IN APRIL 1997, AFTER FOUR YEARS AS A COMMISSIONER WITH the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Donald F. Santa, Jr. announced that he would leave the public sector at the expiration of his term and join LG&E Energy Corp. as vice president and deputy general counsel. Included among his first assignments at LG&E was management of legal matters for LG&E Marketing, the national energy marketing subsidiary of LG&E Corp.
Roger Hale, chairman and CEO for LG&E Energy, praised Santa as "instrumental" in shaping the nation's energy policy and in "writing the ground rules for competition" in the energy industry.
Santa had begun his stint at the FERC when the commission was working hard at implementing Order No. 636, the natural gas restructuring rule, and thus had received an early grounding in gas issues. Later, when the FERC began tackling electric restructuring under its eventual Order 888, Santa drew on his gas experience, which he said gave him insight on gas-electric convergence issues. As he was fond of saying, "I was converging when converging wasn't cool."
As for his move to the private sector, Santa saw it as a chance to keep up with industry changes. "I have had the unique opportunity to be a member of the FERC during one of the most exciting periods in the agency's history," he noted. "Still, regulation is to some degree removed from the reality of the marketplace¼ Consequently, I am excited at the prospect of getting outside the Beltway¼ where the real changes are occurring."