The governor of California, Gavin Newsom recently announced Alice Reynolds to become the next president of the state body that monitors the utilities. She is set to take over the California Public Utilities Commission commencing on December 31st.
The new job profile will require her to maintain vigilance over Pacific Gas and Electric, and other electric utilities as they combat wildfire safety and control the power grids for shutting them down to prevent fires in the state. The next step for her is only to be confirmed by the State Senate, which however is only a formal proceeding, after the announcement.
She shall be assuming the position from Marybel Batjer, who served since 2019 and shall now be retiring. The predecessor came with experience in respect of handling government-related positions, but not in this particular sector.
Reynolds however can be termed as someone deeply involved on many relevant issues of the CPUC including major legislations in 2019 which was a big decision regarding improvement in safety conditions, creation of funds worth $21 Billion, as a corpus to be utilized during emergencies like mass fires.
“Alice has been indispensable in our work to move California toward a cleaner, affordable and reliable energy future, navigate the bankruptcy of the state’s largest investor-owned utility and accelerate the state’s progress toward meeting our clean energy goals,” Newsom said in a statement.
Speaking about Alice Jamie Court who is the President of Consumer Watchdog said, “She’s highly qualified to sit in the seat. The question is how she’s going to deal with the utilities and whether she’ll be really tough on them,” Consumer Watchdog is an organization that often spars with the commission.
She has already handled roles in a similar capacity under Governor Jerry Brown. With ties dating back to the organization, high expectations are already resting upon her shoulders.
The commission shall be responsible for the regulation of utilities, i.e. when can they be shut off as a preventive measure, in addition to utility safety inspection.
“She has unmatched expertise on California energy issues,” Victoria Rome, director of California Government Affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council. The new job will have an approximate pay scale of $230,000 annually.