Energy Law


Public Utility Proceedings

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is becoming the focus of significant regulatory expansion in a number of areas in particular, those involving electricity supply and production and natural gas development. Under the new Marcellus Shale legislation, the PUC is now empowered to hear challenges to local ordinances that attempt to regulate oil and gas development activities. We have represented public water supply systems in connection with permitting and compliance matters before the PUC and will represent property owners involved in disputes or other matters associated with electricity and natural gas before the Public Utility Commission. Steve Saunders has written and spoken extensively at various legal conferences and at public forums organized by the Penn State Extension Service on recent attempts by the natural gas midstream sector to obtain public utility status for gathering pipeline systems which have traditionally not been subject to PUC jurisdiction. Knowledge of public utility law is critical for any landowner or interested party who may wish to intervene in or take a position on any application for public utility status by a commercial or industrial concern.

Experience with Existing and Emerging Energy Projects

Wind energy has been one of the most recent industries to develop a strong presence in our region. Saunders Law has assisted clients in reviewing and negotiating wind energy leases – predominantly in the Northeastern Pennsylvania counties where a number of energy companies have begun to acquire utility easements and construct extensive wind farm facilities.

In addition, our region has been a growing part of the interstate transmission of natural gas and its mature and growing infrastructure system. These assets have provided a windfall to the burgeoning natural gas development industry throughout Pennsylvania. Prior to the natural gas boom which commenced in 2007 we worked with one of the largest interstate pipeline companies in the United States on a compressor station construction and pipeline upgrade project to boost its ability to transport natural gas through Pennsylvania and into New York and New England. This experience has proven to be invaluable in assisting clients in our related practice areas.

Poised to Assist Traditional and Alternative Energy Clients

At Saunders Law we recognize the growing significance of the energy sector in the regional economy of Pennsylvania. We understand that energy industry clients need legal counsel who understands their business, the regulatory and financing challenges they face, and how to help them reach their objectives. As the demand for sources of alternative energy and the pressures for conservation of existing supplies increase, so too does the need for a law firm that can serve the start-up and venture capital-backed business through the various stages of growth.

New energy laws and policies are being passed by federal and state legislatures to encourage the development of alternative energy projects including biofuels, geothermal, solar, wind and clean coal. Such projects are already being promoted in various regions of Pennsylvania. With the increasing calls for energy efficiency and energy independence, there is clearly a need for legal counsel who can provide synergy and solutions for clients in this dynamic and evolving area of law.