February 15, 2007

"Fervent consumer advocate"

I hadn't heard much lately about Angela Sparks-Beddoe, Governor Spitzer's controversial appointee to chair the Public Service Commission, but this turned up in the Elmira Star-Gazette:

Angela Sparks-Beddoe, his controversial pick to head the state Public Service Commission, will be a "fervent consumer advocate" if confirmed to the post of the state's top utility regulator by the Senate. The company Sparks-Beddoe has been affiliated with, Energy East Corp., the parent company of New York State Electric & Gas Corp., has clashed repeatedly over the last few years with the commission staff who thought her firm wasn't treating consumers fairly.

I guess I'd like more details. If her notion of being a "fervent consumer advocate" relies on nonsense like NYSEG's Voice Your Choice program, with lots of options but not much variety, then I hope she gets rejected. Her association with NYSEG and Energy East is a pretty bad start, and she has a lot of explaining to do. Spitzer provides a start:

Q: Folks in the Southern Tier have for a long time thought that the PSC was a consumer advocacy group looking out for their best interests. Yet now, you have appointed someone who is an energy company executive (Angela Sparks-Beddoe of Energy East) to run the PSC. How do you explain that rationale? What does the PSC stand for?

SPITZER: Let me be clear on this because I'm hoping that when people understand and get to know Angela, they will be not only supportive but overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

And I am by no means challenging the right of people to be uncomfortable with where she has been. I understand that as a reflexive response. But I think when people speak to Angela as I have, over many meetings, about what the right answer is to our energy debacle, they will see someone who is a fervent consumer advocate.

She understands the need to invest, the need to drive rates lower, the need to get an Article X (powerplant) siting law, the need to get projects built so we can reduce demand, the need to be efficient, the need to find alternative energy, to invest in ethanol, windpower, solar, these are the things that will be part of a really creative energy agenda that we will be pursuing.

To those who have expressed the doubts, and I understand the doubts, I would say give her a fair shot and meet her and listen to her and you will be very excited about what she brings to the job as I hope most people are about the whole range of appointments I've made.

I guess we'll see what turns up in the approval process.

Posted by simon at February 15, 2007 3:16 PM in ,
Note on photos


Robert Blake said:

Isn't the fact that she owns a lot of Energy East stock a clear confict of interest?