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Name: Wellinghoff, Jon
Current Position: Previous Chairman

On March 19, 2009, President Barack Obama named Jon Wellinghoff Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency that oversees wholesale electric transactions, interstate electric transmission and gas transportation in the United States. A member of the Commission since 2006, the Senate reconfirmed him to a full, five-year FERC term in December 2007. Shortly after his appointment by President Obama, Wellinghoff stated that climate change would be, “a big priority for me. From everything I’ve read, we’re in big trouble and we need to do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint.”

 
Born in Santa Monica, California, Wellinghoff was raised in Reno, Nevada. He earned a BS in Mathematics in 1971 from the University of Nevada at Reno, an MA in Mathematics Teaching from Howard University in 1972, and a JD from Antioch School of Law in Washington, DC, in 1975. 
 
Returning to Nevada after law school, Wellinghoff took a job as legal assistant to a member of the Public Service Commission, the predecessor to the present Public Utilities Commission. After that, he became deputy district attorney in Washoe County for consumer protection, representing the County in cases involving utility rates and power plant projects, and working for District Attorney Mills Lane, better known as a boxing referee and reality TV judge. Bouncing back to the nation’s capital, Wellinghoff worked as a staff attorney on the US Senate Commerce Committee and, shortly thereafter, a staff attorney with the Federal Trade Commission, where he investigated fraudulent schemes involving income tax credits for residential solar systems around the nation. Returning once again to Nevada, Wellinghoff served as the state’s first head of the newly created Office of Consumer Advocate, a position he held from 1981 to 1988. As consumer advocate, he advocated use of alternative energy and crafted the Utility Resource Planning Act of 1983, which requires state planning of future energy needs, and has become a model for utility integrated planning processes across the country. 
 
In 1989, Wellinghoff moved to Las Vegas, where he developed a private energy law practice at the firm of Beckley Singleton. While in Las Vegas, he was also an associate professor of environmental law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and staff counsel to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission. In Las Vegas, he continued to advocate alternative energy use, as well as consumer owned energy cooperatives. He was also the primary author of the Nevada Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Act, and is considered an expert on the state renewable portfolio process, on which he has lectured extensively. 
 
Wellinghoff returned to Washington, DC, in 2006, when he was appointed to FERC by President Bush, who was required at the time to name a Democrat. At FERC, he helped establish the Energy Innovations Sector of FERC, which helps look into and promote new technologies, and he co-authored a paper on how to more effectively regulate hydrokinetic projects. He has stated that his priorities at FERC include opening wholesale electric markets to renewable resources, enhancing usage of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and promoting greater efficiency in the nation’s energy infrastructure through the institution of advanced technologies and system integration.
 
Wellinghoff is co-chair of the Demand Response Collaborative Process, launched jointly by FERC and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and he is a member of NARUC’s Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the Institute for Electric Efficiency and served as an advisor to the Defense Science Board’s Energy Policy Task Force. He is also on the Executive Leadership Team of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Green Transmission Efficiency Initiative. Wellinghoff also advises the Energy Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on China-U.S. energy policy matters.    
 
A Democrat, Wellinghoff contributed $7,250 to Democratic candidates between 2003 and 2008. 
 
Nevadan at Work: Jon Wellinghoff (by John G. Edwards, Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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