Indiana’s chief utility regulator steps down less than a year after appointment

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Indiana’s top utility regulator is stepping down from his position next month, less than a year after he was reappointed to the job.

James Atterholt, chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, will leave Jan. 12, Governor Eric Holcomb’s office said Monday.

The powerful agency regulates $14 billion worth of electric, natural gas, telecommunications, steam, water and sewer utilities. It approves utility projects and determines how much utilities can charge customers.

In a statement, Atterholt said his wife, Brenda, was offered a job transfer to Fort Myers Beach, Florida. “We are looking forward to life at a slower pace.” 

Holcomb’s announcement called Atterholt’s departure a “retirement,” but it seemed somewhat unexpected. Holcomb had appointed Atterholt in February, and in a statement at the time made the appointment sound long term.

“Jim Atterholt’s history of service and depth of knowledge on utility issues make him the best choice to lead the IURC, particularly over the next four years,” Holcomb said in February.

Gov. Mitch Daniels originally appointed Atterholt as chairman of the commission, and he served from 2010 to 2014. He had a break to serve as chief of staff to Gov. Mike Pence from 2014 through 2016.
Before serving at the IURC, Atterholt served as commissioner for the Indiana Department of Insurance. He previously served two terms as a member of the Indiana General Assembly, from 1998 to 2002.  

With Atterholt’s retirement, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Nominating Committee must convene to evaluate candidates and then submit the nominations of three individuals to the governor to fill the vacated position.

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