Owen E. MacBride
Owen MacBride is an energy and telecommunications lawyer who focuses his practice on regulatory matters, including regulatory agency proceedings and appeals, and transactional matters. Owen’s varied and extensive representation of electric, gas, telecommunications, water and pipeline industry participants in regulatory, transactional, legislative and litigation matters gives him a broad spectrum of knowledge and experience in planning, operating, pricing, financial, accounting, tax construction, and reliability issues in these industries.
Owen draws on his thorough understanding of the energy industry to represent and counsel electric and gas public utilities, electric generators, wind and solar energy generators, electric transmission companies, and wholesale and retail electric suppliers. His diverse group of clients has also included common carrier pipelines, large energy users, water utilities, and other energy and telecommunications industry participants. Currently, his practice is focused in the areas of Electric Transmission, Electric Generation, Renewable Energy, and Pipelines.
Owen has extensive experience representing both incumbent and competitive telecommunications carriers in regulatory and transactional matters. His experience with transactional matters includes negotiating electricity and gas supply and purchase contracts, advising on and obtaining regulatory approvals for business combinations and asset transactions, and advising on and obtaining regulatory approvals for financings.
Owen’s representation of energy and telecommunications industry clients has included:
- Counseling Illinois electric and gas utilities and telecommunications carriers on regulatory requirements for numerous mergers, acquisitions, other business combinations, and major asset sales or transfers including sales of generating stations. Owen has represented Illinois electric and gas utilities and telecommunications carriers in successfully obtaining Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approval for mergers, acquisitions, and other business combinations and reorganizations in numerous major transactions, as well as in obtaining ICC approval for other asset sales and transfers including two major generating plant sales.
- Representing major pipeline companies in obtaining certificates from the ICC for authority to operate as common carrier pipelines in Illinois transporting crude oil, natural gas liquids and other products.
- Representing electric industry clients in the negotiating, drafting and passage of Illinois’ electric utility industry restructuring law, enacted in 1997, and the Illinois Power Agency Act and related Public Utilities Act amendments, enacted in 2007; the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act, enacted in 2016; and the Energy Transition Act, enacted in 2021.
- Representing developers, acquirers, lenders, and equity investors in numerous acquisition and financing transactions for renewable energy generation projects (both wind and solar), with a focus on Illinois State and local permitting and regulatory requirements.
- Representing wind and solar generating companies in ICC proceedings relating to procurement, contracting and contract administration for renewable energy resources to meet Illinois’ renewable portfolio standards.
- Representing major Illinois electric and gas utilities and telecommunications carriers in more than one dozen rate increase cases before the ICC. For electric and gas utilities, these cases have covered both fully bundled and unbundled (e.g., distribution and transportation) services. For telecommunications carriers, these cases have including both traditional and TELRIC rate setting.
- Advising and representing large industrial, commercial, institutional and governmental energy consumers in negotiating electricity and gas purchase agreements.
- Representing telecommunications carriers in negotiating interconnection agreements under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TA 1996) as well as other inter-carrier agreements. Owen represented competitive telecommunications carriers (CLECs) in three major interconnection agreement arbitrations with the incumbent carrier before the ICC. He also represented CLECs in numerous other proceedings arising out of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
- Representing the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) in its role as the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 in numerous Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proceedings to obtain approvals for NERC’s activities, including certification as the ERO, approval of NERC’s initial set of mandatory reliability standards, approval of NERC’s original and amended delegation agreements with Regional Entities, approval of NERC’s original and amended Rules of Procedure, and approval of the annual business plans and budgets for NERC and the Regional Entities and the related funding assessments to U.S. load-serving entities for the years 2007 through 2022.
Owen worked at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Bureau of Hospital Administration, as a research assistant from 1972-1973, where he authored numerous papers on healthcare economics.
Clerkship: Honorable Robert P. Anderson, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit (1975 - 1976)
Boards, Memberships & Certifications
- American Bar Association
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Chicago Bar Association
- Energy Bar Association
Publications, Presentations & Recognitions
- "D.C. Court Upholds FERC Energy Storage Rule and FERC Dismisses Petition to Declare State Net Metering Programs FERC-Jurisdictional," Energy & Environmental Law Adviser, August 5, 2020
- “Administrative Review,” Chapter in Civil Appeals: State and Federal, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) (2018)
- “Administrative Review,” Chapter in Chancery and Special Remedies, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) (2021)
- “Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Approves NERC's Proposed Changes to Sanction Guidelines,” Energy Manager Today (Jan. 31, 2013)
- “Lessons Learned from Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement of Mandatory Reliability Standards,” Energy in California Conference (2012)
- “Upcoming Changes to the NERC Rules of Procedure,” Texas Reliability Entity Compliance Workshop (2012)
- “Current NERC Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Initiatives,” California Independent System Operator Legal Forum (2011)
- The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers (2007-2009, 2012-2023)
- Chambers USA – Energy & Natural Resources: Regulatory, Illinois (2006-2021); Communications, Illinois (2007, 2011-2014); Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite: Regulatory (2006)
- Illinois Leading Lawyer, Law Bulletin’s Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2006-2022)
- #1 Energy Lawyer, Law Bulletin’s Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2015)
- Top 10 Public Utilities Lawyers, Law Bulletin’s Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2015)
- Top 100 Real Estate-Related Lawyers, Law Bulletin’s Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2015)
- Top 250 Business Lawyers, Law Bulletin’s Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2015)
- “Lawyer of the Year” Energy Law, Chicago, Best Lawyers in America (2015)
- Illinois Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters (2009, 2011)
Bar & Court Admissions
- Illinois Bar
- US Supreme Court
- US Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
- US District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Yale Law School, JD, Yale Law Review, Board of Editors, 1975University of Michigan Law SchoolUniversity of Michigan, BA (Econ), Phi Beta Kappa, 1971