President Obama has renominated Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Her nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.
LaFleur, who joined FERC in 2010, is a Massachusetts Democrat whose commission term expires in 2014. In November, Obama appointed her acting FERC chairman, succeeding Chairman Jon Wellinghoff whose commission term expired in June 2013.
“If confirmed, I look forward to continuing to work with the wonderful team at FERC on the important energy issues facing our nation,” LaFleur said. “I would like to thank President Obama for nominating me, and look forward to working with the Senate as they consider my nomination.”
In January, Obama nominated FERC Enforcement Director Norman C. Bay to be a FERC commissioner, to fill Wellinghoff’s seat, with the intention to name Bay chairman once he is confirmed by the Senate. He had named LaFleur acting FERC chairman in the wake of the withdrawal of Obama’s nomination of controversial Colorado consultant Ronald J. Binz to be a member, and chairman, of the commission.
Since joining the commission, LaFleur’s priorities have included reliability and grid security, promoting regional transmission planning, and supporting a clean and diverse power supply.
She testified April 10 before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee about an alleged leak of FERC modeling studies exposing power grid vulnerabilities. LaFleur and other FERC members also testified in December before a House subcommittee, telling lawmakers that hydropower licensing might be accelerated if Congress could compel state and federal resource agencies to meet deadlines in the licensing process.
Prior to joining the commission, LaFleur had more than 20 years’ experience as a leader in the electricity and gas industries, retiring in 2007 as executive vice president and acting chief executive of National Grid USA. The former New England Electric System, National Grid USA delivers electricity to 3.4 million customers in the Northeast.
After retiring from National Grid, LaFleur served as a non-profit board member and leader. She has a doctorate in law from Harvard, was editor of the Harvard Law Review, and worked as a lawyer for Ropes and Gray in Boston from 1978-1986.
There are three other sitting FERC members. The other Democrat on the commission is John Norris, whose term expires in 2017. Republicans on the panel are Philip Moeller, whose term expires in 2015, and Anthony Clark, whose term expires in 2016.
No more than three members of the same party may serve on the five-member commission.