Seth D. Hilton
Seth Hilton is a partner in the Energy Development practice group. He focuses his practice on energy regulation and litigation and represents clients in state and federal court and before a variety of regulatory agencies in California, including the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission.
Seth also has significant experience in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation. That experience includes jury and bench trials as well as appellate matters, including successfully arguing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Court of Appeal. Seth also has extensive experience in handling arbitration and mediation.
Following law school, Seth served as law clerk to the Honorable David V. Kenyon, United States District Court for the Central District of California. In 2003, Seth was appointed to serve on the California State Bar's Standing Committee on Federal Courts. Prior to joining the firm, Seth was an associate with Morrison & Foerster in the firm's Walnut Creek office.
- Represented wind generation operator and developer in litigation with windpark owner over operations and maintenance contracts, obtaining jury verdict in client's favor after month-long trial in Orange County Superior Court. Successfully defended judgment on subsequent appeal to Fourth District Court of Appeal.
- Represented biofuels company in dispute with former partner company, obtaining dismissal of partner company's complaint in the Central District of California.
- Represented a wholesale electricity generator in a dispute with the California Independent System Operator concerning interpretations of the ISO tariff and summer reliability agreements.
- Represented energy service providers and customers in disputes concerning direct access service contracts, including successful defense of $69 million breach of contract claim filed against an energy service provider.
- Represented wholesale power providers in an interpleader action brought by the Colorado River Commission of Nevada concerning alleged breaches of retail power contracts by its retail customers.
- Represented technology company in appeal from dismissal of securities class action in the Northern District of California, successfully arguing before a Ninth Circuit appellate panel that the dismissal should be affirmed.
- Represented franchisor in dispute with franchisee over breach of franchise agreement, obtaining favorable arbitration award at conclusion of binding arbitration.
California Public Utilities Commission
- Advised several renewable energy developers concerning the California Public Utilities Commission's consideration of tradable renewable energy credits (TRECs or RECs), including active participation in proceeding on behalf of one developer.
- Advised pipeline utility on sale of regulated assets and obtained approval for sale from California Public Utilities Commission.
- Represented municipal water utility before the California Public Utilities Commission in service territory dispute with neighboring utility.
- Advised several solar energy service providers concerning California regulatory matters and ongoing Commission proceedings.
- Represented wholesale electricity generators in Commission's rulemaking concerning enforcement of generator operation and maintenance standards adopted pursuant to Public Utilities Code § 761.3.
- Obtained exemptions from Pacific Gas and Electric Company surcharges for direct access customer.
California Energy Commission
- Represented independent power producer in petition to modify California Energy Commission license to construct natural gas-fired power plant in southern California.
- Advised independent power producer concerning efforts to develop natural gas-fired generation in northern California.
Greenhouse Gas Regulation
- Advised municipal utility concerning implementation of California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 by the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission.
- Advised municipal utilities concerning implementation of California's Emissions Performance Standard for greenhouse gas emissions from electric generation.
Other Regulatory Matters
- Advised municipal utility concerning transmission issues and service territory expansion.
- Advised electric generation developer concerning the California Independent System Operator's Generator Interconnection Process Reform.
- Advised electric generation developer concerning interconnections to distribution systems of Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern Califonia Edison.
Professional Honors & Activities
- Appointed to the California State Bar's Standing Committee on Federal Courts (2003)
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Bar Association of San Francisco
- Member, Conference of California Public Utility Counsel
- Member, Power Association of Northern California
- Speaker, "In-State vs. Out-of-State Renewable Resources to Satisfy RPS Requirements," CALIFORNIA RPS: Meeting the Mandate, Oct. 24, 2011
- Panelist, "Tradable Renewable Energy Credits in California," Infocast Webinar, Mar. 1, 2011
- Moderator, "REC Trading in California," Infocast Webinar, July 15, 2010
- Chair, "New Legislation for California Renewable Energy: Implications for California's Energy Future," Law Seminars International, Nov. 4, 2009
- Moderator, "California Distributed Solar Market," Infocast Webinar, Sept. 22, 2009
- Chair, "Climate Control Regimes in California and the West: Opportunities in Allowance and Offset Markets," San Francisco, California, Sept. 2008
- Speaker, "Structuring Global Warming and Green Business Practice Groups," Bar Association of San Francisco, Apr. 2008
- Chair and speaker, "Opportunities Under the West's New Climate Change and Renewables Rules," symposium, Clean Power in the West Summit, Nov. 2007
- Speaker, "Global Warming Initiatives in the Western States: Impacts on the Electric Energy Industry and Green Building Industry," Infocast Webinar, Oct. 2007
- Speaker, "California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and the Electric Energy Industry," Western Power Supply Forum II, Dec. 2006
- Speaker, "California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and the Electric Energy Industry," Infocast Webinar, Sept. 2006
- "Tradable Renewable Energy Credits in California" (coauthor), The Electricity Journal, Vol. 23, Issue 6, July 2010
- "When Bad Projects Happen to Good People" (coauthor), The Law of Biofuels (2nd ed. 2008)
- "Wind Litigation" (coauthor), The Law of Wind (4th ed. 2008)
- "Regulatory & Transmission Related Issues" (coauthor), Lex Helius, The Law of the Sun (1st ed. 2008)
- "The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006" Environmental Liability Reporter, Nov. 2006
- "The Impact of California's Global Warming Legislation on the Electric Utility Industry," The Electricity Journal, Vol. 19, Issue 9, Nov. 2006
- "CPUC Adopts Backstop Cost Recovery Rules for Transmission Necessary to Meet California's RPS Goals," EnergyPulse, July 2006
- "DC Circuit Court of Appeals Holds District Court Has Initial Jurisdiction Over PURPA Dispute," EnergyPulse, July 2005
- "Ninth Circuit Declines Review of BPA Decision to Trigger Rate Adjustment Clause," EnergyPulse, July 2005
- University of California, Davis, School of Law, J.D., 1995
Order of the Coif
Senior Articles Editor, U.C. Davis Law Review
Articles Editor, U.C. Davis Journal of International Law
- Harvard College, B.A., 1992, cum laude
Print to Word
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern Districts of California