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Obama Taps Former National Grid Executive for FERC

President Obama last Monday announced his intent to nominate a former New England electricity executive for the fifth seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, giving the panel a Democratic majority.

Cheryl A. LaFleur, a former executive vice president and acting CEO of National Grid USA, will fill the seat vacated by former Commissioner Suedeen Kelly, who left the agency in late December (see NGI, Jan. 11).

LaFleur, who has more than 20 years of experience in the energy industry, retired in 2007 from National Grid, which delivers electricity to 3.4 million customers in the Northeast and owns natural gas distributor KeySpan. New England senators wanted a FERC nominee who has a background in Northeast and New England energy issues, a natural gas source noted.

LaFleur's nomination has not yet been sent to Capitol Hill, where the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a confirmation hearing to determine whether the nomination should be sent to the full Senate for confirmation.

If LaFleur is confirmed, the Commission will have a full house. She will join Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and Commissioner John Norris -- both Democrats -- and Republican Commissioners Philip D. Moeller and Marc Spitzer. Norris is the newcomer to the Commission so far, having assumed his seat earlier this year.

Prior to coming to National Grid in 1986, LaFleur was a lawyer at Ropes and Gray in Boston for eight years. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her law degree from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

The president last Monday also announced his intent to nominate Moeller for another term on the Commission. Moeller has served on the Commission since July 2006 (see NGI, July 17, 2006). He assumed the seat of former FERC Chairman Pat Wood. His current term expires on June 30.

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