Stikeman Elliott
Electricity & Power Generation

Lawyers in several of our offices have extensive experience in matters relating to power transmission, electricity generation and energy regulation, as well as in the drafting and negotiation of energy-related commercial and derivatives contracts. We offer participants in the electrical sector:

  • In-depth understanding of legislation and regulation at the federal and provincial levels, and their implications across a variety of sectors;

  • Wide experience in the commercial side of the industry, particularly in negotiating with public sector electrical utilities;

  • The ability to negotiate successful amalgamations, mergers, alliances and partnerships on behalf of entities in the electrical sector; and

  • Lawyers who are dedicated to understanding both the business and the public-policy issues clients in the sector face.

Commercial Transactions

As one of Canada's premier law firms for mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and infrastructure, Stikeman Elliott has a proven track record in the commercial sphere, whether acting for private-sector clients, public-sector entities, or for the public-private partnerships that are an increasingly important element in providing services to the public. In carrying out commercial transactions in the electrical and other energy sectors, we have developed a thorough understanding of the need to address the concerns of a wide variety of stakeholders.

We advise on a wide range of issues as energy markets are restructured and convergence becomes prominent. Our advice covers such areas as acquisitions and dispositions of infrastructure and/or companies, raising capital, development of power generation and energy trading.

Power Generation and IPPs

In Canada and internationally, Stikeman Elliott has a proven record as counsel to independent power producers. The firm has extensive knowledge of deregulation and market design issues, derived from its close involvement in electricity market reforms in Canada and Eastern Europe, as well as the legal issues associated with electricity projects, including limitations on technology, business risks, permitting and local community acceptance. Our work on independent power generation projects includes:

  • Obtaining environmental permits at the local, provincial and federal levels, land use approvals, approvals for electrical transmission and, in some cases, gas transmission lines, and other regulatory approvals, as required;

  • Representing clients at environmental hearings and/or public meetings; and

  • Negotiating and drafting all major contracts, including equipment, procurement and construction contracts, purchase agreements, supply agreements, land purchases, leases, servicing and municipal right-of-way easements and financing documents.

In addition to work for developers and proponents on these and a wide variety of other power plant development projects across Canada, Stikeman Elliott has also acted as lender's counsel in numerous transactions, drafting and negotiating loan and security documentation, co-ordinating construction advances and term loan conversions, performing due diligence review, performing risk analyses relating to environmental matters, and structuring various business entities.

Power Procurement

We have gained an extensive familiarity with the power procurement process having acted as counsel to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) in connection with several procurement processes, and to potential proponents, developers and independent power producers in connection with power procurement RFPs and relationships. Specifically, Stikeman Elliott has acted as counsel to the OPA in connection with their procurement process for 500-MW of renewable energy and partners Jim Harbell and Glenn Zacher have been counsel to the Ontario Power Authority in the OEB review of the Integrated Power Supply Plan (IPSP) and the associated Procurement Process.

We have also acted for a variety of proponents in negotiating ACESA and other agreements with the OPA. We have provided advice to a number of other market participants including developers and financial entities about the Renewable Energy Supply and Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program in various OPA contract processes. Our team is fully conversant with the structure of these contracts, their financial implications, allocations of risk, hedging considerations and other associated legal and business issues.

Power Regulation & Transmission

Stikeman Elliott has a unique understanding of the legal and practical issues affecting power transmission and generation companies operating in Canada, derived from experience with many of the key regulatory entities in the marketplace. Included in our formative experience, the firm acted as counsel to Ontario's Market Design Committee, which was responsible for establishing the framework for the province's electricity deregulation process. This important mandate, awarded after a competitive bidding process, included advising on the drafting of the Electricity Act, 1998 and the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998-the key legislation in the deregulation process. The firm also acted as lead counsel on all market mitigation matters, including negotiations with Ontario Power Generation Inc.

