Revolving Door: Bay Out at FERC, LaFleur In

Chairman Norman C. Bay of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will leave the agency next month, he said in a letter of resignation dated January 26 – clearing the way for President Donald. Trump’s new appointee Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur,

La Fleur was named to her new position by the President on January 26. She has been a member of the commission since 2010. She served as acting chairman of FERC from November 2013 to July 2014; and as chairman from July 2014 until April 2015

Bay, who was appointed to the commission by President Barack Obama in August 2014 – and who was named chairman on April 15, 2015 – said in his letter to the new POTUS, also dated January 26, that he would depart on February 3.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished on behalf of the American people over the past 21 months in furthering FERC’s mission of providing efficient, reliable, and sustainable energy to consumers. It has been the greatest honor and privilege of my professional life to lead the dedicated and talented career staff at FERC, and I deeply appreciate their hard work and service to the United States. They are truly the best,” stated the outgoing chairman.

He noted, “The last few years have brought dramatic change to the energy space. The shale revolution and an abundance of low-priced natural gas, technological innovation, the expanded use of renewable energy, increased energy efficiency and flat load growth, state and federal public policy, and consumer choice have been drivers for change. As chairman, I have sought to help consumers realize the benefits from this change, while assisting the wholesale markets and industry in adapting to the change and maintaining just and reasonable rates and reliability.”

Under his leadership, Bay said, the agency had flourished. “We moved up in the rankings from 2015 to 2016, and we are now the fourth highest rated mid-sized agency (out of 27), with especially high scores for employee engagement, job satisfaction, and effective leadership

In pointing out his accomplishments, the chairman cited two factors that, he believed, had increased inclusion and transparency at the agency:

Bay said he had helped to create “a more diverse, inclusive workplace.” This has included the appointment of the first woman and Hispanic Chief Judge of the Office of Administrative Law Judges, four of five new judge appointments being filled with women (two of whom are African American), a new Employee Resource Group for Americans of Middle Eastern and North African Heritage, and the first LGBT Pride Event at FERC.”

What’s more, Bay stated, he had delivered “greater transparency to the public on what FERC does and how the public can participate in our processes. FERC has issued online videos explaining its work and processes, podcasts on a variety of FERC-related topics, handouts and info graphics on its processes for reviewing proposed infrastructure projects, and well received primers on the energy markets and reliability.”

He also cited the agency’s many efforts to enhance market efficiency and competition.

For her part, Cheryl LaFleur made the following statement: “It is an honor to again be asked to serve as Acting Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and I thank President Trump for the opportunity. While I recognize that FERC is in a state of transition as we await nominations to fill vacant seats at the agency, it is important that FERC’s work on the nation’s energy markets and infrastructure move forward. I would particularly like to thank Chairman Norman Bay for his leadership of the Commission over the past two years, and I look forward to working with him, Commissioner Colette Honorable, the terrific staff throughout the agency, and future colleagues at FERC to continue to address the important energy issues facing our nation.”

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