President Donald Trump intends to nominate Neil Chatterjee, energy policy advisor to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Robert Powelson, commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), to be members of FERC, according to a May 8 statement.
Chatterjee’s term, if confirmed, would expire on June 30, 2021, while Powelson’s term would expire on June 30, 2020, according to the statement.
Prior to his position as energy policy advisor to McConnell, Chatterjee worked as a principal in government relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, as well as an aide to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce of Ohio, according to the statement.
Powelson has served as a commissioner on the PUC since 2008 – he was first nominated to the PUC in June of that year by then Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, and was appointed chairman in 2011 by then Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, according to the statement. Powelson currently serves as president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, as well as on the Electric Power Research Institute Advisory Board and the Drexel University Board of Trustees, the statement noted.
As TransmissionHub reported, FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable on April 28 said that she has decided not to pursue another term at FERC. Former FERC Chairman Norman Bay resigned, effective as of Feb. 3, and prior to his resignation, there were already two vacancies at FERC, following the departures of former Commissioners Philip Moeller and Tony Clark. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, a quorum for the transaction of business consists of at least three members present. FERC in February issued an order delegating additional authority to agency staff to continue certain agency operations in the absence of a quorum of commissioners.
A FERC spokesperson on May 1 confirmed to TransmissionHub that if someone is not appointed to serve on the commission before Honorable leaves, it will be the first time in FERC’s history that the commission has only one commissioner – in this case, Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur.
FERC “lacks a quorum so it currently cannot act on matters that require a vote of the commissioners,” the spokesperson said.