Michael J. Thompson


Michael J. Thompson

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  • experience
  • admissions
  • education
  • professional activities
  • honors/distinctions
  • results
  • community involvement
  • speaking engagements
  • publications

Mike applies his more than forty years of energy law experience to help navigate regulatory requirements and issues for clients in the electricity, natural gas, and oil pipeline sectors. He excels at developing clients’ rate cases, infrastructure projects, and proposed services and tariffs, and managing stakeholder and regulatory reviews to achieve favorable outcomes. Mike also is accomplished in negotiating contracts for interconnection, transmission, storage, and other services, and for the development, financing and sale of energy infrastructure assets.

Mike works with each client to identify and evaluate the best available options for achieving their goals in time- and cost-efficient ways. Recognizing that his clients typically have to deal continuously with affected stakeholders on other issues and in other forums, Mike stresses developing justifications for a client’s desired outcome without creating needless political or personal friction with regulators, customers, and opponents.

Mike is regularly involved in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Department of Energy, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). He is also experienced in state regulatory proceedings, and in litigation in federal district courts and courts of appeals.

  • Represented Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC, in FERC rate proceedings from 1995 through 2020. Such cases typically involve well over 100 parties. Assisted in obtaining settlements of all issues in several cases, most issues in others, and often achieved successful litigation outcomes on reserved issues.
  • Assisted an interstate natural gas pipeline in its successful bid to win FERC’s first-ever approval of a tariff permitting the pipeline to reserve unused capacity on its system for use in low-cost expansion projects that otherwise would require a more time-consuming and more costly formal application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity.
  • Advised and represented Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC, in several applications for authorization of interstate natural gas pipeline expansions involving terms of a capacity lease, air quality compliance requirements, and other economic and environmental issues.
  • Helped two natural gas pipeline companies evaluate jurisdictional, regulatory, and environmental issues related to making bids to construct new onshore and offshore pipelines to export natural gas from the United States to Mexico.
  • Represented a group of transmission-owning electric utilities in FERC litigation of complaints that seek to lower the utilities’ base return on equity allowance by more than $400 million per year.
  • Represented a group of transmission-owning utilities in FERC litigation of the liability of transmission owners that withdrew from an RTO for a portion of the costs of multi-billion dollar transmission projects included in the RTO’s regional transmission expansion plan.
  • Represented Kern River Gas Transmission Company, another interstate natural gas pipeline, in a successful effort to convince FERC to adopt a new approach, favorable to the company, to determining pipelines’ allowed rates of return on equity. Obtained in the same proceeding what is believed to be FERC’s first-ever approval of pipeline transportation rates based on a 100% equity capital structure with no offsetting adjustment of the company’s allowed rate of return.
  • Assisted electric utility clients with FERC and NERC enforcement investigations, and advised a natural gas pipeline client in FERC compliance audits that presented potential enforcement issues. One engagement is ongoing; others were resolved on favorable terms through settlements.
  • Represented an RTO in multiple proceedings culminating in FERC’s approval of revisions to the client’s tariffs and market rules. These have included provisions governing market participation and operational performance of demand response resources, pricing of cross-border energy transactions, and terms and conditions for interconnection of new generation and merchant transmission facilities, among others.
  • Represented a landowner in negotiating and documenting a long-term lease for construction of a merchant, natural gas-fired electric generating plant.
  • Represented an electric generation and transmission cooperative in negotiating agreements for a joint venture to develop an additional generating unit at an existing plant solely owned by the client.
  • Assisted a private equity investment fund with its evaluation of a potential acquisition of an interstate pipeline.

District of Columbia


U.S. District Court, District of Columbia

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

Supreme Court of the United States

The George Washington University National Law Center, J.D., with honors (1981)

The Ohio State University, B.S. in Business Administration, cum laude (1977)

Energy Bar Association

Natural Gas Roundtable

U.S. Association for Energy Economics

American Bar Association – Sections on Energy, Environment, & Resources; Public Utility, Communications, and Transportation Law

Foundation of the Energy Law Journal, Board of Directors (2005-2010)

Chambers USA, Energy: Oil & Gas (2004-2022)

Chambers Global, Energy: Electricity (2022-2023)

Lawdragon, 500 Leading U.S. Energy Lawyers: Energy Regulation (2023)

The Best Lawyers in America, Energy Law (2006-2023)

Super Lawyers, Washington, DC, Utilities (2013-2022)

Super Lawyers, Washington DC, Energy & Natural Resources (2008-2010)

Best Lawyers

Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association

Capital Area Food Bank

House of Ruth

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

The Nature Conservancy

  • Natural Gas and Electric Industry Interdependence, American Gas Association Legal Forum, 2012
  • Current Federal Natural Gas Issues, Energy Bar Association Joint Conference of New Orleans EBA Chapter and Natural Gas Regulation Committee, 2012 (panel moderator)
  • Economic & Regulatory Trends Transforming the Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Industry, Energy Bar Association Mid-Year Meeting, 2011 (panel moderator)
  • Mass Disasters and Recovery in the Energy Industries - Katrina, Rita and Beyond, Energy Bar Association Mid-Year Meeting, 2005
  • Primer–Market and Regulatory Implications of LNG Development, Energy Bar Association Annual Meeting, 2004 (program chair)  
  • Unanswered Questions About FERC’s Proposed Rules for Increasing Coordination of Natural Gas and Electric Grid Operations, 2014 American Gas Association Legal Forum (conference material)
  • Expansion of the Electric Transmission Grid Faces Continuing FERC Regulatory Challenges, Infrastructure, ABA Section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law, 2013
  • The Conundrum of Multistate Electric Transmission Expansion: Who Will Pay?, Energy, Utility, Transportation and Environmental Law for the 21st Century, Peter LaCouture, Ed. (ABA 2013) (originally published in Infrastructure, Winter 2010)
  • Regulation of the Gas Industry (Matthew Bender), chapters entitled Pipeline Service Obligations and Judicial Review, 2015
  • Energy Law and Transactions (Matthew Bender), chapter entitled Natural Gas, 2015
  • NUG Prospects: Dream or Nightmare?, Electricity Journal, 2006
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