Norman Bay, formerly director of FERC’s Office of Enforcement (OE) and a commissioner since last August, officially became Chairman Wednesday. At the same time, Cheryl LaFleur, who served as acting chairman and chairman for the past 18 months, became a commissioner.

The transition comes more than a year after President Obama nominated Bay to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and to be designated chairman upon appointment by the U.S. Senate (see Daily GPI, Jan. 31, 2014). Bay had headed OE since 2009. He was a professor of law at the University of New Mexico 2002-2009 and previously served as U.S. Attorney for New Mexico for two years.

“I am honored and humbled to work with my extraordinary colleagues on the Commission, as well as the many dedicated and talented staff at the Commission,” Bay said. “This is a time of great change in the energy space, and it is more important than ever that the Commission use its authority with respect to infrastructure, markets and reliability to further the public interest.”

Bay, whose nomination was pressed by the Obama administration despite opposition from Republicans, was sworn in at FERC last year (see Daily GPI, Aug. 4, 2014); the reversal of roles for he and LaFleur was the result of a political deal made during the vote on his confirmation (see Daily GPI, July 15, 2014). LaFleur is scheduled to remain as a commissioner until 2019.

Former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, who resigned in 2013 (see Daily GPI, May 30, 2013), brought Bay to OE in 2009, although Bay had no prior energy industry experience (see Daily GPI, June 19, 2009). During his OE tenure, Bay brought several high-profile enforcement actions against and settlements with energy market participants (see Daily GPI, Nov. 21, 2013).

Bay was an attorney-adviser at the State Department from 1988 to 1989 and a law clerk for Otto R. Skopil Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1986 to 1987. He received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Other FERC Commissioners are Tony Clark, a former member of the North Dakota Public Service Commission whose term is due to expire next year, Philip Moeller, who has served on the Commission since 2006 and whose term is due to expire June 30, and Colette Honorable, who joined FERC in December for a term due to expire in 2017.