AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that Dr. Bruce Williamson, an economist at the University of Tennessee’s Howard Baker Center for Public Policy, has been nominated as Commissioner of the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). If approved by the Legislature, Williamson would join engineer and Commission Chair Mark Vannoy, and attorney Carlisle McClean, at the Commission.
In addition to his role as senior economist at the Howard Baker Center, Dr. Williamson has served as a research professor at the University’s College of Business Administration; a lecturer in advanced data analytics; and as a senior economist at the National Defense Business Institute. Prior to 2009, Dr. Williamson held various high level positions in technology, utility, telecommunications, and economic modeling firms.
“Maine is very fortunate to have such highly talented professionals working on the state’s complex energy issues,” states Governor Paul LePage. “We are excited that Dr. Williamson is willing to come to Maine to help us address our unique energy challenges and high energy costs.”
The Governor’s sentiments are echoed by Dr. Williamson’s present and former colleagues.
“As a former state commissioner, I know how important it is to have creative and intelligent individuals working on addressing energy challenges. I’m excited for Bruce and the state of Maine; you will have a high caliber economist working on these issues.” — Suedeen Kelly, former Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner, nominated by both President Bush and Obama, and former Chair and Commissioner, New Mexico Public Service Commission
“While we will miss Bruce Williamson at the Howard Baker Center, we are ecstatic for Bruce and his nomination. The State of Maine is lucky to have an individual of his caliber be considered for the Public Utilities Commission. I have found Bruce to be intelligent, professional, and creative and I am encouraged that he will be working to address energy and environmental challenges.” — Dr. Howard Hall, Senior Fellow and Director of Global Security Programs, The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy
Williamson earned his PhD in economics at the University of New Mexico; holds an M.A. in International Relations from the Korbel School of International Studies in Colorado; and has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University.
The MPUC regulates electric, natural gas, telecommunications and water utilities to ensure that Maine consumers enjoy safe, adequate and reliable services at rates that are just and reasonable for both consumers and utilities. The Commission oversees emerging competitive markets for some of these services. The Commission also regulates water taxis and ferries in Casco Bay, and promotes safe digging through the Dig Safe underground utility damage prevention program.
“I encourage the Legislature to move swiftly on this nomination and base their consideration on the merits and qualifications of Dr. Williamson. There is important work to do at the MPUC and I have the utmost confidence he will serve the people of Maine well,” added Governor LePage.
Williamson would replace outgoing Commissioner David Littell. He will appear before the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology in the upcoming weeks. A date has not yet been scheduled.