Utilities & Telecom

McLane Middleton has provided extensive representation to the public utilities, energy and telecommunications industries for over 80 years. Today, we represent a wide variety of clients in these industries, including: gas, telephone, and water companies; competitive energy suppliers; small power producers and other wholesale electric generators; wireless communications companies; utility holding companies; municipalities and municipal utilities; industrial and commercial customers and other rate-payers; and utility consumer groups. We represent clients in New England as well as before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and appellate courts.

Our utility attorneys are experienced in negotiating and preparing documentation for bond issuances, handling all matters relating to special contracts between customers and their utility company, issues arising from the transition to a competitive utility industry, wholesale power purchase arrangements and numerous other utility industry matters. Locally, McLane Middleton routinely represents clients in complex and simple cases before the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) involving rate changes, financings, special contract proceedings, franchise expansion cases and numerous other regulatory matters.

Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to handle situations that require an expansion of existing law when that is needed to achieve our clients’ goals. For example, we successfully petitioned the PUC to institute the first system development charge in New Hampshire to fund the capital costs of additional plants required for a utility client’s new customers, and we closed a large tax-exempt bond financing that included important policy issues that were the subject of major litigation during the financing proceedings. Other recent work includes representation of a municipality in obtaining a substantial reduction in electric rates as part of electric industry restructuring efforts, and the representation of major utility companies in merger proceedings and handling the broadest possible scope of state utility regulatory proceedings. We also have extensive experience in the New Hampshire Legislature, with the Governor’s office and with New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation. In recent years, we have been involved in legislation concerning municipalization of electric service; electric and gas industry restructuring; taxation of utilities; nuclear decommissioning; special contracts; the definition of a public utility; and the siting of telecommunications towers.

Wireless Communications

Our attorneys provide extensive representation to wireless communications companies regarding all aspects of wireless communications facilities sitings, construction, and operation, including the development of hundreds of facilities in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. Our work for our wireless communications clients frequently involves complex contract negotiations with landowners, municipalities, wireless carriers and wireless network infrastructure developers, and regularly brings us before all state and local boards and commissions with jurisdiction over land use development approvals.

Gas & Electric

In recent years, we have been extensively involved in the restructuring of both the gas and electric industries and in numerous aspects of utility municipalization, including drafting large portions of New Hampshire’s recent changes to the laws governing utility municipalization. We have handled the siting of major energy facilities in New Hampshire from inception to completion.

Public Utility Issues

The firm also consults with non-utility clients regarding public utility issues. Recent examples are assistance provided to numerous major New Hampshire manufacturing companies who have sought substantially discounted electric rates from their local utility; extensive work with a New Hampshire municipality that sought to require the local electric utility to substantially reduce its rates by writing off large amounts of uneconomic assets; and consulting with a utility shareholder regarding possible ways to restructure the utility. The firm also represents numerous clients in other regulated and non-regulated activities that have at times been considered public utilities, such as cable television companies, electric generation companies, common and contract carriers, trash handlers and similar businesses.

Energy Facility Siting

McLane Middleton is a leading New England law firm in matters pertaining to the siting of energy facilities and infrastructure, including assisting clients in proceedings before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (NHSEC), as well as local permitting and land use approvals for smaller projects.  Click here to read more.

Our Approach to Working with the Industry

Our representation of public utilities, energy and telecommunications companies is not limited to regulatory work. Proper representation of clients in the utility industry requires strong corporate and litigation services. McLane Middleton’s energy, utilities and telecommunications attorneys work closely with clients on the wide range of regulatory issues, corporate, securities, real estate, land use and development, environmental, taxation and litigation issues affecting businesses in these industries. The close relationship and coordination between these practice areas and our utility attorneys enable our clients to be served efficiently and economically.

Our Litigation Department is one of the largest in the state and is frequently involved in representing our utility industry clients in litigated matters in both state and federal courts. McLane Middleton also has extensive experience in matters of administrative law and has handled cases of all levels of complexity before most state administrative boards and agencies, (including the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Committee).

Members of our firm actively participate in the New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners, and a member of our team currently serves as Chair of the Telecommunications, Energy and Utility Section of the New Hampshire Bar Association.

Contact Barry Needleman, chair of the firm's Utilities & Telecom Practice Group.