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Hayley Williamson named chairwoman of Nevada utilities commission

Gov. Steve Sisolak has elevated Public Utilities Commissioner Hayley Williamson to chairwoman of the three-member board that regulates investor-owned utilities in Nevada, his office announced Thursday.

Williamson was named a member of the commission in April. She’ll replace Ann Pongracz, who did not seek reappointment. Sisolak will have to fill her seat with another appointment in the new year.

“Hayley’s extensive experience in Nevada and on the Public Utilities Commission will prove invaluable as she takes on this critical role ensuring that public utility companies continue working for the benefit of all Nevadans,” Sisolak said in a statement. “Hayley’s deep knowledge of the rule-making process and clean energy policies will provide crucial support for the state of Nevada’s long-term renewable energy goals.”

Williamson said she was looking forward to the job. “I thank Governor Sisolak for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to continuing to work on important utility issues in this new role,” she said in a statement.

Prior to her appointment as a member of the commission, Williamson worked there as a senior assistant general counsel and acting general counsel. In those jobs, she has represented the commission before both the Nevada Supreme Court and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In her role as a commissioner, she has worked to develop rules to implement bills passed by the 2019 Legislature, including implementing the state’s renewable portfolio standard, the amount of energy that must be generated from renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal.

Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, Williamson graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She earned her law degree from Vermont Law School, also with honors, and holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Cambridge. Her thesis for that degree was about renewable energy and land use on the West Coast.

She also has taught environmental law and environmental science at the University of Wisconsin and at Sierra Nevada College.

In November 2018, with the appointment of Commissioner C.J. Manthe by then-Gov. Brian Sandoval, the Public Utilities Commission had three female members for the first time in Nevada history. It was only the second all-female utility regulating body in the country.

Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0253. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.

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