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Energy, Telecommunications & Public Utility

Energy

Thomas, Niesen & Thomas has a long-standing tradition of representing participants in the energy, telecommunications, and public utility industry, having served the industry for over half a century.  This has provided the firm unparalleled experience in dealing with the issues facing today’s dynamic utility industry.

Our Energy, Telecommunications & Public Utility Practice provides wide ranging and diverse legal services, including administrative, regulatory, and transactional counseling, to assist clients with their legal needs.  Our attorneys have a wealth of experience on the structure and functioning of the electric, nuclear, natural gas, oil, telecommunications, and water industries and are actively engaged in a broad range of energy and telecommunications-related transactions and regulatory matters before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and federal agencies.  Our clients include electric utilities, industrial energy consumers, electric cooperatives, cogeneration and alternative energy facilities, sustainable energy funds, telecommunications carriers of various types, water companies, gas utilities and pipeline companies, cities and municipalities, as well as transportation/common carriers.  Our services encompass all facets of energy and utility practice, including matters related to telecommunications, electric power, natural gas, water, steam, liquid pipeline, disposal, rail-highway crossings, and transportation.

Administrative Filings

We are skilled in drafting the applications, petitions, pleadings and other documents that are necessary prerequisites to obtaining regulatory approval to render public service, expand existing rights, abandon or discontinue service, issue securities, transfer property devoted to public service, permit transactions with affiliates and revise tariff rates, rules and regulations or engage in other regulated transactions. Our attorneys can assist in the preparation and submission of all filings required by various regulatory agencies, and will be available during the pendency of any filing to provide the support necessary to try to bring the filing to a satisfactory conclusion.

Deregulation

Thomas, Niesen & Thomas has been extensively involved in the various ongoing deregulation proceedings involving all affected sectors of the utility industry - telecommunications, electric, motor carrier and gas. The firm's attorneys are involved on almost a daily basis with one or another aspect of deregulation currently affecting the utility industry, from the legislative drafting phase to court appeals of implementing orders.

Financings

We are actively engaged in public utility financings of all sizes, including obtaining all governmental approvals necessary for the completion of the transactions. The firm also serves clients with regard to municipal and corporate finance, acting as bond counsel or special counsel in numerous public and private financings, including Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) and RUS transactions. We have also acted as authority counsel and are listed in the Red Book. These projects include corporate construction, business acquisitions, public school building renovations, pollution control system installations and expansion and refurbishment of private and municipal sewer systems, water systems and other facilities.

Ratemaking

Our firm provides legal assistance to public utilities in connection with tariff filings proposing general rate increases and miscellaneous rate and tariff change and to customers whose interests may be affected by rates and tariff charges.  Our members have represented electric, gas, telecommunications, water, liquid pipeline, disposal and steam utilities in numerous general rate increase proceedings and are knowledgeable in every aspect of public utility ratemaking. With respect to general rate increase applications, our services are comprehensive and involve advice as to the timing of the filing; the preparation of supporting financial data, tariffs and rate designs; the development of testimony and exhibits addressing rate of return, revenues and expenses, depreciation, taxes, rate base valuation and cost of service matters; the cross-examination of opposing witnesses; briefing, exceptions and review of final orders; the preparation and filing of compliance filings; and the pursuit of the case on appeal, if necessary. Thomas, Niesen & Thomas also provides legal advice in connection with prudency investigations involving purchasing practices, management audits and tax adjustment surcharges.

Regulatory and Appellate Representation

We also provide legal representation to clients in both litigated and non-litigated proceedings before state and federal regulatory agencies. Examples include boundary line disputes, motor carrier applications and protests, telecommunications local calling areas and CLEC interconnection issues, telecommunication arbitration proceedings, customer billing rate and service complaints, pole attachment rights, accounting changes, management audits and condemnation proceedings. Further, following receipt of any administrative order, we provide advice regarding possible appellate review and representation before both state and federal courts.

 

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