Governor Fills CPUC Seat

By Published On: January 3, 2022

Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed attorney John Reynolds to fill the California Public Utilities Commission post vacated by Commissioner Martha Guzman-Aceves who was tapped last month to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Southwest region.

The appointment, announced by Newsom two days before Christmas, surprised many long-time energy advocates and insiders because Reynolds, a former CPUC staffer, is relatively unknown in energy circles.

Independent Energy Producer’s Executive Director Jan Smutny-Jones said Reynolds “has a reputation for being thoughtful and fact-oriented.” IEPA is the trade association representing independent energy facility developers and operators in California.

Reynolds is the second former CPUC staff member in the last year named to the Commission. Darcie Houck, who worked at the California Energy Commission in addition to the CPUC, was appointed to the commission by Newsom last February to fill the seat of Liane Randolph, who became the California Air Resources Board chair.

Starting in 2019, Reynolds was Managing Counsel at Cruise LLC, a San Francisco company that develops self-driving cars. Earlier, he served as Interim Chief of Staff to CPUC Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma in 2018, Advisor to Commissioner Carla Peterman from 2015 to 2018, and CPUC Counsel from 2013 to 2015.

The recently departed Guzman-Aceves sat on the CPUC for five years. In December, she was named EPA’s head of the Southwest Region, which covers California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, the Pacific Islands, and 148 Tribal Nations. She replaces Deborah Jordan, who served as Region 9’s Acting Regional Administrator since 2016.

The California Senate must confirm Reynold’s appointment by the end of this year, along with that of the new CPUC President, Alice Reynolds. The two are not related. She was appointed in late November to replace Marybel Batjer who left before the end of her six-year term, with Reynolds chairing her first CPUC meeting Jan. 13. She is Newsom’s former energy advisor.

In related news, long-time CPUC deputy director Ed Randolph left the commission at the end of last year.  Previously, he was a consultant on the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee.

Source of photo: CPUC

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