Meeting Public Utilities’ Legal Needs
Our firm has extensive experience representing the public sector in all phases of their operations. Some of our utility clients have included Pinellas County, DeSoto County, Manatee County, Sarasota County, Charlotte County, the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority (now known as Tampa Bay Water), the Orlando Utility Commission, the City of Cocoa, and the City of Sarasota. We are also very familiar with the creation of separate governmental entities (such as special districts, regional authorities, interlocal entities, and government utility authorities), which are usually advantageous for obtaining financing and/or operating the system in a manner which minimizes fiscal impacts.
Since our law firm was founded in 1975, we have represented numerous public utilities. Representative examples of our experience include:
- Serving as general and special counsel to numerous interlocal utilities, and municipal and county utilities.
- Creating and re-organizing major regional utilities.
- Negotiating wholesale supply and distribution contracts between regional utilities and their member governments and other customers.
- Negotiating bulk gas contracts.
- Siting and environmental permitting of natural gas pipelines, water pipelines, wastewater systems, wellfields and electrical transmission lines, before regulatory agencies such as Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Florida Public Service Commission, as well as federal, state and local environmental agencies.
- Acquisition of private utility facilities, and other properties, by eminent domain.
- Real estate transfers and financing.
- Ratemaking and rule challenges.
- Creation, Reorganization and Acquisition
- Permitting and Compliance Enforcement
- Construction and Supply Contracts
- Public Procurement
- Legislation and Lobbying
- Land Use and Comprehensive Planning
- Real Property and Eminent Domain
- Sovereign Immunity
- Open Meeting and Public Records Laws
- Public Finance
- State, Federal and Administrative Litigation
- Arbitration, Mediation, and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Municipal Gas Authority of Florida — We represented this Authority in its reorganization and dissolution. We also represented the Authority in the wind-down of its business activities.
Orlando Utilities Commission — We serve as special counsel on planning and environmental permitting matters.
Members of the Peace River/Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority — We represented members of the Authority in the acquisition of a private gas, water and sewer utility, as well as the subsequent reorganization of the Authority.
Pinellas County — Our firm represented Pinellas County concerning the reorganization of Tampa Bay Water. We were involved in all phases of this monumental reorganization effort, and participated in evaluating different governance options, passing new legislation, preparing interlocal agreements, preparing a new master water supply contract, and negotiating and drafting the agreements to transfer the members’ facilities. We also assisted in evaluating rates, financing options, and valuation of the transferred facilities.