Since the inception of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in 1999, Stikeman Elliott has acted and continues to act as its Ontario regulatory counsel on its annual rate applications and also on interventions in a variety of transmission rate and leave-to-construct proceedings. We have acted for a number of clients, including IESO, the Independent Power Producers Society of Ontario (IPPSO) and Ontario's Independent Market Operator (IMO) in hearings and applications before the Ontario Energy Board and National Energy Board and in connection with regulatory amendments. We also act on related Court proceedings, including appeals to OEB decisions.

In Alberta, we have acted for both investor and municipally owned electric utilities in hearings and applications before the AUC with respect to, and in all aspects of, the electricity industry, including distribution, transmission, generation and retail. Stikeman Elliott has also been involved in the deregulation and restructuring of Alberta's electric energy industry. We have acted for ENMAX Power Corporation, one of the largest urban electric utilities in the province, and have been involved in all manner of regulatory activities, including cost of capital, rate and facility applications, as well as rulemaking proceedings and market surveillance investigations. Members of the firm also have experience in the Alberta electricity retail and generation market, and have advised participants, including retailers, regulated rate providers, project proponents, investors and marketers on a diverse range of matters, including development of wind generation projects, merchant transmission, imports and exports, inter-jurisdictional "seams" issues and climate change and other environmental issues.  Lawyers in the Calgary office were involved in the development of the province's statutory power purchase arrangements, and continue to act for parties to power purchase arrangement arbitrations.

Nuclear Power

The group also has extensive experience in the nuclear power sector, with respect to transmission, distribution, commercial contracts and transactions, as well as regulatory and public-policy matters. Stikeman Elliott was counsel to ALSTOM Canada Inc. in the sale of its worldwide Transmission and Distribution business to the Areva Group. We also acted for the Atomic Energy of Canada in the commercialization of its Whiteshell facility, negotiating all aspects of the commercialization, including the relationship between AECL and the federal government and their respective responsibilities in the commercialization. These mandates, among others, give our firm a uniquely broad experience with many of the legal and strategic business issues facing nuclear power proponents in Canada and internationally.

Derivative Expertise

Stikeman Elliott is the country's leading firm in the area of derivatives, including natural gas and electricity derivative products. Our Derivative Products Group is extensively involved in both the private and public derivatives markets. The group has advised on a wide range of derivative products, including swap and other agreements in the deregulated energy sector.

We are counsel to numerous leading financial institutions and dealers in Canada and elsewhere, as well as major corporate and mutual fund users, provincial governments and Crown corporations, and are Canadian counsel to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. We were principal authors of the Canadian legal opinions for the 1987 and 1992 ISDA master swap agreements. We are the only firm to have been rated "most frequently recommended" (the highest rating) for derivative products in every edition of the Canadian legal directory Lexpert.

Leading Regulatory Text

Toronto partner Glenn Zacher is co-author of Energy Regulation in Ontario, the leading text on regulatory practice in the energy sector. Former Toronto Energy Group partner David Brown (now a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal) was an originating author of this text.

Recognition for Our Work

The firm has been recognized as a Canadian leader in the Energy sector. International legal directories such as Chambers Global's Guide to The World's Leading Lawyers for Business have endorsed Stikeman Elliott's Energy practice, while the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory notes the firm is "consistently recommended" in the industry. Individual accolades for lawyers in the group have come from these directories, as well as The Best Lawyers In Canada and Lexpert/American Lawyer Media's Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada.

Specialty Areas
Related Practices
Key Contacts

Erik Richer La Flèche
Maxime Turcotte

Eric H. Bremermann
Jim Harbell
Jason Kroft
Simon A. Romano
Melissa Schyven
Glenn Zacher

Susan M. Hutton

Frederick Erickson
Keith F. Miller 

Jonathan Drance
Rachel V. Hutton
Scott Perrin

New York:
Kenneth G. Ottenbreit

Brian G. Hansen

Dean P. Koumanakos
Related Publications