Azar to leave Public Service Commission to join U.S. Department of Energy
For Immediate Release – Monday May 23, 2011
Contact: Matthew Pagel, (608) 266-9600
Azar to Leave Public Service Commission to Join United States Department of Energy
Today, Public Service Commissioner Lauren Azar informed Governor Walker and Public Service Commission Chairman Phil Montgomery of her resignation from the Public Service Commission to work as Senior Advisor to Secretary Steven Chu at the United States Department of Energy in Washington, D.C.
“It has been a great honor to serve the people of Wisconsin for the past four years,” said Commissioner Azar. “While I look forward to the challenges of serving the nation, I will look back to Wisconsin fondly. This is one of the greatest laboratories of regulatory policy, and I will be taking with me to Washington my Wisconsin sensibility and commitment to the public interest,” Azar continued.
Secretary Chu has asked Commissioner Azar to drive the administration’s initiatives on the electric transmission grid. Commissioner Azar will work with industry, states, and other federal agencies to facilitate the development our nation’s electrical infrastructure; an infrastructure that will keep our nation competitive in the global economy with an engine fueled by independent and clean energy. Her initial work will be focused on the transmission grid, transmission-related technologies (such as energy storage) and on the federal power marketing administrations.
While at the Wisconsin PSC, Commissioner Azar was recognized as an independent, fair and strong regulator with a command of the utility industry, working to protect ratepayers as well as the financial integrity of Wisconsin’s public utilities. During her tenure, Commissioner Azar led an in-depth study on the potential for developing wind generation on the Great Lakes and served as the President of the OMS, which is the Organization of MISO States. As OMS President, Azar led two processes that resulted in a FERC-approved tariff that allocates the cost of new transmission developments in the Midwest. Commissioner Azar also co-founded and served as the first President of the Eastern Interconnection States’ Planning Council, a 39-state collaboration on transmission planning. As Commissioner, Azar was appointed by Secretary Chu to serve as Vice Chair of the DOE’s Electricity Advisory Council.
“I would like to applaud Commissioner Azar on her federal appointment and express thanks for her service at the Public Service Commission” said Chairperson Montgomery. “Commissioner Azar has worked diligently to protect the ratepayers as well as the public utilities of Wisconsin. Her hard work and dedication will be missed at the PSC but will be a great asset at the United States Department of Energy.”
“Congratulations to Commissioner Azar on her federal appointment” said Commissioner Eric Callisto. “Her intellect, her work ethic, and her skills at coalition building were of great benefit to Wisconsin, and they will well serve the nation in her new position.”
Commissioner Azar’s resignation is effective at the close-of-business on June 3, 2011. Appointed by Governor Doyle in 2008, her term was set to expire in March of 2013.