Ropes & Gray Amicus Cited in U.S. Supreme Court Decision in FERC v. EPSA

In The News
January 26, 2016

A Ropes & Gray-authored amicus brief filed on behalf of leading electrical Grid Engineers and Experts was cited in a key portion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Jan. 25 decision in FERC v. EPSA, which upheld a significant Federal energy regulation. 

At issue in FERC v. EPSA was whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) could promote demand response, a set of tools that energy market participants can use to limit demand for electricity at certain times. The Supreme Court’s decision reverses an earlier ruling from the D.C. Circuit and allows wholesale energy market operators to pay entities at certain times for cutting electricity demand, an option that has important benefits for electrical grid reliability, affordability, and the environment. The case involved key issues of administrative and constitutional law relating to FERC’s ability to regulate national energy markets.

Ropes & Gray’s brief, filed on behalf of Grid Engineers and Experts, provided the Supreme Court with critical and detailed information about the mechanics of the electrical grid and of wholesale energy markets. It explained how the electrical grid handles demand during peak usage periods, how demand response works in practice, and how demand response affects energy markets. The U.S. Supreme Court cited the Ropes & Gray brief in a key paragraph of its decision (see opinion p. 16) in explaining why demand response fell squarely within FERC’s legal authority.

Ropes & Gray’s team was led by appellate & Supreme Court partner Douglas Hallward-Driemeier.