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Energy Regulatory

Energy Regulatory
Energy Regulatory
Expertise / Practices / Energy / Energy Regulatory

The energy industry is one of the most heavily regulated in Canada. Blakes offers a robust understanding of the fluid business environment, current regulatory schemes and dynamic change faced by businesses in the sector, enabling us to help clients maximize their opportunities in high-risk/high-reward settings. Blakes Energy Regulatory lawyers have the advocacy skills, technical knowledge and detailed understanding of regulatory regimes that allow us to provide practical and strategic legal and business advice to our clients pursuing physical projects or engaged in rate-making proceedings.

We have successfully represented our clients in major regulatory proceedings before federal and provincial agencies, including the National Energy Board, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board, the Alberta Utilities Commission, the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board, the Alberta Surface Rights Board, the British Columbia Environmental Appeal Board, the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission, the British Columbia Utilities Commission, the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office, the Ontario Energy Board, the Ontario Municipal Board, the Public Utilities Board of the Northwest Territories, the Manitoba Public Utilities Board, and other regulatory authorities. We have appeared before all levels of courts and have been involved in numerous mediations and arbitrations.

Physical Projects

Blakes has comprehensive expertise assisting our clients in obtaining the approvals necessary to construct and operate a wide variety of energy facilities. From power transmission lines to liquefied natural gas facilities to wind farms to oil and gas pipelines, Blakes has the in-depth experience that allows for a proactive, coordinated and highly successful approach to the approvals process. This experience includes consultation with aboriginal and other interested parties and the successful resolution of constitutional issues.

Our breadth of knowledge also allows us to help our clients to continue to operate in accordance with those approvals once granted and to quickly and effectively respond to issues if they should arise.

Our team also has far-reaching experience with the regulatory aspects of commercial transactions, such as asset and share sales. As part of these transactions, we review all regulatory approvals to ensure their validity and advise on how to best transfer those approvals as required by the transaction.

Economic Regulation

As competition and demand for efficient utility transportation increases, rate-making proceedings become more complex and the importance of skilled and knowledgeable counsel grows. Our team has extensive experience in all aspects of rate-making. Our success is directly attributable to our in-depth understanding of the economic principles that underpin the determination of tolls and tariffs. In addition to traditional rate-making, Blakes also has experience with performance-based rate-making and innovative responses to issues that are beginning to impact rates, such as changing markets and demand.

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Recent Experience

Physical Projects

  • EnCana Corporation on obtaining a British Columbia environmental assessment certificate and various other regulatory approvals for its Horn River Basin cabin gas plant.

  • PetroPlus International B.V. on obtaining approvals for its acquisition, development and realization of the Keltic LNG project in Nova Scotia.

  • Suncor Energy Inc. on an ethanol plant and provided representation with respect to regulatory proceedings.

  • Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. on obtaining regulatory approvals and securing land requirements for a 230 kV international merchant power line between Pincher Creek, Alberta, and Great Falls, Montana.

  • Laurus Energy Inc. in connection with development of innovative underground coal gasification and power generation development in Alberta.

  • ENMAX Corp. on its joint effort with Eaton Power Corp. to create a new company (Hydromax Energy Ltd.) to develop run-of-the-river hydroelectric generation facilities in British Columbia. This project included advising on regulatory issues regarding British Columbia transmission requirements and providing advice on matters relating to consultation and accommodation requirements relating to First Nations aboriginal and treaty rights in British Columbia.

  • The Municipality of Kincardine and its predecessors regarding the nuclear operations at the Bruce Power nuclear site, including as counsel at the Ontario Hydro/25-year demand-supply hearings regarding the need for new nuclear sites, counsel at Ontario Energy Board hearings regarding rates and matters relating to nuclear operations, and counsel on a wide range of issues associated with the district energy systems both on and off the Bruce Power nuclear site.

Economic Regulation

  • Counsel to TransCanada PipeLines Limited in numerous applications for approval of tolls and tariffs,  cost of capital and facilities applications.

  • Assisted with forming the provincial policy and regulation on transmission development in Alberta, including the development of transmission tariffs and terms and conditions of service, and advised on transmission congestion management and performance-based regulation.

  • Negotiated precedent-setting multi-party settlements and tariff-based commercial agreements,  including construction commitment agreements to interconnect new customers.

Awards & Recognition

Members of the Energy Regulatory group are recognized as leaders in the following publications:

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2013 – Since 2008, Blakes lawyers have been listed in the area of Energy Regulatory Law. Four of our lawyers are listed in the current edition.
  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2012 – Two Blakes lawyers are recognized as leading experts in the area of Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory). Sources describe one lawyer as "an outstanding strategist" and the other as "exceptional in his strategic and tactical approach to regulatory matters."
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