LRPA Attorneys have extensive representation experience in all facets of law relating to litigating utility issues. The firm is well versed in proceedings before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (“PRC”). Current and past work includes representation on rate schedules and proposed increases on behalf of private water utilities and others such as Texas – New Mexico Power Company. The Firm undertakes utility rate analyses, prepares written testimony in rate cases, and represents Clients in rule-making and tariff filing proceedings, certificates of convenience and necessity and utility litigation. Our broad experience extends across the range of utility service providers, including member-owned electric utility companies, privately owned energy providers, public utility companies and municipal districts.
LRPA has a unique blend of private-sector and public-sector experience in utility law. The Firm’s experience includes:
- Utility & Regulatory Experience Representing Clients before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in a variety of matters, including preparation and prosecution of rate filings, defending the Client against rate protests, and prosecuting rate violations.
- Administrative Agency Experience Representing Clients in administrative proceedings before other NM regulatory agencies as requested by the client.
- Appellate Experience Representing Clients in appeals to the courts of New Mexico from decisions of the PRC and other regulatory agencies, as requested by the client.
- Policy Making Experience Preparing resolutions, policy statements, and other documents at the request of and for consideration by the Client.
- Litigation [INSERT]
- Public Sector Clients LRPA represents public sector clients across a wide spectrum of issues. Recent work by LRPA addressing bond financing, rate structures, accounting issues, and viability of service in rate filing before the PRC presented multiple issues of first impression, which were resolved in two separate PRC proceedings. Critical to the inquiry was the question of the breadth and scope of service by a political subdivision to a large portion of Santa Fe County and the adequacy of financial resource base to provide service. The case presented in all respects a microcosm of the issues facing political subdivisions throughout the state. In continuation of this matter, LRPA also negotiated with the County of Santa Fe to determine the role of that political subdivision and its water utility service as it relates to comparable service providers. So significant was the outcome of LRPA’s work discussed above that it resulted in a legislative change to NMSA 1978, § 73-21-55 (2009), regarding PRC regulation of such entities. LRPA participated in the legislative processes bringing about these changes.
- LRPA also represents Gas Associations organized under NMSA 1978, §§ 3-28-1 through -22 (as amended through 1993). Familiar issues related to Gas Associations routinely involve contracts and grants for acquisition of resources and rules of distribution and working closely with other governmental bodies such as county governments in making decisions regarding resource distribution.
- Private Sector Clients On behalf of its private-sector clients, LRPA has extensive experience dealing with public utilities regulated by the PRC. It has represented entities seeking bulk services from regulated utilities. For example, LRPA negotiated line extension agreements on behalf of a developer in the Las Cruces area wanting to accept service from local utility company. This process required an analysis of options—utility service from a regulated utility, self service, or possibly political subdivision service.
- LRPA has also represented major corporations making choices among local utility services. LRPA has advised a large industrial sewer customer on a myriad of utility-related issues, represented that client before the PRC in several proceedings. LRPA negotiated several water and sewer agreements with the City of Albuquerque, including a private-public partnership for acquisition of a portion of the City of Albuquerque’s sewage treatment plant. In all cases where our client made choices for acquisition of resources from utilities, our client engaged in a very complex iterative process of selection. LRPA is intimately familiar with that effective process of decision making. LRPA has advised clients on questions relating to the evaluation of and potential acquisition of a regulated public water utility. As discussed above, LRPA also provided representation in proceedings seeking approval to continue fuel and purchased power cost adjustment clause to provide a Rule 550 variance and authorize payment of a refund. As part of the Firm’s legal services, LRPA assists clients with written testimony and legal drafts in support relating to PRC filings.
- LRPA has experience and assisted in filing PRC Compliance filings. LRPA worked with PRC staff in managing rate strategy and providing power service capacity in accordance with the New Mexico Administrative Code, including Form 440 filings to service power lines. LRPA assists clients in applications for approval to acquire stock, form additional public utility holding companies, amend diversification plans, issue debt securities, and obtain all other necessary approvals and authorizations necessary to effectuate and consummate transactions. Part of LRPA's assistance also included drafting and filing of advice notices and applications for certificates of convenience.
- LRPA’s Attorneys have also prepared and filed application for a certificate of convenience and necessity for proposed water utilities. LRPA provides representation in PRC proceeding’s when a political subdivision acquires a private water utility. In all of these circumstances, a thorough knowledge of rate structures, accounting methods, cost projections and resource bases is required. Likewise, presentation of arguments, briefs, written testimony and related matters are prepared by LRPA.
- Finally, a significant portion of LRPA’s current practice is devoted to representation of private and public entities with both direct and indirect water utility issues. The firm’s attorneys have significant representation experience in all facets of law relating utility matters including rate and service area issues, water quality, regulatory and permitting, and compliance. The firm is also well versed in wastewater issues.