January 5th, 2010 5:33 pm | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

Kulongoski Fills Public Utility Commission Spot, Names New Chairman

Biglow Canyon

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has named utility lawyer Susan Ackerman to a vacancy on the Public Utility Commission, his staff confirmed today.

Ackerman and former State Rep. Greg Macpherson (D-Lake Oswego) had been finalists for the slot, created when Lee Beyer resigned in November as PUC chair to run again for the Legislature by seeking his old Senate seat. Ackerman, who formerly worked for NW Natural and the BPA, has most recently worked in private practice and frequently appeared before the PUC.

The three-member commission approves utility rates but also plays an increasingly important policy role as renewable energy becomes a key part of both the state's economic and political decisions.

Kulongoski also re-appointed PUC member John Savage to another term. Savage joined the PUC in 2003 for a partial term and his first full term expired last March. His re-appointment hung in the balance for some time but he gets another four years.

Kulongoski also elevated Commissioner Ray Baum, a former Republican lawmaker, to replace Beyer as PUC chairman.
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