As the deeply split state regulatory commission was holding its last acrimonious meeting Thursday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his choices for two seats on the five-member California Public Utilities Commission that become vacant the end of this month. The governor has chosen an energy efficiency advocate and a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist.

Schwarzenegger said he will make the nominations with the expectation that the CPUC will be playing “a key role in stabilizing the electricity market, encouraging the development of new supplies of natural gas, increasing investments in energy efficiency and renewable power, and promoting new telecommunications technology.”

He tapped Dian Grueneich, 52, a lawyer who has headed her own energy efficiency consulting firm in recent years, and Steve Poizner, 47, who founded a successful telecommunications start-up company that he eventually sold to multi-billion-dollar giant Qualcomm in 2000, and since has been a White House Fellow (2001-2002) and currently teaches high school government and economics courses in the Silicon Valley.

Schwarzenegger said his two CPUC choices share his “commitment to establishing a business climate that will attract investment and jobs to California. I am confident (they) will tackle (the state’s energy/telecom) challenges with an eye toward lowering prices and improving service and delivery of electricity, gas, water and other utilities to Californians.”

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