Tom Welch is Chair Emeritus of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
Steve Mitnick is Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly and President of Lines Up, Inc.
PUF: You served three terms at the Commission. The first started in '93 and you came back in 2011. What was that like?
Chair Emeritus Welch: I served two six-year terms starting in 1993 and was gone for the equivalent of a full term. Then I came back for three and a half years for another stint.
It was exciting. We spent a good deal of time during the first term working through important regulatory restructurings of both the telephone and electric industries.
Over the sixteen years I was a commissioner, the telephone industry completely transformed from what's been a traditionally regulated industry into one that was dominated by competition and where the old incumbent has a modest market share.
In the electric industry, New England was out front in restructuring and bringing some competition, particularly in the generation side, into the market. At the state regulatory level, it's been bringing competition all the way down to retail level, occupying a good deal of our time.
PUF: You left in 2005 and returned in 2011. When you came back for the third term was it different?