Public Utilities and Telecommunications

Calfee’s Public Utility & Telecommunications group is structured and operated in a manner that recognizes that utility issues significantly impact the communities served by our clients and therefore have fundamental governmental implications.  Our attorneys operate in concert with the firm’s Government Relations and Legislation group and Calfee’s Energy Industry Team, which allows us to achieve timely results that meet our clients’ immediate, strategic and long-run needs.  We represent service providers such as electric utilities and telephone and cellular telecommunications carriers, as well as municipal, business and educational consumer organizations.

We recognize that our clients’ issues are best served when regulators, elected officials and their staffs are fully informed.  Our attorneys frequently engage in litigation before regulatory agencies and courts defending utility clients against competitors and consumer groups.  Accordingly, we make our clients’ views and concerns known to and understood by regulatory and elected decision makers at all levels through both formal advocacy and lobbying efforts.  We use our broad governmental, financial, corporate, litigation, and public law experience to provide innovative, business-oriented solutions to the complex issues that our clients must confront in a time of unprecedented competition and deregulation.

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Public utilities operate in both a regulated and unregulated environment.  Our team approach, which combines aggressive litigation with government relations lobbying, assures our clients’ messages are received and understood by key governmental decision makers.  The diversity of our attorneys’ skills allows us to provide sound advise that takes into account the interplay of often competing governmental and economic forces.

  • Representation of electric utility in Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) proceedings seeking approval of Energy Efficiency and Peak Demand Reduction Portfolio Plans mandated by Ohio law.
  • Representation of electric utility seeking PUCO approval of electric security plan under R.C. 4928.143 or market rate offer under R.C. 4928.142.
  • Representation of competitive retail electric service provider in proceedings at the PUCO 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.
  • Representation of 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.
  • 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.
  • Representation of national environmental organization before Ohio Power Siting Board regarding the construction of a natural gas-fired power station adjacent to wetlands.
  • Representation and counseling of acquired and acquiring companies in merger approval proceedings before the PUCO. After extensive hearings and negotiations, the mergers were approved pursuant to Commission-approved stipulations and recommendations.  The stipulations represented consensus built among consumer, competitor and governmental groups.
  • Representation of electric utility in restructuring and transition plan proceeding at the PUCO. The plan was fully approved by the Commission.
  • 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 which permit our clients to provide their necessary services without unreasonable regulation or interference.
  • Representation of clients in CATV franchise negotiations.
  • Representation of utility clients in PUCO rulemaking proceedings. Such proceedings included the Energy Efficiency and Demand Reduction Benchmarks, Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, Minimum Telephone Service Standard, Telephone Utility Local Service Guide Line and Electric Transition Plan rulemaking proceedings.
  • Representation of incumbent local exchange carrier in alternative regulation proceedings. The resulting stipulated plans provided a general framework for all other local exchange carriers in the state of Ohio.
  • Representation of telephone utility client in adequacy of service complaint cases by Internet service providers, CATV operators, competing long distance companies and others at the PUCO.
  • Representation of incumbent local exchange telephone utility client in long distance checklist compliance proceeding pursuant to the requirements of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
  • Representation of cellular carriers before municipal governments on tower siting and zoning matters.