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News Analysis

A leaner bureaucracy sharpens its market-monitoring tools.
Fortnightly Magazine - March 15 2002

on either the FPC or FERC, believes the current commission has assumed an even greater public profile. "I think there's a little more political hype today," she says. "I think that will die down. It goes in cycles."

Oliver "Rick" Richard, a commissioner from 1982 to 1985 who later led Columbia Energy Group out of bankruptcy, agrees that FERC's public profile depends on the politics of the day. "The commission was in emergency mode in 1977 as it has been since the California energy crisis," Richard says.

For those middle-aged readers out there, it may seem just like yesterday-and a few less gray hairs ago-when Congress passed the Department of Energy Organization Act creating the agency. At the time, President Carter was attempting to manage the effects of stagflation, energy "shortages," and a blackout in New York when his administration named James Schlesinger the first head of DOE and Curtis, a holdover from the FPC, the first chairman of the semi-autonomous FERC.

Since October 1977, 26 members have served on the commission. In those 25 years, two members have died: Don Smith, another holdover from the FPC, died in 1993, and Raymond O'Connor, a chairman from the mid-1980s, died in 1995.

The general focus of the commission for the past quarter century has been a gradual restructuring of the transmission sector of the electric and gas industries as well as hydro-electric licensing and oil pipeline tariff issues. Out of its series of rulings in the late 1970s and 1980s emerged a thriving energy-trading sector that helped spur Enron and other energy marketers to great heights in the 1990s.

Where Are They Now?

Pat Wood , 2001-present.

Nora Mead Brownell , 2001-present.

Linda Breathitt , 1997-present.

Curt Hébert , 1997-2001, executive vice president of external affairs for Entergy in New Orleans.

William Massey , 1993-present.

James Hoecker , 1993-2001, partner in the law office of Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman in Washington, D.C.

Vicky Bailey , 1993-2000, assistant secretary for international affairs and domestic policy at DOE in Washington, D.C.

Donald Santa , 1993-1997, partner in the law office of Troutman Sanders in Washington, D.C.

Branko Terzic , 1990-1993, director of regulatory services at Deloitte & Touche in Vienna, Va.

Martin Allday , 1989-1993, attorney in the law office of Scott, Douglass & McConnico in Austin, Texas.

Elizabeth Moler , 1988-1997, senior vice president for government affairs and policy at Exelon in Washington, D.C.

Jerry Langdon , 1988-1993, president of El Paso's EPGT Texas Pipeline in Houston.

Martha Hesse , 1986-1989, president of Hesse Gas in Dallas.

Charles Trabandt , 1985-1993, vice president in the electric utility restructuring and strategy practice of Charles River Associates in Washington, D.C.

Clifford "Mike" Naeve , 1985-1988, partner in the law office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Washington, D.C.

Charles Stalon , 1984-1988, independent energy regulatory consultant in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Raymond O'Connor , 1983-1988, member of New York Public Service Commission at time of death in 1995.

Oliver "Rick" Richard , 1982-1985, former Columbia Energy Group chairman, president and CEO.

Anthony Sousa ,