Justia Utilities Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Utah Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the district court dismissing this case claiming that the Traverse Ridge Special Service District needed either to stop charging members The Cove at Little Valley Homeowners Association for services it had never provided or to start plowing snow from private roads in front of homes in the Cove, holding that the district court erred in part.The Service District filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim because the Draper City Code did not require it to service private roads and because the Homeowners Association needed to bring its challenge in a manner dictated by the Utah Tax Code. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Cove's first cause of action but reversed its dismissal of the second reversed in part, holding that the district court erred when it concluded that the assessment its members paid to the Service District was a tax as a matter of law. View "Cove at Little Valley Homeowners Ass'n v. Traverse Ridge Special Service District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court concluding that compliance with Utah Code 10-2-421 was the only precondition to three cities' taking over service to electric customers in annexed areas of the South Utah Valley Electric Service District (District), holding that the plain text of section 10-2-421 supported the district court's interpretation.Payson City, Spanish Fork City, and Salem City (collectively, Cities) sought to provide electricity to customers in areas that they annexed within the District. The dispute between the Cities and the District was over which statutory provisions governed the requirements the Cities must satisfy in order to take over service to electric customers in annexed portions of the District. The district court ruled in favor of the Cities. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the plain language of Utah Code sections 10-2-421 and 10-8-21 sets forth that the Cities may provide electric service to customers inside the district as long as they pay the required reimbursements. View "South Utah Valley Electric v. Payson City" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Public Service Commission denying PacifiCorp's application for approval of an agreement between PacifiCorp and Monticello Wind Farm, LLC (MWF) for the purchase of wind energy, holding that the Commission was not obligated to approve the agreement under the circumstances of this case.Under Utah and federal law, PacifiCorp and MWF could set the terms for their agreement in one of two ways by either fixing pricing based on PacifiCorp's avoided costs, which would make the contract one negotiated within the Commission's framework, or negotiating their own pricing terms and contractually limiting the scope of the Commission's review. The Commission reviewed the pricing to ensure consistency with PacifiCorp's avoided costs, but the pricing was based on a methodology the Commission had discontinued. The Commission concluded the pricing could not be deemed consistent with PacifiCorp's avoided costs and denied the application. On appeal, MWF asserted that the parties opted out of the Commission's framework, and therefore, the Commission was obligated to approve the agreement. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that this was an agreement the Commission could reject if it obligated PacifiCorp to purchase energy at a price higher than its avoided costs. View "Monticello Wind Farm, LLC v. Public Service Commission of Utah" on Justia Law

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Rocky Mountain Power is required by governing regulations to provide “indicative pricing” to a producer seeking to pursue a power purchase agreement. In 2012, Ellis-Hall Consultants, which is involved in the development of wind power projects and sought to sell power to PacifiCorp through its Rocky Mountain Power division, received an indicative pricing proposal. Rocky Mountain Power later rescinded that proposal and refused to proceed with negotiations on a power purchase agreement under its earlier indicative pricing because the Utah Public Service Commission had since adopted new pricing methodology. The Commission concluded that Ellis-Hall was not entitled to continue to rely on the methodology used in Rocky Mountain Power’s indicative pricing proposal. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Ellis-Hall was entitled to proceed in reliance on the methodology set forth in the indicative pricing proposal it received from Rocky Mountain Power. View "Ellis-Hall v. Pub. Serv. Comm’n" on Justia Law