CA Governor Names New CPUC President
Exercising a new prerogative created by a state law passed last
year, California Gov. Gray Davis last week named one of his close
advisers and newest regulators, attorney Loretta Lynch, to be
president of the five-member California Public Utilities
Commission, which oversees the restructuring of the energy
industries, along with telecommunications, water, trucking and
Lynch is one of two Davis appointees currently on the regulatory
body, having begun late last year after the sudden resignation of
an earlier Davis appointee, Joel Hyatt. She replaces Richard Bilas,
an economist and appointee of former Gov. Pete Wilson. Bilas, a
former state college economics professor and state energy
commissioner, has served as president since January 1998.
Lynch, whose CPUC term runs through 2004, previously headed Gov.
Davis' Office of Planning and Research in Sacramento, an agency
that kept close track of CPUC matters. For an interim, one-meeting
basis she had served last June on the CPUC before Hyatt and another
Davis appointee, Carl Wood, were named to the commission.
With a majority of three Wilson-appointed commissioners, the
CPUC is not expected to make any significant changes. However, one
of the Republican appointees' terms concludes the end of this year,
so observers speculate there could be a shift in some policies
starting next year when a majority of the commissioners will be
Richard Nemec, Los Angeles
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