CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval announced Wednesday he has appointed Paul Thomsen as chairman of the Nevada Public Utilities Commission beginning Oct. 1.
Thomsen will replace outgoing Commissioner Rebecca Wagner. The current chairwoman, Alaina Burtenshaw, will continue to serve as a member of the commission along with Commissioner David Noble.
Thomsen has been Sandoval’s appointee as the director of the Governor’s Office of Energy since September 2013.
“Paul is one of the leading experts in Nevada’s dynamic energy industry,” Sandoval said. “Paul has a keen understanding of local, state, and federal energy issues and his experience will allow him to immediately engage on important issues that the commission is expected to confront.”
Thomsen said: “I am truly honored to have been asked by Gov. Sandoval to serve the great state of Nevada in this new role. I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners to address pivotal issues coming before the Public Utilities Commission.”
The PUC faces a range of issues in the coming months and years, including applications by three large gaming companies to leave Nevada Power and purchase their own energy supplies on the open market. The PUC also will have to act on a new rate policy for rooftop solar customers, an issue that has pitted the rooftop solar industry and its supporters against NV Energy, the state’s primary supplier of electricity to homes and businesses.
The PUC is charged with providing fair and impartial regulation of public utilities; the safe, economic, efficient, prudent and reliable operation and service of public utilities; and balancing the interests of customers and shareholders of public utilities by providing public utilities with the opportunity to earn a fair return on their investments while providing customers with just and reasonable rates.
Sandoval also thanked Burtenshaw for her service as chairwoman.
“I know her extensive experience with the PUC will allow her to continue her exceptional tenure as a fair and thoughtful regulator,” he said.
Burtenshaw has served as chairwoman of the PUC since February 2, 2011, when Sandoval first appointed her to the position. She was reappointed on June 24, 2013. She was first appointed to the commission in 2010.
Thomsen also has been director of policy and business development for Ormat Technologies, a Reno-based renewable energy company, and also worked for the law firm of Lionel Sawyer and Collins; U.S. Sen. Harry Reid; and former U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan.
Sandoval also announced Angela Dykema as the new director of the Governor’s Office of Energy.
“Angela has the background necessary to ensure continuity within the Office of Energy as we work to expand Nevada’s energy portfolio to meet the demands of our growing population,” Sandoval said.
Dykema has been deputy director in the office and has considerable experience with wind, solar and geothermal energy development. She earned a master of science in natural resources law studies from University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, and a bachelor of science in environmental policy and political science from Michigan State University.
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