Thomas J. Sniscak

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Partner

Tom, a former rates and fixed utility service attorney at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PA PUC), has been a partner with the firm since 1989 and spent much of his career representing a wide array of clients in virtually every utility industry type of rate, certificate of public convenience, service, financing, and merger and acquisition proceedings before the PA PUC. His experience includes advising and representing major natural gas, electric, municipal and private utility water and sewer suppliers in negotiating power purchase agreements, gas or bulk sales agreements, disputes regarding service rights or bulk sales agreements, and, in rate, service, and franchise proceedings. Tom also represents large institutional and municipal customers in multiple areas, including power purchase agreements, negotiated contract \service, and flex pricing arrangements for natural gas, electric, water and sewer. Plus, he represents and provides advice to investment funds, potential buyers, and institutions regarding regulatory PA PUC due diligence for planned or potential transactions, which are, or may become, before the PA PUC. His experience also includes representing utilities, local governmental bodies, and large institutions before the Susquehanna River Basin Commission in permitting, rulemaking and compliance matters and before the Independent Regulatory Review Commission regarding proposed regulations. Additionally, Tom has represented clients in consent and compliance matters involving the Department of Environmental Resources, and provided legal advice and drafting for legislation and regulations.

Relative to Marcellus Shale development and use of Pennsylvania gas, Tom has been lead counsel for applicants in two recent, successful, and precedent-setting contested proceedings before the PA PUC: (1) Application of Laser to become a certificated midstream pipeline; and, (2) Application of Leatherstocking Gas Company, LLC, which is now the first new Natural Gas Distribution Company in Pennsylvania in 40 years and who primarily uses supply from shale gas.  He continues to provide legal services, advice and representation with respect to existing and planned pipeline projects and cogeneration facilities.

Tom is frequently a speaker at continuing legal education and association conferences on rate, acquisition, service, and Marcellus Shale issues.  Recently, Tom was a speaker at  the 2017 Keystone Energy Forum, where he discussed  Eminent Domain in utility, pipeline, and Marcellus Shale operations.  Additionally, Tom has presented at conferences on PA utility mergers and acquisitions,  the annual Pennsylvania Municipal Electric Association meeting on ratemaking law requirements,  and the National Gas and Energy Conference hosted by the University of Texas Law School and the Texas Energy Bar on Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale pipeline issues. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association, Pennsylvania Municipal Electric Association, and the Pennsylvania Bar Association Public Utility and Environmental Law sections.

Representative Matters

  • Pike County Light & Power, Pike County, Buyer Corning Natural Gas Holding Company’s counsel in stock acquisition of electric and gas utilities and present PA counsel for electric and gas utility. (2016-present).
  • Columbia Water Company, Present counsel in General Rate increase proceedings 2017, 2013; Acquisition of Marietta Gravity Water Company and related PUC proceeding (2012).
  • Penn State, Power Purchase Gas and Electric Agreements; utility siting and agreements or advice for extensions of water, sewer, electric and gas utility facilities; Hydro Power Purchase Agreements; Solar transactions; Columbia Natural Gas and West Penn Power rate or energy proceedings on rate structure and rate design issues, natural gas transportation service, Energy Efficiency & Conservation Act 129 proceedings; Default service proceedings; 1307(f) gas supply and access proceedings; Alternative Regulation proceedings; rulemakings. (2010-present).
  • Erie City Water Authority, Erie County, as Lead Counsel $15m American Arbitration Association procedure large case procedure arbitration proceeding regarding bulk sales disputes with Township Authorities and special counsel (2013-present).
  • Bucks County Water & Sewer Authority, bulk sales contracts litigation and special counsel regarding PA PUC matters. (2011-present).
  • Merger and Acquisition Matters before the PUC, (See link)
  • Leatherstocking Gas Company LLC, won contested initial application proceeding, initial tariff and rate structure and design proceedings, subsequent franchise expansion, and ongoing representation (2012-present).
  • Scrubgrass cogeneration facility, successfully renegotiate Power Purchase Agreement for generator client approved by PA PUC. (2014).
  • Lead counsel in PA PUC matters, to Audubon Water Company, Borough of Quakertown, Emporium Water Company, Utilities Inc./Community Utilities of PA Inc., Appalachian Utilities, Inc. in rate increase, rate structure and design cases before PA PUC and in merger and acquisitions, franchise, financing including private borrowings, debt issuances and public PennVest loans, service and interconnection and extension matters. (Present).  
  • Special utility counsel to municipalities or municipal authorities, regarding rate, service, service area disputes, highway crossing or bridge replacement PA PUC cases, municipality take-backs or dissolution of municipal authorities, or bulk sales and interconnection agreements including  Akron Borough, Borough of Hummelstown, Township of Newtown, Upper Macungie Township, Borough of Middletown, Olyphant Borough, Muncy Borough Muncipal Authority, Lower Saucon Authority, Cleona Borough, West Cornwall Township, Fredericksburg Sewer & Water Authority, North Lebanon Township, Perkasie Regional Authority, Lycoming County Water & Sewer Authority, and Middletown Township. (Post-2000).
  • Verizon PA, represented landline company in rate, service, merger and acquisition and other PA PUC proceedings. (1992-2014).

Judicial Clerkship

  • Law Clerk to the late Honorable Genevieve Blatt, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 1981-1983.

Government Service

  • Trial Counsel, Rates and Fixed Utility Sections, Law Bureau, PA PUC, 1983-1985.

Professional Affiliations, Ratings and Admissions

  • Pennsylvania Bar Association, (Public Utility, Environmental Law Sections).
  • Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association.
  • Pennsylvania Municipal Electric Association.
  • Highest Attorney Rating Level (AV Preeminent) for professional excellence by Martindale-Hubbell peer ratings.
  • Admitted in Pennsylvania courts and U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.