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Energy Grid Failure – Understanding the Texas Grid Failure and its Related Legal and Regulatory Challenges

Speaker(s): Carrie Collier-Brown, Chrysta Castaneda, Loren Steffy, Stacey Doré
Recorded on: May. 14, 2021
PLI Program #: 328646

Carrie Collier-Brown is a regulatory and administrative law attorney with a focus on Texas energy markets, energy regulations and administrative litigation. With her deep understanding of the Texas wholesale and retail electric markets and utility regulatory environment at the Texas PUC and ERCOT, Carrie provides clients with practical solutions in agency proceedings, corporate transactions and civil litigation.

In her Texas PUC practice, Carrie represents electric utilities, electric cooperatives, water utilities, generators, retail electric providers and other clients in a broad range of regulatory and administrative litigation matters, including rate applications, mergers and acquisitions, Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) proceedings, generator interconnections, certification and registration, regulatory compliance and enforcement and policy rulemakings.

On the federal energy level, Carrie has advised electric utilities and generation companies on compliance with Qualifying Facility (QF) certification, NERC reliability standards, competition-related issues in RTO and ISO markets and Open Access Transmission Tariffs compliance matters at FERC.

Before practicing law, she worked for the Texas Legislature and was on staff with the Texas PUC where she led numerous rulemakings to implement the competitive retail electric market under Senate Bill 7, the 1999 legislation introducing retail customer choice in Texas.



Chrysta Castañeda is a go-to lawyer for high-stakes litigation in the energy industry and beyond. She is an engineer with a deep understanding of energy operations, finance and markets, as well as a sought-after speaker and author on energy issues and litigation matters. With more than 25 years’ experience, she has built a solid reputation for adeptly handling technical litigation, often serving as lead trial counsel in high-profile disputes of media interest.  

Her win for T. Boone Pickens’ Mesa Petroleum Partners was recognized as the 12th largest verdict in 2016 in the nation by The National Law Journal and earned her a spot as one of the NLJ’s Elite Trial Lawyers of 2018, as well as induction into Texas Lawyer‘s Texas Verdicts Hall of Fame. Following this series of high-profile recognitions, Chrysta was inducted as a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation in the beginning of 2020.

She is also the co-author of The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens, which recounts the events leading up to, and the trial of, the Mesa lawsuit.

Chrysta developed her reputation and commitment to excellence from practicing for more than two decades at top firms worldwide. Since founding the Castañeda Firm, Chrysta has prioritized delivering the quality of representation found in large law firms in a personalized way. Chrysta and her team strive to out-prepare the opposition, from investigation through trial.

Chrysta not only has more than two decades of experience litigating energy and oil and gas matters, but also holds a degree in engineering. Her technical training, in combination with her experience in crisis communications, frequently proves invaluable to clients, enabling her to effectively explain complex scientific concepts to judges and juries.

Clients value Chrysta’s strength and tenacity. As she puts it, “We take pride in having both the knowledge and experience clients require, as well as the tenacity and creativity to craft winning strategies. We aim to prepare so thoroughly that we can adapt without hesitation to changing dynamics at trial or in discovery. I want our clients to feel confident and assured when The Castañeda Firm is on their case.”

Outside of the oil and gas and energy industries, Chrysta has extensive experience in commercial litigation, trade secrets, products liability, pharmaceutical, medical device, and toxic tort litigation. In 2020, she was the Democratic nominee for the Texas Railroad Commission.

Loren Steffy is a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly, an executive producer for Rational Middle Media and a managing director for 30 Point Strategies, where he heads the 30 Point Press publishing imprint. He is the author of five nonfiction books, including (with Stan Marek) Deconstructed: An Insider’s View of Illegal Immigration and the Building Trades, (with Chrysta Castañeda) The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens, and George P. Mitchell: Fracking, Sustainability, and an Unorthodox Quest to Save the Planet. His first novel, The Big Empty, was published in May 2021. 

Steffy is the former business columnist for the Houston Chronicle and previously was the Dallas (and Houston) bureau chief and a senior writer for Bloomberg News. His award-winning writing has been published in newspapers and other publications worldwide. He lives in Wimberley with his wife, three dogs and an ungrateful cat.

Prior to joining Hunt Utility Services, Doré spent eight years as in-house counsel at Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH), including serving as executive vice president and general counsel of EFH for the last four years. Doré was a trial lawyer with Vinson & Elkins LLP for 11 years before joining EFH. Doré received her juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1997. She graduated summa cum laude in 1993 from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, where she earned a B.A. in Journalism