A former El Paso Natural Gas executive who also has experience with California’s major energy consumer watchdog group and regulatory panel, Randy Wu, Thursday was named as general counsel to the five-member California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Wu returns to the regulatory panel where he began his career in the 1970s from a position as a deputy city attorney with the City/County of San Francisco.

Wu’s appointment was announced late Thursday after the CPUC met in closed session, following a long public business meeting earlier in the day. CPUC President Michael Peevey welcomed Wu back, saying he has “significant experience” in regulatory relations from both the consumer and utility perspective.

Wu was a staff attorney and later an administrative law judge (1977-88), following a position developing power plants in North America for El Paso Natural Gas (1988-99). Wu then joined the state’s oldest utility consumer watchdog group, The Utility Reform Network (TURN), representing consumer interests in federal courts and state regulatory agencies.

Noting he is glad to return and “eager to begin working,” Wu replaces Gary Cohen, who departed last April to accept another general counsel position in another California state agency. There has been an interim general counsel, Lionel Wilson, Jr., since then.

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