Brunini Lures Ex-FERC Chairman To Energy Practice©
By Daniel Wilson
Law360, New York (July 31, 2012, 7:28 PM ET)
Brunini Grantham Grower & Hewes PLLC has added a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman to its office in Jackson, Miss., bolstering one of the oldest energy practices in the Gulf Coast region, the firm announced Tuesday.
Curt Hebert joined the firm as a member, after serving as CEO of Lexicon Strategy Group LLC, an energy and regulatory law advisory firm, since 2010. Hebert, who was appointed as a commissioner at FERC in 1997 and elevated to chairman in 2001, left the regulator in 2001 to join Southeastern electricity producer and retailer Entergy Corp. as an executive vice president. There, he supervised the company’s regulatory strategy, government relations, communications policy and environmental policy.
Hebert also previously served as a state legislator and a commissioner of the Mississippi Public Service Commission before being appointed to FERC. He said he was delighted to join the century-old Brunini, marking a return to private practice and the next step in his career. “I had known [Brunini] for years; they're thought of in the [Gulf] region as one of the top energy firms,” Hebert said. "It's a chance to get back to my home state of Mississippi and practice highpowered law."
In his role as advisor at Lexicon, Hebert advised energy companies across the U.S and Europe on regulatory issues such as improvements to the quality of reporting, relationships with regulatory bodies and the execution of complex regulatory settlements. He also provided advice on the internal workings of energy companies, such as building accountability and transparency into corporate governance.
He will bring his extensive contacts with energy industry regulators, government officials, analysts, executives and others to his practice, as well as his deep experience across many segments of the industry. His experience includes energy exploration and production, electricity generation and distribution, and natural gas transportation, with knowledge of both national and international energy markets and related policy and regulatory processes.
Hebert said his practice would continue to involve a broad swath of the energy industry, with a focus on the issue of energy reliability, since he had spent significant time on the issue throughout his career. "When the power goes out, the question is why and how quickly we can get it back on," Hebert said. "We are dependent on power in the U.S. — it's essential to everything we do, and critical to our economy." Hebert said he had already fielded a number of calls in his first day on the job asking for his expertise on the recent massive Indian power outage, which left hundreds of millions without power. He will continue to sit as a visiting scholar with the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank in Washington, where he co-chairs its energy reliability task force.
Brunini Chairman Granville Tate Jr. said he was excited for both the firm and its clients over Hebert’s move. “Curt’s experience as a lawyer, state legislator, state utility regulator, federal regulator and energy executive is unique in the industry,” Tate said. Hebert obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and his law degree from Mississippi College School of Law.