Energy, Public Power and Telecommunications
Meyers Nave advises public and private clients on all aspects of energy, public power, 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 advised on negotiations involving telecommunications companies, cable companies, wireless communications companies, and public and private utilities.
Energy and Public Power
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 experience includes the following:
- Community Choice Aggregation
- Electric Power Generation
- Oil & Gas Sector (project development, regulatory compliance, environmental, distribution, storage, marketing, refining, manufacturing)
- Alternative, Renewable and Clean Energy Projects (including solar, biomethane, geothermal, hydro-power, wind and landfill gas)
- California Public Utilities Commission (experience includes serving as counsel to a regulated electric utility in advising project development team on issues related to obtaining approvals from CPUC and other agencies for new electrical distribution facilities)
- 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
- Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
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 – particularly in light of the FCC’s New Rule on Small Cell Wireless Deployment.
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.
All cities and counties have utilities, yet most have not reviewed their franchise agreements with the utilities and some franchise agreements do not include the requirement that the utility provide a safe system. We help cities and counties review their franchise agreements, understand what role they have in regulating the utilities, and their involvement in promoting public awareness of what is in the ground within their city and county boundaries.