The American Arbitration Association, in response to a growing level of interest by the electric and natural gas industries, has established the "National Energy Panel" to resolve disputes through mediation and arbitration.
The new panel is composed of 33 of the nation's leading energy industry experts and will resolve a range of disputes involving production, contracts, finance and marketing. Also included are nuclear power; environmental issues associated with hydroelectric power generation; the production, transportation and marketing of natural gas and oil; and utility plant design, contracting, construction and decommissioning.
AAA pointed out that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been a leader in seeking nontraditional methods to resolve pending cases. "The growing acceptance and application of mediation and other forms of dispute resolution to resolve energy-related disputes are driven, in large part, by the ongoing restructuring or 'deregulation' of the electric power industry and the areas of national gas transportation and sale," said James H. Bailey, a member of the law firm, Lobel, Novins, and Lamont, and chair of the Advisory Council for the National Energy Panel.