Oregon's chief utility regulator resigns abruptly
- Lisa Hardie, chair of the Oregon Public Utilities Commission, abruptly resigned on Friday less than two years after being appointed to the job.
- Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. has selected Meghan Decker to serve as Chair; the attorney was named commissioner in April 2017. The Oregonian reports the state's PUC has previously operated with just two members, and the Senate's next chance for a confirmation would be in May.
- Hardie did not provide a reason for her resignation. Her departure comes as regulators are wrestling with how major utilities in the state should expand their renewables portfolios.
The Oregonian reports Hardie left for unforeseen "personal reasons," though she will stay on for a transition period.
Hardie had almost two decades of experience as an energy attorney and previously served as an administrative law judge for the PUC, before being selected to lead the commission. Before coming to the PUC, Hardie worked with the California parties "seeking recovery of refunds to ratepayers due to the California energy crisis," according to her bio.
Hardie will be replaced by Decker, who has come to the commission from a renewables advocacy background. She managed utility commission advocacy in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana as a lawyer for Renewable Northwest. Decker also previously chaired the NW Energy Coalition.
Among proceedings currently at the commission, regulators are considering a $3 billion wind energy proposal from PacifiCorp. Last year, the utility proposed investing in 1.2 GW of wind, with a long-term plan that includes more than 3 GW of renewable resources. Portland General Electric last year reduced its proposed $1 billion wind procurement by 40% and proposed mechanisms to protect ratepayers from above market costs.
- Tri-City Herald Chair of Oregon utility commission quits in middle of term
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