Todd Mullins, managing partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office, was quoted by the energy news service S&P Global Platts on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s recent decision to end an investigation of Footprint Power LLC’s bidding practices at a power station in Salem, Massachusetts. The move came after the company persuaded FERC staff to urge the commission to drop the investigation.
The report noted that the case is significant because it is unusual for FERC staff to reverse course once an investigation is public. But in this case, Footprint presented evidence to counter allegations that it had not maintained sufficient fuel reserves to operate the power station. FERC staff then recommended that the commission drop the case and assess no penalty.
Mullins, a leader of McGuireWoods’ energy enforcement practice and former branch chief at FERC’s Division of Investigations, told Platts that FERC’s reversal was the result of a unique situation and may not set a precedent for other cases.
“We can expect FERC staff to point to this as an example of the meaningfulness of the agency process before respondents force court action to enforce any penalty,” he said. “Though we can also expect respondents to observe that, as here, ultimately the Commission tends to do what the staff recommends.”
The article was published on multiple S&P platforms, including SNL Power Daily, SNL Energy Finance Daily, SNL Electric Utility Report, SNL Generation Markets Week and SNL Power Policy Week.
Mullins and Raleigh associate Christopher McEachran (both Government Investigations & White Collar Litigation) anticipated the case’s outcome in a Nov. 13, 2018, column in Law360.