Steve Mitnick is Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly and President of Lines Up, Inc.
Temps had reached the low seventies over the weekend in the Washington D.C. area, where Public Utilities Fortnightly is based. So when I found myself on Tuesday driving a rental car from Portland to Augusta, Maine in a blizzard, I did — admittedly — question my sanity. But for just a moment of weakness while on that snow-blanketed highway.
Then I came to. For I was heading to the Maine Public Utilities Commission, to spend a couple of days talking with the Commissioners and Staff. This would be well worth the trip. There's nothing else more enjoyable for the editor-in-chief of PUF than visiting with state commissions on their home turf — or snowfield — to highlight and celebrate the foundation of utility regulation: the people of our commissions.
In this land of stunningly beautiful waters and forests sits the Maine PUC, in the historic Hallowell House, constructed in 1832. Over the years, guests at its renowned dining room included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Daniel Webster. It's an inspiring building to do the work of utility regulation in the public interest.
While there, I sat down with the three Commissioners and seven senior members of Staff. Ten great conversations, as the below attests to. Per the recommendations of my new friends in Augusta, once I returned to the warmer climes of Washington, I talked with a former Chair as well, his interview making this article an even eleven.
Interviews with A Day (Two Actually) at the Maine PUC:
- Chair Mark Vannoy
- Commissioner Randy Davis
- Commissioner Bruce Williamson
- Faith Huntington, Director for Electric and Gas
- Jeff McNelly, Director for Telecom and Water
- Mitch Tannenbaum, General Counsel
- Maria Jacques, Director for Emergency Communications
- Derek Davidson, Director for Consumer Assistance and Safety
- Harry Lanphear, Director for Administration
- Paulina Collins, Legislative Liaison
- Chair Emeritus Tom Welch