Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Commissioner M. Howard Petricoff said Friday that he would step down, after the state Senate Public Utilities Committee in a rare move voted Thursday to oppose his appointment. Petricoff, a Democrat, was nominated in June by Republican Gov. John Kasich. He has been serving without confirmation since. He retired in 2015 after nearly 30 years with the Columbus-based law firm, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, which has represented energy clients in high-profile cases in the state. Petricoff was the only Democrat serving on the PUCO. While the full Senate didn’t vote on his appointment, some Republicans in the chamber expressed uncertainty about his previous work on behalf of natural gas suppliers and electricity providers. Petricoff released a statement saying “I am grateful for the governor’s trust, and out of respect for that trust, I see no value in subjecting his appointment of me — nor the good efforts of the nominating council — to an unfortunate outcome.” PUCO Chairman Asim Haque said he was saddened by the Senate’s position and noted that Petricoff has “four decades of experience as a utility expert.”

Commissioner Christi Craddick was unanimously elected chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) Tuesday. “My priorities for the agency continue to include our focus on maximizing efficiency throughout our processes and rules so that we are able to do our job better and at less expense to taxpayers and industry,” Craddick said. “As part of that efficiency effort, our modernization of the Commission’s IT [information technology] programs and processes will bring more data online for public use, improve productivity and increase transparency across all divisions.” Craddick said after the first of the year she will meet with Texas operators to formulate a five-year plan for technology best practices at the agency. She also said she will meet with RRC district office staff throughout the state to ensure consistency in RRC enforcement actions. She also plans to meet with local leaders in the Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin regions to gauge the effect of the commodity price downturn on local economies. “Earlier this year, I was appointed to the National Petroleum Council, and I look forward to working with the new administration’s secretary of energy on ways to protect states’ regulatory authority of energy production for the benefit of local industry growth and state economies,” Craddick said.