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Mary E. McKenzie

Mary E. McKenzieSenior Of CounselDownload PDFvCard510.808.2000


Mary McKenzie joined Meyers Nave after more than 30 years with the California Public Utilities Commission. Her extensive CPUC experience provides an unparalleled first-hand understanding and expert working knowledge of California’s energy markets and the expansive network of state and federal regulations that govern the industry, as well as valuable insight from her involvement in cutting-edge federal-state jurisdictional issues, such as the impact of market structure on state jurisdiction over procurement choices.

Mary has extensive experience on matters arising before state and federal agencies and courts on regulatory and jurisdictional issues involving energy, water and telecommunications. Recent energy issues she has worked on include resource adequacy, electric storage, plug in electric vehicle pilot programs, energy efficiency, demand response, the renewable portfolio standard, emissions standards and cap and trade, and community choice aggregation.

Her litigation experience includes the following forums: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Court of Appeal for the D.C. Circuit, California state court (defending against petitions for writ of review and mandamus in the appellate courts), federal district court (defending against complaints regarding federal/state jurisdictional issues), and at FERC and in federal courts (stemming from the Western Energy Crisis litigation).

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Mary’s comprehensive experience at the CPUC includes serving as Acting Chief Counsel for the Office of Ratepayer Advocates, Assistant General Counsel of the Energy Procurement Section, Assistant General Counsel of the Appellate Section, Principal Counsel of the Federal Section, and Legal Advisor to the President of the Commission.

Mary most recently served as Acting Chief Counsel for the Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA), the independent consumer advocate within the CPUC. In this role, Mary focused on energy sector legal and regulatory issues as well as overall departmental matters. She advised management on procedural and substantive legal issues, including litigation strategy, settlement of significant cases, and recent initiatives under SB 350, including regionalization of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) as well as the design of the proposed residual capacity auction and its possible impact on the state’s Resource Adequacy Program.

As an Assistant General Counsel in the CPUC’s Legal Division, Mary led and supervised attorneys in the CPUC’s Energy Procurement Section, representing California consumers in energy proceedings, including CPUC’s Long Term Planning Process and the Resource Adequacy Program, before the Commission, CAISO and FERC. The CPUC proceedings she worked on included energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, renewable energy, and community choice aggregation, as well as review of traditional power plant applications. She also managed a team of attorneys representing the CPUC in litigation arising out of the Western Energy Crisis of 2000-2001, including advising the CPUC on adopting dozens of settlements filed at FERC, overseeing the work of outside counsel, and providing status reports to legislators and the CPUC on the progress of the litigation.

Prior to leading the Energy Procurement Section, Mary served as Assistant General Counsel of the Appellate Section for six years, where she was responsible for overseeing the defense of CPUC’s decisions in state and federal courts. She also advised the CPUC on legal strategy and options regarding the defense of both petitions for writ of review and mandamus in state appellate courts and, in federal district court, defending against complaints challenging Commission decisions on preemption grounds under the Federal Power Act. Her initiatives in this role included reducing a significant backlog of pending applications for rehearing of Commission decisions, as well as establishing procedures for tracking cases to help ensure timely disposition of applications for rehearing and for dealing with expanded judicial review.

Mary also worked on electric restructuring matters at the CPUC and at FERC leading up to passage of AB 1890 in 1996. She was lead advisory counsel to the CPUC on the jurisdictional implications of restructuring of the electric industry. She has also advocated before the CPUC and FERC as regulatory counsel in energy, water and telecommunications cases.


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