Electrical power work, for purposes of the Lexpert Directory, is defined in the widest sense in order to identify those firms capable of providing a full service to various clients. As such, the practice encompasses advising existing and prospective market participants (including major investors, lenders, project developers, distributors, public sector entities, and public and private sector consumers) on a host of transactional (e.g., corporate/commercial), regulatory, and policy matters, ranging from the development, structuring, financing and permitting of energy projects (including nuclear, hydro-electric, oil and gas-fired, and fossil-fuel facilities) the management and retrofitting of existing facilities, co-generation, through to all aspects of the restructuring and deregulation of wholesale and retail electricity markets within a new, competitive framework.
Please note that the Lexpert directory has a separate section for:
Energy law is the branch of law which concerns itself with two main things – supply and demand of energy of a state or country, and taxation in the operations of the energy sector. Energy, in its broad sense, may be understood as either renewable or non-renewable. Hence, both sectors are regulated by energy law. Sources of energy law may either be from international conventions/agreements, or federal and provincial statutes.
For this field of law, energy lawyers commit themselves to multiple stakeholders involved, such as the public (the government and the citizenry), and the private sector (the companies and corporations – lenders, producers, distributors, retailers, etc.). This would include advisories on the current laws and administrative regulations on energy law, traversing different stages of its operations – financing; negotiations, contracts, and agreements; applications for government permits and Indigenous Peoples’ consent; acquisition of resources; building of facilities; harvesting; and disaster-prevention and the litigations should one happen.
In addition, energy lawyers may work either in the renewable (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal) or non-renewable (oil, gas, coal, fuel, electricity, nuclear) energy sector, where factors of one sector greatly differs from the other.
Corollary to energy law are the other fields of law which energy law has a substantial impact to. This may include transportation (actual and constructive transportation or transmission of energy resources), finance (rates of utilities, etc.), dispute resolutions (between energy companies and the Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and/or the government). Given this, energy lawyers’ expertise is not only limited to energy law alone but also overarches with the other branches of law.
Environmental law is the collection of laws, policies, and regulations which seeks to preserve and protect the environment and natural resources. It includes laws pertaining to the protection of flora and fauna, reduction of carbon footprint vis-a-vis climate change, and prevention and solution to pollution and wastes.
This law also has strong ties with Indigenous Peoples law, where most of the time the large portion of a state’s natural resources are stewarded by the Indigenous Peoples.
Industries which environmental law may regulate include mining, agriculture, forestry and logging, fisheries, air/wind, and wildlife.
While environmental law and energy law may seem similar with each other, its differences lie with their own objectives. In the practise of energy lawyers, they not only apply energy law but also makes references with environmental law, and other laws as stated above.
As environmental law is concerned with preservation, it overlaps with energy law when the operations of the latter’s stakeholders threaten or violates the former. Where permittance of industries under energy law affects natural resources, environmental law comes as an additional “permit” for these industries to operate. Hence, governments strike a balance between the current need for energy of its people, and the protection of the environment for the future.
Another layer between the two laws are Indigenous Peoples laws. Undeniably, local communities would be affected greatly by these projects, hence, the need for consultations, environmental assessments, and meticulous planning for the mitigation and prevention of adverse effects to local resources. This is on top of the governmental restrictions and regulations with regards to the energy sector.
As such, both energy lawyers and environmental lawyers ensure compliance with multi-sectoral laws and regulations, among different viewpoints of stakeholders in each, providing them with a wide array of services (from advisory to litigations) in the different levels of engagements.
Regulation as to electricity and other forms of energy are regulated by the Energy Efficiency Act and the Energy Efficiency Regulations in the federal level. Both are enforced by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Local statues are also present in some provinces and territories.
The Energy Afficiency Act (the Act) is the federal law of Canada governing the overall energy consumption of the country, and the promotion of the use of alternative energy sources, by establishing minimum energy efficiency standards. The Act covers products and equipment by dealers, who are either manufacturers, importers, sellers, or lessors of energy-using products. Generally, the Act provides that energy-using products should comply with the energy efficiency standards, and that it should be labelled according to applicable regulations.
The Energy Efficiency Regulations 2016 (the Regulations) enforces the provisions of the Energy Efficiency Act, which repealed the earlier Regulations of the same Act. The dealers mentioned above have the responsibility to ensure that the energy-using products comply with the energy efficiency standards; energy efficiency reports are filed with NRCan; provide import information for dealers who are importing energy-using products; and, energy-using products are properly labelled (either with energy efficiency verification mark; EnerGuide label; lighting product label; and nameplate) whenever applicable.
The Regulations expanded the term “energy-using products” of the Act, which are:
Some provinces or territories, such as British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, have their own respective statutes regulating energy efficiency of energy-using products. These may differ with the Act and the Regulations, from the specific requirements and the energy-using products covered (example, where Manitoba only regulates gas furnaces and gas boilers, New Brunswick regulates all energy-using products mentioned in the Regulations).
Energy lawyers apply these laws to address the needs of clients, who are mostly dealers, to make sure that these companies conform with either the Act, the Regulations, and specifically with the provincial statutes.
Regulations imposed by energy laws on the different stakeholders of the energy industry is meant for its sustainability of resources, in relation to environmental laws. In addition, tax regulations on the energy sector are seen as one of the biggest tax drivers of a state or country, hence, there is the strict implementations of said laws.
Concerned with energy-using products, or needs advice about Canada’s energy laws? Head over below for a list of the best energy lawyers in your area.