Maine Public Utilities Commission
Public Utilities Commission
242 State Street
Augusta, Maine 04333-0018
Website: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT: Phillip Lindley, 207.287.1598, email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2005
Maine PUC Chairman Leaves
Chairman Welch To Depart April 1, 2005
AUGUSTA, MAINE – Tom Welch, chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission since 1993, yesterday submitted his resignation to Governor Baldacci. Tom will remain at the commission through April 1, 2005.
Chairman Welch was first appointed by Governor McKernan in 1993, and was re-appointed to a second six-year term by Governor King in 1999.
“It has been a great challenge, pleasure and privilege to serve on the commission for these past 12 years,” Welch said. “I have been especially fortunate to have had engaged, knowledgeable, and hard working oversight committees at the legislature throughout my tenure. My colleagues over the years – Elizabeth Hughes, Bill Nugent, Heather Hunt, Steve Diamond, and Sharon Reishus – have been superb to work with. Without their high standards and skills, and willingness to work together to craft effective solutions, the efforts we have made to bring efficiency and affordability to utility services in Maine would not have been successful. Most of the credit for anything I have achieved here, however, must go to the commission staff. Our staff is extraordinarily hardworking and capable, and is rightly the envy of commissions throughout the country.”
During chairman Welch’s tenure, major changes have occurred in the regulation of utilities in Maine. The electricity industry was fundamentally restructured by the legislature, and changes in federal law dramatically accelerated the introduction of competition into the telecommunications sector. The legislature also gave the commission a number of new tasks, including administration of underground facility damage prevention (Dig Safe); electricity and other energy conservation (Efficiency Maine); and oversight of the E-911 Bureau.
“I believe there are a number of areas where the commission can look back with pride on our work over the past several years,” Welch said. “While we have improved the efficiency of telephone pricing, we retain the highest penetration rate for basic telephone service in the country. We have been able to bring the benefits of increased competition in the electric sector to all of Maine’s customers, and at the same time have created regulatory structures for electric utilities that have produced greater efficiency – and lower prices – for delivery. The Maine School and Library network, first established by the commission several years ago, remains a model for ensuring that the access to the Internet is available to all our citizens in all of our communities. Our policies have encouraged the development of the natural gas infrastructure. Finally, we have managed to perform our core tasks without increasing the cost of our operation.”
Welch concluded: “While it is very difficult to leave my co-workers and friends on all sides of the issues we have faced, I have full confidence that my colleagues and staff, together with whomever Governor Baldacci appoints as my successor, will preserve the high standards and reputation of the commission.”
For more information:
All PUC News Releases may be found on our website at: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/staying_informed/news/press_release.shtml
To arrange an interview with Chairman Welch or Commissioners Diamond or Reishus, please contact Phillip Lindley at 207.287.1598 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Commission’s website may be accessed through the Maine School and Library Network at all public libraries in Maine.