Braun Blaising Smith Wynne P.C. (BBSW) is a small Sacramento-based law firm that represents public agencies on a variety of energy-related matters. BBSW occupies a privileged position within California’s public power landscape – a vantage point that has enabled BBSW to acquire and uniquely apply skills for the benefit of its public agency clients.
BBSW has served for nearly two decades as regulatory counsel for the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA). In this capacity, BBSW has been directly involved in shaping and implementing policies affecting the electric utility industry. CMUA has been the mouthpiece for California’s publicly owned utilities (POUs), and BBSW has provided the legal support to carry out this function.
BBSW has also been instrumental in the formation and implementation of a relatively new form of public power in California – Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). BBSW served as counsel for the San Joaquin Valley Power Authority, the first public agency in California to develop a CCA program. BBSW currently serves as regulatory counsel for numerous CCA programs: Marin Clean Energy, City of Lancaster, Sonoma Clean Power Authority and Silicon Valley Clean Energy Authority. In addition, BBSW serves as regulatory counsel for LEAN Energy US, which provides information and advocacy for California’s CCA programs.
BBSW’s role as counsel for the Balancing Authority of Northern California (BANC) provides the firm a unique perspective on various operational and technical matters. BANC is a joint power agency that serves as the balancing authority overseeing and operating most of the bulk public power systems in Northern California, including the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the Western Area Power Administration.
BBSW also individually represents and provides customized services to dozens of California’s POUs – both large and small. BBSW provides a portfolio of services to a group of California’s smallest POUs, while also providing regulatory and transactional services to several mid-sized POUs and to SMUD, the second largest POU in California. This diverse, broad-based experience has enabled BBSW to become familiar with and address a wide range of industry issues.
The scope of BBSW’s services has also expanded beyond the bounds of traditional electric utility functions, covering unique opportunities and challenges associated with the so-called water-energy nexus. In this regard, BBSW has evaluated and implemented various water-energy opportunities. BBSW formed and has served for over a decade as counsel for the Power and Water Resources Pooling Authority (a joint powers agency that includes participation by the Sonoma County Water Agency, Westlands Water District and Arvin-Edison Water Storage District). In addition, BBSW has served as regulatory counsel for the San Diego County Water Agency, and has provided analysis, support and services to the Monterey County Water Resources Agency and the West Basin Municipal Water District.