In October, Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, announced that he was stepping down from his position in December.
On Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown nominated one of his own former advisers, Michael Picker, to head the utilities commission and replace Peevey. Picker has been a CPUC commissioner since January. Picker has advised Brown, as well as former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, on energy and was on the board of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
Brown also named Liane Randolph, a general counsel at the California Natural Resources Agency, as a CPUC commissioner.
Peevey's resignation was helped along by an investigation into the overly cozy and influence-filled relationship between regulators and utility executives at Pacific Gas and Electric. The website SFGate quoted Tom Long, a lawyer with The Utility Reform Network, as saying, “This is nothing less than quid pro quo deal-making with ratepayer dollars." He continued, “I honestly have never seen such smoking-gun evidence of corruption at the highest levels of the commission.” A CPUC spokesperson "denied that...Peevey had promised anything to PG&E in exchange for regulatory favors."
Both nominees are Democrats and require state Senate approval.
The CPUC also announced that Timothy Sullivan will serve as interim executive director. Sullivan has served at the CPUC for 26 years, most recently as Acting Chief Administrative Law Judge. Sullivan replaces the retiring Paul Clanon.
John Clapp, former Citigroup managing partner, has joined Empower Energies as CFO. Empower Energies develops and finances solar and cogen projects, as well as EV charging sites. Jigar Shah is on the board of the firm. Empower’s major shareholder is General Motors Ventures, the VC arm of GM.
Utilidata named Paul Afonso to the company’s board of directors. Afonso, former chairman of the Massachusetts Public Utilities Commission, is the co-practice leader of Brown Rudnick’s Energy, Utilities and Environmental group. Utilidata focuses on automated power conservation and management for utilities and industrial clients such as National Grid and American Electric Power.
Nexeon, a VC-funded Imperial College (U.K.) spin-out developing silicon anode technology for lithium-ion batteries, added Dr. Antti Vasara to its board. Vasara was VP of Nokia’s corporate strategy unit. He is currently an executive VP at Tieto Corporation, an IT and R&D services firm.
Colette Honorable, a Democrat, was confirmed with bipartisan support as Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the regulator of interstate transmission of electricity, oil and natural gas. Honorable is currently the chair of the Arkansas Public Service Commission and just finished a term as president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
Jon Carson joined SolarCity as director of the company's Solar Ambassador program. Carson was previously the executive director of Organizing for Action, a nonprofit organizing effort that backs Obama administration policy.
Tesla China President Veronica Wu, responsible for operational command in a prime EV market, is leaving the firm just nine months after her hire from Apple, according to the electric-vehicle maker in a report in Bloomberg. Her replacement, Tom Zhu, joined the firm in April and now heads Tesla’s charging network in China. The carmaker began shipping its Model S electric sedans to China earlier this year.