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Energy and Utilities

Energy and Utilities


Contact: Gray Styers
Overview

Flipping a light switch, lighting a natural gas stove, dialing a telephone, turning on a water faucet – Smith Moore Leatherwood recognizes the operational complexity and legal context behind each of these seemingly simple, everyday acts.  We understand the laws that apply to these services and regularly practice in the forums where those laws are enacted, interpreted, applied, and enforced and that allow the necessary infrastructure for those services to be constructed and operated.  When necessary, we also represent our energy and utilities clients in administrative appeals through the court system regarding the proper interpretation and application of these laws.

Renewable Energy Generation

Smith Moore Leatherwood serves clients in the renewable and conventional electric generation sectors, including those with facilities fueled by the sun, wind, biomass, and natural gas. As the regulatory framework concerning fuel diversification, environmental protection, demand-side management, and renewable energy development continues to evolve, our attorneys assist clients in navigating through the rules, regulations, and requirements to achieve their business objectives.    We have extensive experience representing solar farm developers with real estate and land use matters, and assisting renewable electric generation facilities in negotiating interconnection and power purchase agreements and advising them regarding Renewable Energy Certificates.

We also work with manufacturing and technology clients who are large energy users to find ways to reduce their costs, improve their energy supply service and reliability, and better understand the regulatory and policy environment in which they purchase energy needed for their facilities.

Natural Gas

Smith Moore Leatherwood serves as regulatory counsel for two investor-owned local distribution companies in North Carolina, and as counsel for the Carolinas Public Gas Association, comprised of municipalities and gas districts in North and South Carolina. 

Telecommunications

Since the advent of commercial digital wireless service in the mid-1990s, attorneys with our firm have handled matters at the forefront of the development and permitting of wireless facilities networks that enable these systems to provide uninterrupted coverage. Our clients on the wireless side of the business include service providers and tower companies for whom we have helped procure zoning and permitting approval for hundreds of facilities throughout North Carolina and in various other locations across southeastern United States.

Our attorneys have also represented wireline local exchange companies in the North Carolina Utilities Commission, procured certificates for new service providers, and litigated interconnection and reciprocal compensation issues before the Commission and in the federal courts.

Water and Wastewater

Our firm represents companies that provide water and wastewater services and that are regulated as utilities under North Carolina law. We also assist our real estate development clients with all approvals necessary for water and wastewater services provided within development projects, including re-use and reclaimed water systems.  Because we practice regularly before the North Carolina Utilities Commission, we are knowledgeable of the governing statutes, regulations, and procedures and maintain cooperative, working relationships with the Public Staff and Commission staff.

Infrastructure Deployment

Our growing population and new technologies create the need for new and expanded infrastructure to provide services that our citizenry need and expect. Whether a natural gas transmission and distribution system in the North Carolina mountains, power plants, a multi-municipal natural gas pipeline in the Piedmont, wastewater facilities, a passenger ferry terminal, solar energy facilities, or multi-site wireless telecommunications networks throughout the Southeast, our firm’s attorneys have been involved in the strategic planning, development, and permitting of numerous large infrastructure projects in a variety of industries and a variety of locations. We have worked cooperatively with local governments, private investors and developers, and State leadership to craft win-win solutions to improve our infrastructure, create jobs and promote economic development in our region.

Professionals

Attorneys

NAME TITLE LOCATION CONTACT
Attorney
(919) 755-8837
Associate
(919) 755-8753
Of Counsel
(919) 755-8764
Partner
(704) 384-2618
Of Counsel
(919) 755-8835
Partner, Infrastructure and Development Leader
(919) 755-8741
Partner
(910) 815-7135
Experience

Renewable Energy Generation Experience

  • Represented independent electric generation facilities (QFs) in:
    • Negotiations of power purchase agreements (PPAs) and interconnection agreements
    • Arbitration over terms of PPA with investor-owned utility under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA)
    • Complaint proceedings against investor-owned utilities before state utilities commission
  • Procured necessary zoning and permits for numerous solar energy facilities
  • Represented independent power producers in procuring necessary utilities certification for new electric generation facility sites
  • Addressed issues regarding correct calculation and entry of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in renewable energy tracking system 
  • Assisted owner of largest privately-owned waste-to-energy landfill facility in North Carolina secure requisite utilities commission approvals
  • Represented regional transmission organization (RTO) in contested case involving integration of utility's transmission grid into RTO's system
  • Negotiated and received regulatory approval for special customer contracts for large energy users.

Natural Gas Experience:

  • Procured certificate of public convenience and necessity for new investor-owned local distribution company
  • Represented local distribution company in its acquisition by new parent company
  • Handled all aspects of regulatory compliance for investor-owned local distribution company
  • Represented the City of Monroe and Town of Midland, North Carolina in securing necessary approvals for 43-mile natural gas transmission pipeline
  • Assisted municipal natural gas distribution systems with wholesale natural gas supply and transportation issues

Telecommunications Experience:

  • Represented multiple national wireless communications providers or their build-to-suit tower companies with network design, government relations strategies, and individual local land use approvals for antenna sites
  • Represented landline incumbent local exchange carrier in applying for and receiving authority to provide interexchange (long-distance) service
  • Represented wireless service providers in interconnection disputes with rural local exchange carriers
  • Represented incumbent local exchange carrier in interconnection disputes with competing local exchange carriers
  • Represented competing local exchange carriers in securing requisite utility certification

Wastewater and Water Experience

  • Represented real estate developers in securing all necessary utility approvals for new community water and wastewater systems
  • Represented numerous water/wastewater utilities in rate cases and establishment of initial rates
  • Procured regulatory approvals for transfer of ownership of water/wastewater utilities
  • Represented public water and sewer authority in acquisitions of privately-owned wastewater systems

Infrastructure Deployment Experience

  • Represented new natural gas local distribution company extending service for the first time into six North Carolina counties; procured all regulatory permits for pipelines, oversaw right-of-way acquisition, and assisted with state and local government regulatory issues
  • Procured necessary zoning and permits for numerous solar energy facilities throughout the region
  • Represented biomass-fueled electric generation facility needing new road for fuel delivery on issues regarding road and highway funding, cost-sharing, right-of-way acquisition, and construction
  • Represented the City of Monroe and Town of Midland, North Carolina in securing necessary approvals for 43-mile natural gas transmission pipeline
  • Advised landowners and developers about utility service agreements and extensions for water, wastewater, electricity, and natural gas services
  • Represented various national wireless communications providers or their build-to-suit tower companies with network design, government relations strategies, and individual local land use approvals for antenna sites throughout North Carolina and in various other locations across southeastern United States
  • Worked on legal team representing owner of railroad rights-of-way corridor in litigation involving long-term lease; represented light-rail public transit development authority on rights-of-way issues
DISCLAIMER

Each of our lawyer's e-mail address is provided with his or her biography. If you are not a current client of our firm, you should not e-mail our lawyers with any confidential information or any information about a specific legal matter, given that our firm may presently represent persons or companies who have interests that are adverse to you. If you are not a current client and you e-mail any lawyer in our firm, you do so without any expectation of confidentiality. We will not establish a professional relationship with you via e-mail. Instead, you should contact our firm by telephone so that we can determine whether we are in a position to consult with you about any legal matters before you share any confidential or sensitive information with us.