Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Who Is Ron Binz?
The next chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will be an advocate for energy efficiency and renewable sources who angered coal mining interests and electric companies during his tenure as chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission from 2007 to 2011. If confirmed by the Senate, Ron Binz would replace Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. Since 2011, Binz has divided his time between private consulting and serving as senior policy advisor at the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.
Born circa 1949, Binz graduated Catholic High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1967. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy at St. Louis University in 1971 and an M.A. in Mathematics at the University of Colorado in 1977, where he completed the course requirements for a Ph.D. in Math and also, from 1981 to 1984, took courses toward an M.A. in Economics. While he was a graduate student, Binz worked as a manager at Blue Cross/Blue Shield from 1971 to 1974, and as a Mathematics instructor at the University of Colorado from 1975 to 1984.
In the same year he earned his M.A., Binz started his career as a consulting utility rate analyst, representing clients and testifying as an expert witness in public utility cases before regulators in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota from 1977 to 1984.
According to his website, from 1977 to 2011 Binz participated in more than 150 regulatory proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission, FERC, state and federal courts, and state commissions.
Binz’s first taste of public service came courtesy of Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm, who appointed Benz to be the first ever director of the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel, Colorado’s first state-funded utility consumer advocate office. Benz served as director from 1984 to 1995.
Leaving public service in 1995, Binz founded his own firm, Public Policy Consulting, specializing in energy and telecommunications issues from 1995 to 2006. Around the same time, he served as president and policy director at the Competition Policy Institute, a non-profit think-tank that focused on energy and telecom policy, from 1996 to 2003. From 1994 to 2011, he was managing partner at Trail Ridge Winery in Loveland, Colorado.
Binz returned to public service in January 2007, appointed by Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. to serve as chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), where he aggressively implemented the state’s 30% renewable energy portfolio standard. He left the PUC in April 2011.
To Learn More:
Official CV (pdf)
Colorado’s Ron Binz Nominated to Head Federal Energy Commission (by Mark Jaffe, Denver Post)
Obama Nominates Ron Binz to Head Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (by Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)
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