responsibilities,” notes Diane Schwartz, vice president of PR News. “The Legal PR Awards shines a light both on how law firms are communicating to their stakeholders and to how the PR industry is in the driver’s seat when a crisis hits.”
More information on the award program and this year’s winners is available at http://www.prnewsonline.com/awards/csr2009_event-finalists.html.
Category: Air Quality/Climate Change, CFTC, Courts, Enforcement, Environmental, EPAct 2005, FERC, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Energy Law, Natural Gas/LNG, Nuclear, Offshore, Organized Markets, Regional Energy Law, Reliability, Renewable Energy/Cleantech, Smart Grid, Transmission
In response to a request from EnergyConnect, Inc. — an aggregator of retail power customers — FERC in a January 19 order disclaimed Federal Power Act regulatory jurisdiction over retail aggregators that provide service only from demand response resources ” because they [deal only in] agreements to reduce demand, i.e., agreements not to purchase electric energy under certain circumstances, rather than agreements to sell electric energy at wholesale.” Previously FERC had asserted jurisdiction to regulate all aggregators as “public utilities” under the FPA because they hold wholesale contracts that involve the sale for resale of energy that would ordinarily be consumed by an end-use customer. Nevertheless, FERC held that EnergyConnect, Inc. was a “public utility”, with attendant market-based rate filing obligations, because, in addition to aggregating demand response, it was also engaged in sales of ancillary services, which “involve the injection of electric energy onto the grid and a sale for resale in wholesale electric markets.”
The January 19 order further clarifies that, although not required to obtain market-based rate authority, demand response providers remain subject to various other regulatory requirements including rules for doing business with regional transmission organizations, the prohibition against market manipulation, and market transparency rules.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the US Department of Commerce on September 24 released its first round of almost 80 draft “Smart Grid” standards, which are intended to establish a framework for Smart Grid development. These initial standards establish a conceptual model for the Smart Grid by (1) addressing how the many complex systems that make up the Smart Grid interrelate to each other; (2) developing a cyber-security strategy; and (3) identifying interfaces for which interoperability standards are needed. (Interoperability-a key issue in standards for the Smart Grid-refers to the ability of diverse systems and their components to work together.) The standards are available for public comment for the next 30 days (until around October 24, 2009), after which NIST will finalize them and send them to FERC for final approval and formal issuance.