FERC Annual Charges Litigation

For many years, the firm has represented a large coalition of FERC licensees from across the U.S. (currently consisting of nearly 30 FERC-licensed projects located throughout the U.S.) regarding FERC’s assessment of “other federal agency” administrative annual charges. The coalition’s efforts, which consist of annual technical conferences at FERC, as well as targeted administrative litigation at FERC and appellate litigation before the D.C. Circuit, has resulted in over $100 million in refunds and/or cost savings to the hydropower industry.

The firm also successfully represented another large coalition of FERC hydroelectric licensees (consisting of nearly 30 FERC-licensed projects across six states) before FERC and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit related to FERC’s annual charges program. As part of this litigation, the firm sought, and obtained, an emergency ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that stayed the effectiveness of a 2009 FERC rulemaking that would have significantly increased annual charges for licensees’ use and occupancy of federal lands. Later in the proceeding, the court ruled in the licensees’ favor by vacating FERC’s 2009 rule, which resulted in over $20 million in refunds and/or cost savings to these hydroelectric licensees.

Finally, the firm recently represented a coalition of FERC licensees (consisting of nine FERC-licensed projects across four states) in a petition for declaratory order before FERC related to FERC’s long-standing practice of assessing federal land-use fees for non-federal lands subject to a federal power site reservation. In response to the coalition’s petition, FERC reversed over 30 years of its own precedent, determining that it was inequitable to assess annual fees for these lands that are no longer under federal ownership.