- The New York Senate confirmed three new commissioners to fill vacant seats at the Public Service Commission, bringing it to full capacity.
- The new chairman, John Rhodes, previously served as president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, where he helped develop clean energy policy supporting state renewables and emissions goals.
- The Senate also confirmed James Alesi and Philip Wilcox to serve as PSC commissioners, and reconfirmed Diane Burman for another six-year term. Those seats had been vacant following the departure of PSC Chairman Audrey Zibelman and Patricia Acampora, and a third seat was never filled after former Chair Garry Brown's term expired February 2015.
The New York PSC has five seats, and following the Senate confirmations is now operating at full strength. The fifth member, Gregg Sayre, was appointed in 2012 and his term runs through Feb. 1, 2018.
The commission has been spearheading the state's Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding, which was launched under former PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman's tenure. The initiative is seeking to reimagine the state's utility sector, making it cleaner and more resilient, more customer-focused and with modernized business models.
Zibelman's and Acampora's departure left the Commission without a quorum, but the agency could continue to make regulatory decisions until all positions were filled.
The PSC's new chair, Rhodes, has a background in clean energy. He was a member of senior management at Good Energies, an investment firm focused on renewable energy and efficiency, and served as director for the Center for Market Innovation at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Rhodes said he would continue the PSC's focus on "building an energy system that is affordable, cleaner, and more resilient through the greater use of renewable energy and energy efficiency."
Former chair Zibbelman is now head of AEMO, the Australian Energy Market Operator, which manages the country's gas and electricity markets and power systems.