Denver partner Franz Hardy and senior counsel Lance Ream successfully defended a complaint filed against their client, a Fortune 500 natural gas and electric utilities company, filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The complainant, an international medical imaging company, filed the complaint seeking to avoid over $700,000 in natural gas charges. The charges were due to a billing error, which resulted in the complainant’s natural gas usage being under-reported by approximately fifteen percent over a three year period. Upon discovering the error, the client submitted revised bills in accordance with its tariffs and state regulations. The complainant argued that the client should be estopped from recovering the revised charges because it was responsible for the error and failed to use all reasonable means to ensure accurate billing.
The client retained Gordon & Rees two months before the scheduled trial. At trial, both sides called multiple witnesses and presented other evidence before an administrative law judge. Following the trial, the ALJ concluded that the client had complied with the applicable regulations and tariffs. Accordingly, he recommended that the PUC deny the complaint. The complainant then filed written exceptions to the recommended decision, challenging the ALJ’s interpretation of the regulations and tariffs. After considering the parties’ briefing, the PUC rejected the exceptions, adopted the ALJ’s recommended decision, and denied the complaint.