Governor makes utility regulatory leadership moves

Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday appointed former state representative David Ober to an open spot on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and promoted interim IURC chairman Jim Huston to chairman.

The five-person IURC regulates $14 billion in electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water and sewer utilities. It approves utility projects and determines how much utilities can charge customers.

Ober, a Republican from northeast Indiana who chairs the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee, announced Jan. 29 that he would not seek re-election after six years in the Indiana House.

Ober was chosen from three candidates submitted for consideration by the seven-member IURC Nominating Committee. Other finalists were IURC Executive Director of External Affairs Stefanie Krevda and Indiana Office of Energy Development Director Tristan Vance.

Four others sought the open seat but were not chosen as finalists: IURC analysts Eric Hand and Marcus Turner; Allen Mounts, head of Evansville’s water and sewer department; and Michael Shaver, president of Wabash Scientific Inc., an Indianapolis biotech company.

Huston was appointed an IURC commissioner by former-Gov. Mike Pence in 2014 and reappointed by Holcomb in 2017. He was named interim chairman after Jim Atterholt retired in early January to move to Florida.

Huston was chief of staff at the Indiana State Department of Health during the Pence administration and executive director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives during the Daniels administration. His numerous leadership position over a 30-year government career include assistant deputy treasurer for the state in 1989 and deputy commissioner for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles from late 1986 to 1987.

“Jim has a great deal of knowledge and expertise in utility regulation and a track record for successful leadership,” Holcomb said in written comments. “He will be a strong chairman for the IURC well into its future.”

The IURC will have another spot to fill in less than two weeks. Commissioner Angela Weber’s term expires April 1, she will serve until a new commissioner is selected.

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