Energy law

Tarrant, Gillies & Richardson has an active public utilities section serving clients in the telecommunications, electricity and energy sectors throughout Vermont and the northeast. TGRís energy sector combines years of experience working with the State of Vermontís Public Service Board (PSB) and Department of Public Service and various State agencies, as well as federal agencies regulating and overseeing public utilities and alternative energy developers.

Led by TGR founding partner Gerry Tarrant, and supported by Daniel Richardson, our public utility team is known and respected throughout the northeast United States and Canada. Paul Gillies often becomes involved in utility matters as they may relate to local municipal development and real estate matters. TGRís vast background in environmental law allows it to navigate clients successfully through the Section 248 process, Vermont utilitiesí version of Act 250.

The legislative, legal, and regulatory landscape for energy generators and providers and telecommunications providers continues to undergo dramatic changes. From electricity generators to telecommunication carriers, companies needing Certificates of Public Good (CPGs) and other approvals, or that come under the jurisdiction of the Vermont PSB often turn to TGR when they require advice and representation.

TGR assists clean energy producers and land conservation groups, as well as regulated utilities make a positive difference in the rapidly evolving fields of energy and telecommunications law. TGRís recent accomplishments include:

  • leading a Vermont farm through the CPG process to permit a methane generator in the northern part of the State;
  • leading a hydro developer through the CPG process to transfer its CPG successfully to allow it to sell its investment;
  • representing a small municipal utility in a CPG process to permit a gas generator;
  • advising a small municipal utility on the municipal steps needed to invest in a local generation project;
  • representing a national conservation group through the PSB regulatory process relative to the siting of a large statewide transmission line through one of its conserved areas;
  • representing the Stateís Emergency 911 Board in various PSB dockets and investigations;
  • representing a statewide efficiency group and advising it on proposed energy and efficiency legislation;
  • representing a wind turbine developer through the PSB process to obtain approvals to gain access to site weather towers to obtain preliminary data for potentially developing a wind turbine in Vermont;
  • representing unions relative to the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plantís proposed restructuring plans;

As Special Counsel to the Department of Public Service and Public Advocate, Gerry Tarrant played a major part in drafting legislation forming the Department and became its first General Counsel in 1980. In 1985 Gerry was appointed Commissioner of the Department under Governor Madeleine M. Kunin and hired Michael Marks as the Stateís Public Advocate. Gerry and Michael prosecuted several rate cases, and initiated and pursued many investigations and law suits while at the Department. Gerry also defended the Stateís allocation of low cost hydro power before the New York Power Authority and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

While at the Department Gerry oversaw the introduction of the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA), and the expansion of energy efficiency and alternative energy projects. He oversaw the Stateís first Twenty-Year Plan and chaired the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel (VSNAP) where he oversaw the regulation of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant in tandem with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Gerry was involved in several large legislative overhauls while working at the PSB and Department and is familiar with the legislative landscape.

In addition to representing clients before the PSB and the courts, the lawyers at TGR have represented clients before federal commissions and the federal court system.

Many regulatory proceedings in Vermont require formal hearings, witness preparation, and presentations, including cross-examination of witnesses, before the quasi-judicial PSB or its appointed hearing officers. Many cases, however, do not and can be navigated through either a minor hearing process or through stipulation and settlement. TGR attorneys understand the regulatory process and always attempt easy, practical solutions if possible.

TGR is a full service law firm representing clientís needs in other related areas of the law including corporate and business formation, taxation, real estate, environmental, municipal and state land use and labor law. As clientsí needs expand into other areas of the law, the firmís wide range of legal emphasis and commitment to vigorous collaboration across practice areas provides cost effective, and result oriented legal representation.

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