Natural Gas Pipelines and Supply

Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke provides a range of services to clients in the natural gas sector. As the nation’s gas pipeline and distribution infrastructure continues to evolve, DWGP attorneys are at the vanguard of natural gas proceedings that involve gas infrastructure development and transfer, and natural gas supply matters. Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke’s natural gas practice includes counseling clients on supply contracts and state and federal regulatory issues involving natural gas pipelines, including rate proceedings before the FERC and state utility commissions. DWGP represents utility ratepayer customers as well as wholesale customers. DWGP attorneys regularly appear before FERC on behalf of wholesale customers seeking to control cost increases of interstate pipeline companies from which they take service. The Firm has experience in a number of natural gas pipeline proceedings before FERC on behalf of various local distribution utilities as customers of interstate pipelines as well as state public utility commissions. Our attorneys also have many decades’ experience in assisting on matters involving gas infrastructure development plans, as well as efforts to coordinate gas and electric operations. DWGP attorneys are well-versed in policies among the states on accelerated gas pipeline replacement plans and other utility infrastructure plans, which often include coordinating undergrounding between electric and gas utilities.   DWGP’s natural gas practice encompasses regulatory compliance, enforcement, standards of conduct, utility rates, and transactional matters.

Examples of DWGP’s experience include the following:

  • advising clients regarding matters related to the interstate transportation of natural gas, including FERC’s regulation of pipeline rates and services;
  • advising clients regarding the use of interstate transportation capacity, including asset management arrangements;
  • negotiation of natural gas supply contracts, including derivatives and prepaid arrangements;
  • construction and acquisition of natural gas facilities;
  • representing various clients in FERC rulemaking and generic policy proceedings;
  • regulatory authorizations for new and expanded interstate natural gas pipelines;
  • advising intrastate natural gas pipelines providing interstate service under Section 311 of the Natural Gas Policy Act on compliance matters, including the adoption of Statements of Operating Conditions and reporting obligations;
  • representing clients in audits, self-reports of potential violations, and public and non-public investigations before FERC’s Office of Enforcement; and
  • conducting annual compliance training for natural gas market participants

Community Choice Aggregation

Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke represents locally-owned community choice aggregators that provide clean renewable energy to retail customers over incumbent utility transmission and distribution facilities. DWGP has been helping communities and municipalities purchase and develop power generation and distribution facilities since the Firm’s founding. DWGP attorneys have helped communities carve out franchises from incumbent utilities, aggregate load, and organize into local power districts and joint action agencies. Our attorneys have experience with community choice aggregation, including federal and ISO/RTO monitoring, and advice on federal jurisdictional issues. Our attorneys also advise clients on regulations relating to electric retail delivery and in negotiations with electricity suppliers. Our attorneys have extensive experience working with communities to form local energy agencies that can purchase electricity from multiple sources other than the incumbent utility. Our community choice clients leverage the Firm’s experience serving locally-owned power providers, including our experience with renewable energy credit agreements, transmission and interconnection arrangements, and power supply acquisition and project development.

DWGP's services to community choice aggregators include the following:

  • Monitoring federal and state regulatory agencies and ISO/RTOs;
  • Representation in federal and state regulatory proceedings;
  • Transmission and interconnection issues;
  • Project development, power purchase agreements and renewal energy credit agreements; and
  • Billing and other pass-through issues with incumbent utilities.

DWGP is a Partner Member of the California Community Choice Association.

Cyber Security and Customer Privacy

Due to our increased reliance on digital networks and cyberspace, vulnerabilities that threaten the cyber security of the electric grid and the data privacy of its customers have been exposed. Through the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the electric industry was the first to be subject to mandatory and enforceable cyber security standards. These Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Reliability Standards, as developed by the stakeholder-led development process of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), are potentially applicable to all users, owners and operators of the nation’s bulk power system. With each subsequent version of the CIP Reliability Standards, the scope of cyber assets subject to the protection of these mandatory and technically-demanding standards has increased, as well as the level of protection. Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke regularly advises clients with respect to the NERC CIP Reliability Standards. (See DWGP’s Electric Reliability practice page.)

Recently, there has been extensive media coverage providing detailed accounts of breaches of cyber security with varying consequences. Despite the currently enforceable CIP Reliability Standards, cyber security in the electric industry has become subject to a heightened level of scrutiny given the grave consequences at stake and the vulnerabilities exposed by a variety of cyber attacks from Aurora and Stuxnet to Shellshock and Heartbleed. Further, with the increased national focus on cyber attacks generally, there have been a multitude of executive actions and legislative initiatives intended to maintain national security, economic prosperity, and civil liberties by reducing threats to the nation’s critical assets, including the bulk electric system, via cyber attacks. These initiatives are intended to supplement or supersede the NERC CIP Reliability Standards. In addition, DWGP actively monitors proposed legislation and executive action with respect to cyber security. For example, in February 2013, the President issued the Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Executive Order. One year later, in February 2014, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued the much anticipated Cybersecurity Framework, a framework designed to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure. The Framework consists of standards, guidelines, and practices (not specific to the electric sector) designed to protect critical infrastructure by minimizing any cybersecurity-related risk. Another recent Executive Order – Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing – is an attempt to promote information sharing in order to allow entities to respond to cybersecurity risks and incidents in as close to real time as possible. The Firm closely follows these activities, advocates our clients’ positions, and advises our clients regarding best practices, trends, and potential regulation arising from these legislative and executive initiatives.

Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke helps implement solutions to protect electric utility and customer data assisting clients in developing solutions that allow them to be security-minded, not just security compliant. In particular, DWGP offers strategic counsel to interpret and implement privacy regulations and standards, such as those administered by NIST, the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). (See DWGP’s Communications practice page.) The Firm offers assistance creating customer data management and privacy systems, including policies for electric utilities accountable for protecting customer data generated by advanced metering infrastructure.

Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke is experienced in navigating cyber security and privacy requirements to ensure compliance and customer protection for smart grid technology deployment. In the case where a data system is breached, we offer assistance in notifying customers and mitigating the harm, should data loss occur. Moreover, DWGP is fully equipped to provide client advocacy for state and federal policy on data protection and privacy.

Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke's services in the area of Cyber Security and Customer Privacy include:

  • Compliance with NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards
  • Compliance with the DOE’s Data Privacy and the Smart Grid: A Voluntary Code of Conduct
  • Advocacy before NERC, FERC, NIST, NAESB, DOE, and FCC, among other agencies and entities, regarding the development of cyber security standards, policies, guidelines, and practices
  • Compliance with state and local consumer protection laws.
  • Compliance with the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act
  • Creation and maintenance of internal cyber security and privacy policies and programs
  • Mitigation of data systems breach
  • Litigation

Cooperative Law

Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke has represented distribution and generation and transmission electric cooperatives for decades, including with respect to the Rural Utilities Service, the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, state commissions, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. DWGP's experience allows it to develop creative solutions to real-world challenges cooperative face.