Regulatory & Public Utilities Law

We handle regulatory matters for clients in the energy, telecommunications, water, and sewer industries, with a focus on matters governed by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

The regulatory regime in Hawaii is unique, shaped by persistent pressure to preserve the island group’s heritage and environment while harnessing investment and innovation that can improve quality of life for citizens.  As a consequence, developers and others who seek to advance projects in the state need guides who are highly knowledgeable – about the rule and spirit of regulations, and the complex processes by which make-or-break decisions are made.

Yamamoto Caliboso’s attorneys handle a broad range of regulatory matters for clients in the energy, telecommunications, water, and sewer industries, with a particular focus on gaining regulatory approvals and other relief from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

We serve as regulatory counsel for most of Hawaii’s utility-scale independent power producers, including the owners and operators of wind facilities, photovoltaic facilities, biomass facilities, cogeneration facilities, and fossil fuel-fired facilities.  We help these clients secure Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approval of power purchase agreements and similar agreements, defend their interests in policy proceedings affecting the energy industry, and initiate regulatory complaints and similar proceedings when business objectives demand it.  We are constantly engaged in the ever-changing constellation of energy policy discussions in Hawaii energy industry, which allows us to give our clients insights critical to the success of their projects.

Our attorneys also deliver regulatory solutions to the telecommunications industry, including competitive local exchange carriers, cellular, PCS, EMSR and LMDS wireless licensees, Internet providers, and cable providers.  Our work includes obtaining Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approval for tariffs and all aspects of operation in Hawaii, seeking FCC licenses for wireless spectrum, and obtaining approvals related to mergers and acquisitions, such as the recent merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and various telecommunications carriers in Hawaii.

Our attorneys have served as primary Hawaii counsel in connection with the development of the Hawaii networks for three international wireless carriers, VoiceStream Wireless (now T-Mobile), Nextel Communications/Nextel Partners (now Sprint Nextel) and Clearwire, LLC.  We are also Hawaii counsel for one of the largest telecommunications providers in the world, CenturyLink.

We also help clients obtain regulatory prerequisites to the formation, operation, and disposition of various water and sewer utilities in Hawaii.  For example, we have helped the buyers and sellers of former ranches and other large real estate parcels on several islands to develop and execute regulatory strategies for solving difficult issues related to informal water and sewer systems historically operated by the owners of the real estate.

Real estate developers also rely on our strong regulatory capabilities.  Our services span entitlements, permitting, negotiations with local governments, approvals under Hawaii’s environmental, cultural, and historic review statutes, and other government approvals necessary for the development of complex projects.

Clients seek us out for strategic counsel on their most difficult regulatory challenges because of our deep regulatory experience and relationships with Hawaii regulators and other policymakers.  One of our members is a former chairman of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, and our other attorneys have broad connections in the Hawaii policymaking community, which enables us to provide clients with strategic work that can address regulatory obstacles and achieve successful project development.  If clients ever reach a regulatory impasse, we draw on our extensive political relationships and experience with Hawaii legislative processes to custom-tailor effective legislative solutions.