Key Energy Appointments

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Oct. 17, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The recall of Gray Davis and the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger will have a significant impact on the governing boards of the state's energy agencies, although not immediately. The new governor will get to make a few energy-related appointments in the next fourteen months but then several more in 2005 as Davis appointees’ terms expire.

Independent System Operator
The first vacancy may occur at the ISO, the public-benefit corporation that is responsible for the reliability of the state's electric grid, depending on the actions of the Senate. The most recent appointee to the ISO Board of Governors, Frank Miramonte, has yet to be confirmed by the Senate. Gov. Davis has asked Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton (D-San Francisco) to schedule a special meeting of the Senate to confirm various Davis appointees to boards and commissions although it is unclear at this point whether Sen. Burton will agree to the governor's request. If not, the new governor will be able to withdraw Miramonte’s nomination to the ISO Board of Governors and choose a replacement, subject to Senate confirmation sometime next year.

Carl Guardino’s term on the ISO governing board expires at the end of this year, with two more seats opening up at the end of 2004, which would give the new governor a majority on the board, and perhaps an additional seat if Miramonte is not confirmed prior to Schwarzenegger taking office.

Energy Commission
The first vacancy occurs at the end of this year when Commissioner Robert Pernell’s term expires. Pernell, a Democrat, was appointed to the Energy Commission by Gov. Davis in June, 1999.

The new governor is also allowed to name the chair of the Energy Commission but must choose either his new appointee or from among the remaining commissioners. Although there have been no indications thus far from the Schwarzenegger camp, it is entirely possibly and even likely that the new governor will ask the current chairman, William J. Keese, to stay at his post. Keese, originally appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1997 and reappointed by Gov. Davis, enjoys bi-partisan support.

Public Utilities Commission
The first vacancies occur at the end of 2004 when Commissioners Carl Wood and Loretta Lynch’s terms expire.

The eventual departure of Wood and Lynch will have a significant impact on PUC policies, and put the Commission on a more centrist footing. Lynch and Wood are unabashed advocates of re-regulating energy markets, and have frequently been at odds with the business community in numerous proceedings at the PUC, including direct access.

In the meantime, Lynch and Wood will be around for the numerous important proceedings taking shape and reaching fruition in 2004, including the Southern California Gas BCAP proceeding (cost allocation, rate design) and the all-important Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison general rate cases (revenue allocation, rate design), among others.

Similar to the Energy Commission, the new governor is entitled to name the president of the PUC from among the five commissioners. The current president, Michael R. Peevey, a Democrat, was appointed by Gov. Davis in 2002. In striking contrast to his predecessor as president, Loretta Lynch, Peevey favors a more balanced approach, and one less averse to business interests. For these reasons, and the fact he can only choose from among the current membership, it is a distinct possibility the new governor will retain Peevey as president.

Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority
Chairman S. David Freeman's term expires in August, 2004, although he could be replaced as chair before then. The next vacancy after Freeman occurs in 2007 when Commissioner Sunne McPeak’s current term expires.

Electricity Oversight Board
The first vacancy occurs at the end of this year when William D. Kissinger’s term runs out. Chairwoman Nancy McFadden’s term expires on Dec. 31, 2004. As is the case with the other energy agencies, the governor could choose a different chair from among the current members of the board before then.
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