It has been widely reported that President Donald J. Trump is preparing to nominate three new commissioners to fill existing vacancies at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The prospective nominees are Kevin J. McIntyre, Neil Chatterjee, and Robert F. Powelson. A little bit about each:
Kevin McIntyre is co-head of the energy practice of Jones Day. Kevin began his career as a colleague of mine in the Washington, DC office of Reid & Priest, and has had broad experience in regulation of both natural gas pipelines and electric public utilities by the FERC. He and I are both co-authors of a book entitled “The Electric Power Purchasing Handbook” which provided practical strategies for electric supplier-purchase relationships.
Neil Chatterjee, a native of Kentucky, has been an aide to Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell since 2009 and, in particular, has helped support the Senator’s efforts on behalf of the coal industry. Prior to joining Senator McConnell’s staff, Neil was a lobbyist for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Robert Powelson has been a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission since 2008. Bob was Chairman of the PPUC from 2011 until 2015, and currently serves as President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). As President of NARUC, Bob has emphasized infrastructure replacement and nuclear waste as key energy issues that must be tackled.
The FERC has been operating without a quorum since the resignation of former Commissioner Norman Bay in early February 2017, and several U.S. Senators have written to President Trump to encourage him to expedite restoration of the quorum with qualified nominees so that it can resume fulfillment of its regulatory responsibilities. Nevertheless, the time required for completion of the vetting process and final confirmation of these candidates by the Senate is uncertain.