Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot attorneys have over 30 years of experience representing electric, gas and telecommunications utilities in regulatory proceedings before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) and its predecessor, the Alaska Public Utilities Commission. Our specialized knowledge of public utility law, as well as the unique technical, economic and financial aspects of utility operations, enables us to present cases effectively before regulators and achieve desired results. We have particularly strong knowledge in rate, rate design and certification cases, which involve complex financial and accounting issues, cost of service and revenue requirement studies and expert economic testimony. We have successfully represented telecommunications companies in the negotiation and enforcement of interconnection agreements, including arbitrations arising from the agreements.
Representative successes include:
- Negotiated or successfully litigated revenue increases for utilities, providing them financial stability and funds for continued plant development and expansion
- Obtained state certificates for new utilities to provide service, overcoming challenges to the companies’ financial capability and other fitness issues
- Obtained “clean” approvals for certificate transfers related to utility acquisitions and changes in control, avoiding imposition of conditions that would adversely affect ongoing business operations
- Obtained exemption from state utilities regulation for a renewable energy company, allowing it to develop its business without regulatory risk or the administrative costs and burdens of regulation
We also provide a variety of other legal services to utility clients, addressing issues that arise in their day-to-day operations. We serve as general counsel to utilities and provide advice in business areas including labor, land use, zoning, government contracting, environmental and financing issues. For example, we successfully negotiated an agreement with a state environmental agency preventing adverse action on alleged violations of air quality regulations, and we assisted in preventing criminal prosecution of utility executives. We also successfully ended a utility employee labor strike and negotiated labor contract solutions for electric and water and wastewater utilities. In addition, we serve as litigation counsel for utilities, handling cases that arise in business areas related to employment, contracting, acquisitions and other areas.