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Thorvald Nelson


555 17th Street, Suite 3200, Denver, CO 80202

Thor uses his decades of experience to help clients successfully navigate the spectrum of electric, natural gas, telecommunications and other public utility regulatory matters.

Thor’s clients include large electric consumers and electric consumer coalitions, independent power producers, renewable energy developers, independent transmission developers, competitive local exchange carriers, cable companies, rural local exchange carriers, natural gas local distribution companies, pipelines, water utilities, and utility consumer organizations.

Thor has appeared before state utility regulatory commissions throughout the Mountain West representing clients in contested cases and rulemakings. He has also represented clients on matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Federal Communication Commission, and in state and federal courts.

Outside of the contested proceeding environment, Thor represents clients in transactional matters involving service and interconnection agreements with public utilities. Thor helps developers proactively manage utility regulatory issues associated with electric generation and transmission projects and oil and gas pipelines. He also has extensive experience working with and appearing before state legislatures on electric, natural gas, and telecommunications issues.

Thor’s clients value the industry understanding he gained from serving as an economist with the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel, where he served as a testifying expert on regulatory law and policy. He was a member of federal and state bodies responsible for economic and policy recommendations to regulators, including the Staff of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service.

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Provides counsel and advocacy in virtually all aspects of utility regulatory, legislative, and energy and telecommunications-related matters involving:

  • Rate cases
  • Tariff issues
  • Compliance issues
  • Certificates (CPCN) and registrations
  • Service quality matters
  • Resource planning
  • Transmission planning
  • Electric, natural gas, and telecommunications infrastructure development
  • Line Extensions
  • Qualifying facilities
  • Siting
  • Interconnection
  • Power purchase agreements
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Demand side management
  • Legislation
  • Cooperative utilities
  • Municipal utilities

Client Results

  • Saved hundreds of millions of dollars for ratepayers as lead advocate on behalf of large electric consumers and coalitions in Colorado (Colorado Energy Consumers), Idaho, Montana (Montana Large Customer Group), Nevada, New Mexico (New Mexico Large Customer Group), and Wyoming (Wyoming Industrial Energy Consumers) in electric regulatory proceedings before their respective utility commissions and the FERC over the past twenty years. Coalition members include numerous Fourtune-50, 100, and 500 companies.
  • Represented Fortune-100 telecommunications provider in regulatory matters in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah for nearly twenty years including securing the first CPCN ever in Utah for a competitive telecommunications carrier seeking to serve in an area where the incumbent is a rural carrier.
  • Represented Fourtune-1000 natural gas utility in Colorado including successfully prosecuting multitudes of rate and tariff filings for over 15 years.


Bar Admissions


  • The Best Lawyers in America© Communications Law, 2007-2023
  • Denver Business Journal, "40 Under 40," 2007
  • Leadership Denver, Class of 2006

Professional and Civic Affiliations

  • Colorado Humanities (Board Chair, Chair of Development and Program Committees, Board Member) 2014-present
  • Energy Share Montana (Endowment Committee Chair, Board Member) 2010-present
  • St. Clare’s Ministries (Board President, Board Member) 2012-2018
  • Colorado Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, Member, Appointed in 2009 by Governor Ritter
  • Colorado Air Quality Control Commissioner, Appointed by Governor Owens and confirmed by the Colorado Senate, 2006-2007
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Colorado Bar Association, Member
  • Denver and Arapahoe County Bar Associations, Member

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