Public Utilities

The public utilities practice group at Stradling’s Sacramento office serves and advises clients on a wide array of projects and issues in today’s increasingly sophisticated energy industry. Our team of attorneys has extensive experience working with:

  • Domestic and international energy generators
  • Public and investor-owned utilities
  • Financial institutions
  • Project developers
  • State and federal regulatory agencies

Our lawyers understand how energy markets work, and have a long track record of providing quality regulatory and transactional services and solutions, including:

  • Large-scale financings
  • Hedging arrangements
  • Project development
  • Fuel acquisitions
  • Contract negotiation and formation
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Negotiated and unnegotiated contract termination

We are also adept at the procurement and negotiation of design-build-operate agreements, including the development of provisions for:

  • Construction cost and schedule guarantees
  • Acceptance testing and establishment of commercial operations
  • Performance guarantees relating to energy production, availability, heat rate, and utilities consumption
  • Operating cost guarantees
  • Purchase options
  • Determination of, and cost allocation relating to, force majeure and changes in law
  • Fuel supply responsibility
  • Events of default and termination, including the resulting damage determinations

As California’s energy market and the national power industry continue to undergo unprecedented change, Stradling’s lawyers work at the cutting edge of the legal energy practice. Our experience and capabilities include:

Negotiation of power purchase agreements. Our negotiating experience includes Master Agreements (EEI, WSPP, etc.) as well as the underlying transactions for purchase and sale of energy, from both conventional facilities and renewable energy resources.

A thorough understanding of California’s dynamic energy market. With the California Independent System Operator’s upcoming implementation of the Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade, the California energy market will undergo radical changes, with both obvious and subtle ramifications. In addition to understanding today’s market structure, our lawyers have both technical training and practical experience in adapting, analyzing, and renegotiating contracts and transactions to properly function under the redesigned nodal energy market of tomorrow.

Detail-oriented contract administration. Our legal team has an unparalleled breadth and depth of experience in maneuvering through the details of power and gas contract administration. Providing clients with quality analysis and advice often requires a deep understanding of contractual processes and structure as well as ease with the necessary legal dissection and relevant technical minutia. Whether it is a force majeure event, a contract assignment, defeasance of underlying debt obligations, analysis and negotiation of operating agreements, or a change of relevant law, our lawyers are able to quickly identify and synthesize the issues in order to provide our clients with clear advice and sophisticated solutions.

An established track-record of dispute resolution. Disputes can arise even from carefully-negotiated contracts with trustworthy counterparties. Our lawyers provide our clients with the necessary tools and advice to recognize and analyze potential contractual violations, assess their gravity and impact, select from among the most advantageous dispute resolution options, and then decisively effect a desirable result.

Experience in negotiating and administering natural gas contracts. Because many power contracts contain lengthy fuel delivery and management provisions, a thorough understanding of the accompanying gas contracts—such as the NAESB and GISB—and a facility in negotiating them is critical to a successful energy practice. Our attorneys are able to provide the necessary expertise to help clients negotiate with potential counterparties, make the critical contractual decisions, and execute these agreements as expeditiously as possible.

Public Power Financing. Attorneys in the firm have served as bond counsel, disclosure counsel and underwriter’s counsel on a wide range of financings for public power providers in California. Our understanding of these financing arrangements informs our ability to provide the highest quality advice to our clients.