FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson announced Thursday, June 28, 2018, that he plans to resign from FERC in mid-August 2018 to become president and CEO of the National Association of Water Companies, a trade group for the private water industry.
Prior to his arrival at FERC, Commissioner Powelson served on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, including as its Chairman from 2011 until 2015, and as president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Commissioner Powelson was nominated by President Trump in May 2017 and confirmed by the Senate in August 2017 for a term previously held by Philip Moeller, who left FERC in October 2015 (see May 18, 2015 edition of the WER). His swearing-in last August ended a six-month period during which the Commission was without a quorum of three Commissioners or more. Commissioner Powelson’s term was not set to expire until June 30, 2020. His departure will leave FERC evenly split with two Republicans, Chairman Kevin McIntyre and Neil Chatterjee, and two Democrats, Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick.
In a statement posted to FERC’s website, Powelson thanked the President and Senate for nominating and confirming him, and his colleagues at FERC for their support, stating that “[i]t has been the honor of a lifetime to serve our great nation as a FERC Commissioner.”
Commissioner Powelson’s resignation comes at an interesting time for FERC, as it considers the natural gas Certificate Policy Statement (see April 23, 2018 edition of the WER), grid reliability/resilience proceedings, and highly contested natural gas certificate proceedings. With respect to the latter, it remains to be seen how a four-Commissioner FERC will impact certificate proceedings going forward, given the recent dissents and concurrences issued by Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick (see May 29, 2018 edition of the WER).
Powelson’s statement is available here.