Background - Practices (Details)

Energy Investigations


Representative Matters

  • Representing a major energy company in a confidential DOJ investigation into alleged public corruption. Our lawyers are advising a major energy company in connection with a public corruption investigation being conducted out of the Southern District of New York. The investigation is focused on potential allegations of bribery of a high-ranking state public official in conjunction with the development of a power plant.
  • Represented a power company regarding alleged Federal Power Act (FPA) violations. We counseled Maxim Power Corp. in a FERC Office of Enforcement investigation in connection with the company’s power generation subsidiaries’ participation in New England electricity markets and alleged violations of the Federal Power Act’s (FPA) anti-manipulation rule. Maxim Power Corp., FERC Docket No. IN15-4-000.
  • Represented multiple clients in non-public FERC Office of Enforcement investigations into alleged market manipulation.
  • Represented clients in Federal Power Act compliance investigations. We have assisted clients in conducting internal FPA compliance investigations after discovery of failures to make required filings, and prepared self-reports to the FERC Office of Enforcement. In a significant number of these cases, the matters were closed without further action.
  • Provided comprehensive counsel relating to alleged North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) violations. We represented clients in connection with violations of NERC electric reliability standards, including (i) advising on steps to take if possible violations are identified; (ii) designing or advising on the scope of internal investigations sufficient to determine whether violations occurred; (iii) advising on whether and when to self-report potential violations to NERC; (iv) preparing root-cause analyses (including use of the “5-Why” methodology of root-cause analysis) and mitigation plans; (v) responding to inquiries from and negotiating settlements with NERC’s regional entities’ enforcement staff in connection with alleged violations, self-reports, and mitigation plans which, in each case, resulted in a substantial reduction in the penalties that the regional entities had originally intended to impose.
  • Counseled NRG Energy, Inc., in a regulatory investigation. We advised our client in connection with investigation of allegations of intentional failure of a generating unit to respond to dispatch instructions. The inquiry culminated in an extremely favorable disposition for our client. NRG Energy, Inc., 118 FERC ¶ 61,025 (2007).
  • Advised on investigations of supplemental energy bidding practices. We represented several clients in a market-wide FERC Office of Enforcement investigation of supplemental energy bidding practices in the California independent system operator (ISO) market, resulting in no action.
  • Provided counsel in connection with investigations of prescheduling practices. We represented several clients in market-wide investigations conducted by the market monitor and FERC Office of Enforcement into prescheduling practices in the California ISO market, resulting in no action.
  • Conducted internal investigations of natural gas buy-sell arrangements. We represented several clients in conducting internal investigations of compliance with FERC’s rules prohibiting buy-sell arrangements for natural gas, resulting in a self-report to and favorable settlement with FERC’s Office of Enforcement.
  • Advised on natural gas sales that occurred during a bitter winter. We counseled clients that were required to respond to inquiries from FERC, ISO New England, and the Connecticut attorney general regarding sales of natural gas by electricity generators during the January 2004 cold snap and price spike in New England.
  • Represented a utility involved in an investigation regarding congestion charges. We advised a leading energy company in connection with a Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control proceeding on the investigation of measures to reduce federally mandated congestion charges. Investigation of Measures to Reduce Federally Mandated Congestion Charges, Docket No. 5-7-14PH2.
  • Represented a major utility in issues arising out of the California energy crisis. We represented Duke Energy in multiple proceedings that arose out of the California electricity crisis of 2000-2001 and the concurrent Enron disclosures regarding market manipulation. We achieved client-favorable settlements of all FERC-related matters and successful resolution of other governmental investigations. Matters that were resolved favorably included multibillion-dollar FERC refund proceedings, FERC investigations and show-cause proceedings relating to allegations of improper trading practices, wash trades, and improper index price reporting, SEC and CFTC investigations growing out of trading and price reporting practices, other investigations conducted by the DOJ and state attorneys general, and multiple class action lawsuits.