Notice & Comment

Section to Host Discussion on Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing

On May 17, 2016, the Energy Committee of the American Bar Association Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice will hold a teleconference on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing, LLC decision, a watershed case concerning the scope of a state’s powers, consistent with the Federal Power Act, to subsidize new generation facilities. Panelists will include Scott Strauss of Spiegel & McDiarmid LLP, who argued the case on behalf of Maryland, and Erin Murphy of Bancroft PLLC, the primary drafter of the briefs for the parties challenging the program.

Ken Hurwitz, the co-chair of the Section’s Energy Committee said, “the Hughes v. Talen Energy teleconference will address, through two speakers who were instrumental to this case, the vital and fundamental issue of the line between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s jurisdiction over rates for wholesale sales of electricity and state prerogatives to regulate retail sales and wholesale purchases of electricity, a subject that has vexed the federal courts, and during the current term, the Supreme Court on two occasions. Energy practitioners would we well-advised to tune in!”

On April 19, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing , LLC, which by unanimous vote affirmed a Fourth Circuit decision invalidating a Maryland program that required the state’s utilities to guarantee a generation developer a fixed revenue stream for its electricity sales to the PJM Interconnection, the region’s wholesale market operator. Scott Strauss and Erin Murphy will discuss the decision and its implications for state regulation. They will also discuss more generally the relationship between federal and state authority under the Federal Power Act that emerges from Hughes together with the Supreme Court’s other recent decisions in EPSA v. FERC and OneOK, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc. The program is co-sponsored by the ABA Administrative Law Section Judicial Review and Supreme Court Series Committee, Section of Energy, Environment and Resources Markets and Finance Committee, and Section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law.

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