Brown names two to Public Utilities Commission
January 25, 2011
• A consumer advocate and a Rhodes Scholar are picked
• Third vacancy remains to be filled
The California Public Utilities Commission has gained a quorum -- and perhaps a new direction -- with the appointments Tuesday of two new members.
Mike Florio, 58, of Oakland, who has worked as the senior attorney for The Utility Reform Network since 1978, is one of the new members.
Catherine Sandoval, 50, of Campbell, an associate professor at Santa Clara University School of Law since 2004 and a Rhodes Scholar, is the other.
They fill two of the three vacancies on the five-member board. Mr. Brown has not made a final decision on a third appointee at this time, a spokesman says.
Members Dian Grueneich and John Bohn left the PUC when their terms expired in December. Member Nancy Ryan was appointed deputy director of the CPUC by Mr. Brown last week, moving her into a staff position and off the board.
The appointments might change the tenor of the PUC, which has been criticized as too friendly to the utilities it is supposed to regulate.
Mr. Florio is a member of California Conference of Public Utility Counsel. He was also a member of the board of governors of the California Independent System Operator from 1997 to 2005.
Ms. Sandoval previously served as undersecretary and senior policy advisor for housing with the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 2001 to 2004. She was vice president and general counsel with Z-Spanish Media Corporation from 1999 to 2001 and was the director of the Office of Communications Business Opportunities for the Federal Communications Commission from 1994 to 1999.
Both appointments require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $128,109. Both Ms. Sandoval and Mr. Florio are Democrats.