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For Immediate Release: July 15, 2013
Contact: Robert J. Thormeyer, 202-898-9382, rthormeyer@naruc.org

Missouri PSC Chair Kenney Tapped to Lead Energy, Environment Committee

WASHINGTON—National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President Philip Jones of Washington tapped Missouri Public Service Commission Chair Robert Kenney to lead the Association’s Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment, effective Aug. 1.

Chair Kenney, who currently serves as a co-vice chair of the group, will replace current Committee Chair Jeanne Fox of New Jersey, whose term expires at the end of the month. President Jones also appointed Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman of Maryland as Co-Vice Chair, who will join sitting Co-Vice Chair Jim Gardner of Kentucky.

Commissioner Fox will preside over the ERE Committee deliberations during the July 21-24 NARUC Summer Committee Meetings in Denver.

The Energy Resources and the Environment (ERE) Committee serves as a venue for State utility regulators to discuss ways for providing utility customers with environmentally sustainable and affordable energy services, with a particular focus on energy efficiency, renewable and distributed resources, consumer protection, and low-income weatherization and assistance. The committee works with stakeholders from all over the utility spectrum, including environmental groups, federal agencies, utility executives, and consumer advocates.

“My thanks to Chair Kenney for agreeing to serve his fellow commissioners in this capacity,” said President Jones. “Our nation’s utility industry is at a turning point as cleaner, more efficient fuels become part of the energy mix. As economic regulators, our members play a key role in this transition, ensuring rates remain affordable and the power remains reliable. Greenhouse gas emission reductions and environmental regulations are increasingly driving long-term decisions by commissioners on our future electric resource portfolios. This committee plays a vital role in educating and informing us about such issues and the often difficult judgments regulators need to make. Commissioner Kenney knows well how these changes will affect consumers, and I am grateful for service.”

“I also want to salute the work of our outgoing Chair Fox,” President Jones continued. “Her inclusive leadership broadened our members’ understandings of these issues. She also worked tirelessly to reach across party and philosophical lines in order to better improve regulation. Ratepayers in New Jersey and the nation are better off because of her efforts.”

“I am humbled not only by the opportunity to lead this important committee, but to follow Commissioner Fox’s footsteps,” Chair Kenney said. “The ERE committee is focused on some of the most pressing challenges facing our country: climate, energy efficiency, consumer assistance, and renewable development. I can think of no better place to address these than through NARUC and this committee. I look forward to working with Commissioners Gardner and Speakes-Backman, and members of the ERE team.”

Chair Kenney was appointed to the Missouri Public Service Commission in July 2009. He became chair of the commission in March 2013. He is an active NARUC member through his service on the Association’s ERE and Consumer Affairs committees. He is also a member of the Energy Bar Association.

Prior to his appointment to the PSC, Chair Kenney served as Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's first Chief of Staff. In that position, he was instrumental in leading the office through the transition process. He was responsible for overall management of the Office of the Attorney General’s employees in five offices throughout the State. 

“I congratulate Chair Kenney and look forward to working with him, Co-Vice Chair Gardner and my colleagues on these crucial issues,” said Commissioner Speakes-Backman. “I am pleased and honored to have an opportunity to co-chair the ERE Committee. During my tenure, I hope to continue the thoughtful discussions and build on the group’s momentum.”

“I add my congratulations to Chair Kenney,” said Commissioner Gardner. “I’ve served on the ERE Committee for a number of years and know firsthand how this group confronts significant challenges. Commissioner Kenney has the right team in place to address these situations. I also want to thank Commissioner Fox for her leadership.”

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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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