Significant steps are now underway across the United States, including federal and state funding initiatives, towards the modernization of the electric power transmission and distribution system. Many of these changes involve creation of a more intelligent and interactive electricity delivery infrastructure through “smart grid,” “distribution system automation” and “advanced meter infrastructure" and programs.
The term “smart grid” means different things to various entities. It has become a catch-all for a variety of metering and electricity grid modernization initiatives, all of which exist in an environment rich in legal and regulatory issues and challenges. Balch & Bingham has advised and represented electric distribution companies and public utilities since the earliest days of the electric power industry. This substantial history in working with and for public utilities and other electricity distribution companies, as well as other network infrastructure providers, has allowed the firm to develop a strong and deep team of lawyers that possess a substantial understanding of the existing and evolving legal landscape surrounding “smart grid” technology and related initiatives.
Balch’s Smart Grid Practice is focused on providing power industry stakeholders and technology leaders with a suite of cross-specialist legal services reaching all the different legal related issues in this important and fast-developing segment of our nation’s power delivery infrastructure. The areas of legal specialization in which Balch's Smart Grid Practice has capabilities to serve clients, includes, but is not limited to:
- State and federal governmental affairs and policy formation
- Equipment and software contracting, including the creation and protection of intellectual property rights
- Retail policy and ratemaking issues, such as real time pricing, incentive rate treatments, cost allocation, rate design and retail service rules
- Joint use and pole attachments
- FCC spectrum and licensing and policy
- Cybersecurity policy formation
- Litigation and risk mitigation
- Government contracting and grant administration
- Data security and customer privacy
- Reliability and standards setting processes, including NIST and NERC Reliability regulations
- FERC and DOE funding grants, policies and regulations