Public Utilities

Led by Jennifer A. Cranston, our public utility practice includes advising for-profit and not-for-profit electric, gas, water, and telecommunications utilities and utility-related organizations regarding various state regulatory requirements. We regularly appear before the Arizona Corporation Commission in ratemaking, rulemaking, acquisition, financing, and other regulatory proceedings.

In collaboration with other Gallagher & Kennedy practice groups, we provide a broad range of services to utilities or other entities in relation to public utility matters, including:

  • General litigation
  • Arbitration
  • Appeals
  • Tax
  • Environmental
  • Real estate transactions
  • Eminent domain
  • Corporate
  • Legislative and local lobbying


The public utility ratemaking process is complex and requires a detailed analysis of a utility’s finances, property valuation, and future operational needs and challenges. The Arizona Corporation Commission is a constitutionally created entity charged with, among other duties, the task of setting rates for Arizona’s utilities. Obtaining rate relief, which can be a contentious and highly publicized procedure, is a critical element of a utility’s ability to conduct business in the state.

We have successfully represented several utilities in rate cases throughout the years and intervened in rate cases on behalf of affiliated organizations to assist in the rate-making process. Our representative experience includes:

  • Represented not-for-profit electric cooperatives in successive rate cases and obtained revised rates as well as approvals to modify the utilities’ rate structure and implement new adjustor mechanisms.
  • Intervened on behalf of utility investors to assist in rate case settlements.
  • Advised clients regarding ratemaking procedures and strategy, including timing issues and possible tariff revisions.


An important part of our public utilities practice is our focus on public utility policy and improving the regulatory environment for our clients. To this end, we formulate – and encourage regulators to adopt – more efficient ways to oversee utility operations and generally streamline the regulatory process. We also regularly monitor and participate in Arizona Corporation Commission generic dockets addressing potential rule revision, resource planning, and environmental compliance issues.

Our New Mexico team has appeared before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to advocate for oil and gas and other environmental and natural resources entities on utility issues.

Learn more about our environmental compliance practice.


Public utility mergers and acquisitions and divestitures are governed by complex statutes and rules. Our attorneys have significant experience helping clients understand and comply with these processes. An Arizona public utility’s ability to merge with or acquire other entities as well as divest itself of assets and subsidiary entities often involves complicated issues concerning regulation by the Corporation Commission.

Representative experience includes:

  • Processed application for consolidation of two electric cooperatives.
  • Obtained approvals for telecommunications companies to acquire or divest subsidiary entities and other corporate reorganizations.
  • Obtained waivers of Corporation Commission rules regarding acquisitions and divestitures of affiliated entities.

Learn more about our M&A practice.


We are well-versed with the nuanced legal requirements and procedures necessary to obtain approvals for public utility financing in a prompt and efficient manner. In most cases, a utility operating in Arizona must obtain Corporation Commission authorization to finance capital projects and other operational expenses. Our representative experience includes:

  • Obtained approvals for construction work plans and associated financing.
  • Processed applications for debt refinancing and replacement credit facilities.
  • Obtained jurisdictional waiver of financing approvals for utilities operating in multiple states.