Public Power and Telecommunications
Meyers Nave provides advice to clients on all aspects of power/energy, telecommunications, cable, and wireless communications facilities law. We represent joint powers agencies, municipal electric utilities, rural electric cooperatives, irrigation districts, water districts and other utility providers. We have represented clients in negotiations with telecommunications companies, cable companies, wireless communications companies, and public and private utilities.
Meyers Nave offers in-depth knowledge and a team approach to public agencies and private clients on a comprehensive range of energy-related legal services.
Our expertise includes the following:
- Electric Power Generation
- Alternative, Renewable and Clean Energy Projects (including solar, biomethane, geothermal, hydro-power, wind and landfill gas)
- Environmental Representation and Compliance
- Green House Gas Emissions and Climate Change
- Power Purchase Agreements
- Construction, Licensing and Siting of Generation Facilities
- Transmission and Interconnection Agreements
- Natural Gas Distribution and Storage
- Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Community Choice Aggregation
We counsel clients on all aspects of cable franchise renewals, extensions, and transfers, including those conditions and exactions that can (and cannot) legally be obtained as part of the negotiating process. Cable franchises are long-term commitments and public agencies are keenly aware that their constituents expect active oversight of the cable franchisee. We work with clients to evaluate potential franchise violations, provide advice as to what remedies are potentially available, and advise as to what procedures must be followed as part of remedying any violations. We have also counseled clients with respect to franchise fee audits and collection of underpaid franchise fees.
We have extensive experience in advising local agencies of their regulatory authority under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, particularly regarding access to the public right-of-way by companies seeking to install high-speed fiber optic conduit and cables. We have assisted public agencies in negotiating encroachment agreements with nearly every major telecommunications company. We also counsel clients on methods to reduce the impact on the public right-of-way through encroachment permit conditions, moratoria, mitigation fees, use of joint utility trenches, and requiring the use of agency-owned fiber optic conduit.
Wireless Communications Facilities
The construction of all types and sizes of wireless communications antennas and towers to provide cellular telephone services raises significant concerns from the public regarding visual blight and potential health effects, especially when proposed facilities are located near residences or schools. We have drafted wireless communications facilities ordinances for clients that provide regulatory control over both the design and the location of facilities as well as address public health and safety considerations. We also advise public entity clients on their authority (or lack of authority) to approve, condition, or deny applications to construct these facilities.
Wireless communications providers often seek access to publicly owned property for their facilities. We have negotiated lease agreements on behalf of clients that provide an ongoing source of revenue while still maintaining maximum control of the property. The law in this area is a constantly changing mixture of federal and state statutes, administrative regulations, and often times conflicting court interpretations. Meyers Nave actively monitors developments in the law and regularly provides clients with updates on relevant changes.