Keegan Werlin’s energy and regulatory team has a thorough understanding of the economic, policy and strategic issues emerging in client industries, particularly in relation to the clean energy future. Members of the practice have extensive backgrounds in public utilities regulation, government and legislative relations and environmental regulation. With over 30 years of experience, the energy and regulatory team is able to provide effective representation on a wide range of energy industry issues.
Keegan Werlin actively participates on behalf of clients in state regulatory proceedings involving a broad spectrum of industry issues, with a focus on assisting clients in their core obligations to provide safe and reliable energy service to customers. Our attorneys have represented clients in proceedings before New England regulators in relation to mergers and acquisitions, facility divestitures, complex rate proceedings and establishment of complex performance-based rate mechanisms, service quality performance, storm reviews and grid-modernization proceedings, and long-term contracting for clean energy procurements to name just a few. Our attorneys are thoroughly familiar with the broad range of issues involved in the provision of natural gas and electric delivery service to retail customers, in an era of change.
The Clean Energy Future
On behalf of energy clients, Keegan Werlin is involved in all aspects of the electric distribution industry, assisting in regulatory matters in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and other states in the region. Today, participants in the energy market have both significant opportunities and historic challenges in planning and providing for the electricity needs of electric customers in the marketplace. Familiarity with the regulatory framework is absolutely necessary to succeed in the region.
In the Commonwealth, the impetus for energy-industry change stems from a series of legislative actions taken by the Massachusetts legislature since 2008 to advance clean energy goals and to address climate change concerns through both mitigation and adaption. In 2008, the Massachusetts legislature enacted Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2008, An Act Relative To Green Communities (“Green Communities Act”), and An Act Establishing the Global Warming Solutions Act, St. 2008 c. 298, § 7 (”GWSA”). The Green Communities Act established an entirely new construct for energy efficiency program planning, paving the way for the aggressive expansion of demand resources (energy efficiency, demand response and renewable generation). The GWSA put in place a comprehensive policy framework designed to result in marked reductions to greenhouse gas emissions on a designated timeline.
Since the enactment of the Green Communities Act and the GWSA, the operating environment for the electric industry has experienced a profound transformation, evolving into a highly dynamic setting characterized by declining electric consumption on a per-customer basis, coupled with intensifying pressure for more reliable electric service, unbounded digital access and the widespread accommodation of distributed energy resources, among other factors. In just the past few years, a shift in focus to future electrification has placed electric utilities at a crossroads where the ability to extract revenue from the system to cover necessary operating costs and capital investment has been declining, while the obligations and demands for performance to meet a range of stakeholder interests is rapidly expanding, anticipating a future with exponentially expanded reliance on the electric grid.
Many initiatives are underway to achieve the goals and objectives of the Green Communities Act and GWSA, by promoting the development of the electric-vehicle market and associated charging infrastructure; to expand the use of electric storage; and to enable DER interconnection, as examples. The goals and objectives of the Green Communities Act/GWSA were affirmed by the Baker Administration’s Executive Order No. 569, Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth (September 16, 2016) (“Executive Order No. 569”), setting directives for the reduction of greenhouse gases and preparation for the impacts of climate change.
On August 11, 2022, Governor Baker signed into law An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind, St. 2022, c. 179. As with other legislative initiatives enacted since the Green Communities Act and GWSA in 2008, this far-reaching legislation provides a strong impetus for achievement of the Commonwealth’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through initiatives relating to offshore wind and solar power, battery storage, electric grid modernization and the electrification of the transportation and building sectors.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Keegan Werlin attorneys have extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions involving electric and gas companies in the New England region. Keegan Werlin advises clients on regulatory issues associated with mergers and acquisitions and represents clients in agency proceedings to secure the necessary approvals for such transactions. Keegan Werlin attorneys have also been actively involved in the development of merger-related rate plans, including the recovery of acquisition premiums and the development of quality-of-service standards, in order to meet requirements necessary to achieve regulatory approval for mergers and acquisitions.