J. Daniel Skees represents electric utilities before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other agencies on rate, regulatory, and transaction matters. He handles rate and tariff proceedings, electric utility and holding company transactions, utility financing, electric markets and trading issues, reliability standards development and compliance, including cybersecurity requirements, administrative litigation, and transmission development. In handling appeals of FERC decisions, Dan has successfully represented clients before both the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Companies investing in or developing electric generation, including various renewable and carbon-neutral resources, as well as transmission assets, are a major focus of Dan’s practice. This includes advising them regarding the regulatory concerns triggered by those investments, including the initial transaction, interconnection, and ongoing compliance issues related to market-based rate tariffs, EWG and QF certifications, interlocking officer and director compliance, and public utility holding company compliance. As part of this practice, Dan works with utility investors, including banks, insurance companies, investment funds, private equity firms, and a wide variety of institutional investors to structure their transactions and equity ownership to minimize regulatory compliance concerns and obligations. This includes a significant focus on renewable resources, energy storage resources, and distributed generation used to meet decarbonization and electrification goals.
Where prior FERC authorization is necessary for an acquisition or merger, Dan advises applicants on seeking a receiving such authorizations under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act. Recent examples include FERC authorizations granted in PPL Corporation, 176 FERC ¶ 61,175 (2021) (sale of an incumbent transmission and distribution utility); The AES Corporation, 177 FERC ¶ 62,026 (2021) (purchase of utility-scale wind projects in NYISO); CPV Fairview, LLC, 177 FERC ¶ 62,062 (2021) (disposition of equity interests resulting from governance and equity restructuring and merger); Hog Creek Wind Project, LLC, 173 FERC ¶ 62,111 (2020) (portfolio of large renewable energy projects in multiple markets); Griffith Energy LLC, 171 FERC ¶ 62,023 (2020) (large natural gas generator); Public Service Co. of Colorado, 169 FERC ¶ 61,175 (2019) (acquisition of an existing generating facility by an incumbent vertically-integrated utility) and NGV Emerald Acquisition Co., LLC, 167 FERC ¶ 62,125 (2019) (acquisition of a fleet of existing renewable merchant generation projects).
The mandatory electric reliability standards under Section 215 of the Federal Power Act are another primary focus area. Dan advises clients regarding compliance with reliability standards, and helps them participate in the development of new standards. Dan’s counsel in the reliability area includes the unique compliance concerns presented by the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) reliability standards. Working with business and technical leads within companies, he assists electric utilities in designing their CIP compliance programs and defending those efforts when necessary. The process includes proceedings on reliability compliance before FERC, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and regional entities charged with enforcing compliance. As part of these efforts, Dan advises utilities on the development of controls for the protection of their supply chain against cyber risks, including mitigating the risks of problematic suppliers of equipment, components, and subcomponents through contracts and security controls. Dan is routinely quoted in leading industry news publications on utility cybersecurity issues, including Utility Dive, S&P Global Platts, Power Magazine, E&E News, Law360, and Inside Cybersecurity.
As part of his federal regulatory practice, Dan also regularly advises and counsels foreign diplomatic missions and officers on certain aspects of US law, including compliance with directives from the Office of Foreign Missions of the US Department of State.
Dan’s pro bono practice includes representing veterans seeking a wide variety of veterans’ benefits, including requests for Combat-Related Special Compensation, discharge status upgrades, and corrections to military records.