Experience

Accounting Orders

Represented Summit Natural Gas in seeking Maine PUC approval of an accounting order to enable Summit to capitalize certain costs associated with its conversion rebate program for commercial customers.

Arbitration of Gas Pipeline Dispute

Represented Woodland Pulp in securing a favorable arbitration award after a lengthy and contentious arbitration proceeding resolving a dispute between Woodland Pulp and a tenant over shared use and "balancing" of a private natural gas pipeline.

Energy: Gas Pipeline Expansion

Represented an interstate pipeline company before the Maine PUC in advancing an interstate pipeline expansion project designed to provide a firm, competitively priced source of fuel for natural gas-fired generators providing electricity to consumers in Maine and elsewhere in New England. The Maine PUC is charged with implementation of the Energy Cost Reduction Act, a 2013 law (the firm was actively involved in drafting and securing passage of the Act) that authorizes the state to direct execution of a contract for new natural gas pipeline capacity. A so-called energy cost reduction contract, or ECRC, provides financing for up to $75 million per year upon a finding that the contract's benefits will outweigh its costs and that the contract is commercially reasonable and in the public interest. After more than two years of extensive litigation, the Maine PUC selected our client's project as the best option for an ECRC and directed Maine's electric transmission and distribution utilities to purchase pipeline capacity on the proposed pipeline expansion. The project is conditioned on support from other New England states, as it will enable the development of additional pipeline capacity needed to increase the availability and supply of natural gas throughout New England.

HVAC Conversion

Obtained Maine PUC approval for an LDC to create an affiliate to provide HVAC conversion services to prospective customers.

Interstate Pipeline

Secured state and federal environmental approvals for Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, LLC, to construct more than 200 miles of interstate natural gas pipeline facilities connecting New Brunswick to Massachusetts, as well as a subsequent expansion of those facilities.

Maine's First Private Pipeline

Secured regulatory approval for the state's first private natural gas pipeline, a direct connection from the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline serving Woodland Pulp LLC; and continues to represent Woodland Pulp in connection with shared use of the pipeline with another industrial consumer.

Natural Gas Consumers

Provide legal counsel to Bowdoin College and other larger consumers of gas regarding their purchase and use of gas. Represented several large consumers of Maine Natural Gas in successfully objecting to a proposed rate increase by MNG.

Pipeline Refund

Represented a natural gas marketer in contested Public Utilities Commission proceedings in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts and succeeded in obtaining more than $700,000 for the client from a FERC-ordered refund by an interstate pipeline.

Rate Plan

Represented Summit Natural Gas in securing Maine PUC approval of Summit's alternative rate plan (ARP). The ten-year rate plan provides for annual rate adjustments during the course of the ARP, return-on-equity sharing provisions, authority to enter into special rate agreements without prior commission approval, recovery of natural gas conversion rebate costs, and a service line installation policy and metrics. The ARP was part of a larger proceeding in which Summit obtained the commission's unanimous approval to begin providing service in Maine despite the opposition of an existing Maine gas utility.

Regulatory Approval for New LDC

Secured regulatory approval for Summit Natural Gas, a natural gas local distribution company, to become Maine's fourth natural gas local distribution company (LDC). Represented Summit in a wide range of matters before the Maine PUC.

Safety Violations

Represented an LDC before the Maine PUC in response to allegations of gas safety violations in four separate cases. The violations pertain to operator qualifications, use of trenchless technology, and fusions of natural gas pipe.

Energy: Assist Natural Gas Pipeline Company in Maine PUC Proceeding to Select a Provider of Natural Gas Capacity into New England

Since early 2014, our firm has successfully represented a large interstate pipeline company before the Maine PUC in advancing two significant new interstate pipeline expansion projects. The larger of the two projects was designed to provide a firm and reasonably priced source of fuel for natural gas-fired generators providing electricity to consumers in Maine and New England. The Maine PUC is charged with implementation of the Energy Cost Reduction Act, a 2013 law (in which the firm was actively involved) that authorizes the State to direct execution of a contract for new natural gas pipeline capacity. The so-called energy cost reduction contract, or ECRC, will provide financing for up to $75 million per year upon a finding that the contract’s benefits will outweigh its costs and that the contract is commercially reasonable and in the public interest.

After more than two years of extensive litigation, the Maine PUC selected our client’s project in July 2016 as the best option for an ECRC, and directed Maine’s transmission and distribution utilities to negotiate and execute of a contract for capacity on this project. The ECRC, which will be conditioned on regional participation on the project, and will enable the development of additional pipeline capacity needed to increase the availability and supply of natural gas into New England.

Verrill has guided the project through every stage of this extensive MPUC litigation, including researching, drafting, discovery, witness examination, filing briefs, motions, and testimony, and developing a successful strategy.

Firm Highlights

News

The Boston Bar Association Adds Verrill Attorney David M. Friedman to Council

News

Verrill Attorney Elizabeth Connellan Smith Elected President of National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network

Matter

Advised Fortune 500 Company on Group Health and Welfare Benefit Plans

We were engaged by a Fortune 500 manufacturing company to provide legal and compliance services regarding its group health and welfare benefit plans. During the course of our representation, we have advised the company...

Event

Annual Update: Part 1 - 2022 Legal Year in Review (1st Session)

Blog

The How and When of Separations from Service Under Section 409A

Readers who regularly work with deferred compensation plans will know that Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code (“Section 409A”) prescribes six events or times at which deferred compensation may be distributed to participants...

Blog

Proposed Changes to Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave Regulations

The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has proposed changes to the regulations governing the state’s paid family and medical leave program. The proposed changes are intended to clarify the requirements related to...

Publication/Podcast

Amending Your Retirement Plans this Year for SECURE Act and CARES Act Changes

This post was updated on September 29, 2022. On August 3, 2022, the IRS extended the deadline for retirement plan sponsors to adopt amendments necessary to comply with the Setting Every Community Up for...

Matter

Elections and Constitutional Law: Successfully Challenged Certification of Initiative Petition

In a victory for consumers and the ride-hailing public, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently barred the Secretary of State from placing on the November ballot initiative petitions proposed by companies such as Uber...

Event

Annual Update: Part 1 - 2022 Legal Year in Review (2nd Session)

Publication/Podcast

BLM-Masked Employees of Whole Foods Lose Race Bias Appeal Regarding Dress Code

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