Paul Afonso is Co-Practice Leader of the Firm’s Energy, Utilities and Environmental Group, and also leads the Boston Government Law and Strategies Group. With 20 years of energy, legislative and regulatory experience and a strong background in international trade law, Paul is noted for his expertise in regulatory policies and legislation related to electricity, gas, water, cable television, telecommunications, pipeline engineering and safety, railway, trucking and bus services.
Paul served as Chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE) from 2003 to 2005, and remained on the DTE board as a commissioner until joining Brown Rudnick in June 2006. While at the DTE, Paul also served as Chairman of the Energy Facilities Siting Board, the agency charged with reviewing major generation, electric transmission, gas storage facilities and certain gas pipelines. This agency also represents the Commonwealth before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on projects within Massachusetts that are subject to that agency's jurisdiction. As Chairman, he oversaw the review of a key petition for the Cape Wind project, the nation's first major off-shore wind project. He also led the review of a major infrastructure project with a 345 kV electric transmission line into the greater Boston area.
Paul is also the former General Counsel for the Massachusetts DTE, where he acted as chief legal and policy advisor to the chairman and commissioners. In this role, he helped oversee state regulatory policies, governing rates and quality of service for electric generation, gas supply, telecommunications, cable television and transportation.
Complementing his background in state matters, Paul brings extensive experience in federal regulatory issues. He has served as legislative liaison to federal regulatory agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Assisting the Office of the Attorney General, he has also defended DTE orders on appeal before the Supreme Judicial Court and federal courts.
Prior to joining the DTE, Paul was in private practice and served as General Counsel to The Bristol Group, Inc. in Washington D.C. He practiced in the areas of commercial and international trade law with an emphasis on joint venture projects, trade litigation and legislative counseling. He represented both domestic and multinational clients before administrative agencies, federal and state courts as well as before the legislative and executive branches of government.
Paul is fluent in Portuguese and is actively involved in the Portuguese community.
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