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For Immediate Release: November 29, 2012
Contact: Robert J. Thormeyer, 202-898-9382, rthormeyer@naruc.org

Pennsylvania's Powelson Named Chair of NARUC Water Committee

WASHINGTON—National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President Philip Jones of Washington named Commissioner Robert F. Powelson of Pennsylvania as Chair of the Association’s Committee on Water.

The Committee on Water seeks to increase awareness and understanding about the issues surrounding uses and reuses of water and wastewater. Through policy resolutions, panel discussions, and participation in high-level events, the Committee works closely with several agency and stakeholder groups, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Association of Water Companies, and the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators.

Commissioner Powelson, currently serving as co-vice chairman of the Committee, replaces outgoing Committee Chair John “Butch” Howard of South Carolina, whose term expired. NARUC committee chairs can serve up to three successive one-year terms. In addition, Commissioners Patricia Acampora of New York and Alaina Burtenshaw of Nevada will serve as the committee’s Co-Vice Chairs.

“Ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of water utility services is our number one priority as State regulators,” NARUC President Jones said. “The need to replace and upgrade our water infrastructure is a monumental and essential task. Yet we must do so in a way that does not overburden our consumers. Chairman Powelson is stepping up to serve as a crucial time, and I look forward to working with him in his new capacity. I also want to thank Commissioner Howard for his unwavering service to NARUC and the nation’s consumers. We are all better off because of his leadership.”

“Water literally touches everything and everybody in this country,” said Chairman Powelson. “We face tremendous challenges as we seek ways to ensure the continued level of service our consumers demand. From new environmental regulations to a growing interdependency between water and energy, there is no shortage of issues that this committee will discuss. In particular, we will reach out to the safe-drinking water officials at the EPA to better understand their new regulations, and so they can better understand us. Finally, we will reinvigorate our ongoing focus on the continuing challenge of small, under-capitalized investor-owned water utilities and how best to promote consolidation where appropriate. I thank President Jones for this opportunity, Commissioner Howard for his service, and am anxious to get started.”

Commissioner Powelson serves as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. He was first nominated to the PUC in June 2008 and reappointed for a full five-year term a year later. He was named Chair of the commission in February 2011. Within NARUC, Chairman Powelson serves on the Association’s Board of Directors, the Committee on Critical Infrastructure, and the Subcommittee on Nuclear Issues-Waste Disposal.

“I look forward to continuing my service as a Co-Vice Chair of the Water Committee,” said Commissioner Acampora. “The utility industry is evolving at a rapid pace, but our focus as regulators remains the same: to ensure water utilities meet the needs of all consumers.”

“I am excited about this opportunity to serve and articulate the regional needs of water consumers in the West,” said Commissioner Burtenshaw. “Obviously water is a critically important issue in Nevada and the desert Southwest. I look forward to working with Chair Powelson and the excellent staff on the subcommittee.”

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NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC's member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of State public utility commissions before the three branches of the Federal government.

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