The Pennsylvania Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Chester, PAMayor Aaron Wilson Jr. to the state Public Utility Commissionreplacing Commissioner John Hanger and effectively ending thatstate’s leadership toward substantive electric and natural gasderegulation. Only a handful of senators opposed the nomination.

Hanger, whose term ran out April 1, had been the main force incrafting and implementing legislation to deregulate the electricand communications industry. He also led the 3-2 PUC vote rejectingthe restructuring plan of Peco Energy and substituting a moreconsumer-friendly one in its place. Wilson, a retired educator, hadsupported Peco in the restructuring battle. His city of Chester hasbeen in negotiations with Peco over an extensive land tract thecompany owns there.

Hanger said “Gov. Ridge fired me because I am independent andbecause I have led the charge to replace electric, telephone andgas monopolies with genuine competition.” The Pennsylvanialegislature is expected to consider gas deregulation for the statethis fall.

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