Path-Making Litigation in the Public Interest


California Electricity Deregulation

In 2001, when California's electricity deregulation experiment became an unprecedented disaster, Strumwasser & Woocher represented TURN, the state's leading utility ratepayer advocacy organization, in litigation to block a multi-billion-dollar bail out of the utilities at the expense of consumers. The firm initially successfully defended actions of the California Public Utilities Commission obtained by TURN holding the utilities to the terms of the deregulation legislation. When the PUC entered a secret bail out deal with one of the utilities, the firm initially succeeded in blocking the deal in a decision overturned by the California Supreme Court. Southern California Edison Co. v. Lynch, 307 F.3d 794 (9th Cir. 2002); Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. Lynch, 216 F. Supp. 2d 1016 (N.D. Cal. 2002); Southern California Edison Co. v. Peevey, 31 Cal. 4th 781 (2003); Southern California Edison Co. v. Public Utilities Com'n, 117 Cal. App. 4th 1039 (2004); Utility Reform Network v. Public Utilities Com'n, 166 Cal. App. 4th 522 (2008).

Refusal of Utility Service

Strumwasser & Woocher represented a large avocado farmer who had been cut off from service by San Diego Gas & Electric Co. when the farmer refused to purchase high cost electricity and instead self generated. The case resulted in a multi-million-dollar settlement for the farmer. Strumwasser & Woocher also represented the same client in litigation against the County of San Diego, which had refused to authorize operation of a 1 megawatt solar power plant. The litigation led to authorization of the solar facility's operation and payment of damages for the delay.

California Independent System Operator

Following accusations that during the electric power crisis of 2001, the ISO, the non-profit corporation that operates the bulk of the state's grid, attempted to manipulate the power market. Strumwasser & Woocher was retained by the ISO, at the behest of the California Senate, as independent investigators to report on the charges.