Birketts has a dedicated team working on transactions in the utilities sector. We provide strategic advice and cost-effective legal solutions to leading utility companies across the UK.

The utilities sector has grown into a highly competitive sector operating within a unique and complex market with extensive regulatory challenges. Utility providers face increasing regulation and intense competitive pressure. We know that utility companies require lawyers who understand this challenging market and can deliver sound commercial advice to meet their objectives. Our energy lawyers understand the key issues faced by organisations involved in the utilities sector, the political and regulatory background and the specialist nature of the work involved.

Our utilities sector services

Communication is the key to our service. Our team works closely with all parties to keep them informed of progress and avoid delays by providing regular bespoke updates. Our specialist utilities team has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the key issues and requirements facing the electricity, telecommunications, gas, and water sectors.

We deal with approximately 1,000 freehold and leasehold acquisitions of operational land and easements every year on behalf of Distribution Network Operators, Independent Distribution Network Operators, Gas Transporters and network operators. These instructions include new connections as well as maintenance of the existing networks. We understand the need to secure these rights quickly to avoid development delays and allow the network to be energised as quickly as possible.

Variations to the network

We regularly advise on transactions involving the relocation of operational land including moving the substation and or easements to the as laid position.

Litigation

For those unfortunate moments when litigation is a reality or even a possibility, we have a Property Litigation Team to assist with claims of trespass or damage to the network, for example. The team also advises on the intricate notice and renewal process for telecommunication masts.

Protocol arrangements

We have been instrumental in preparing and introducing an arrangement with the Distribution Network Operators allowing us to successfully act on their behalf and reduce the transaction time for those that require a connection into the DNO’s network. We have advised on and completed commercial contracts with all of the DNOs to reduce the requirement for tripartite documents and allowing a streamline process.