Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the appointment of Matt Baker to a four-year term on the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, filling a vacancy left by Paulette "Polly" Page, whose second term expired Jan. 8.
"As one of the architects of Colorado's renewable energy standard and a champion of Colorado's environment and consumer rights, Matt Baker makes an ideal addition to the Public Utilities Commission," Gov. Ritter said. "He is keenly aware of the important role the PUC will play in building a New Energy Economy that will lead to energy security, environmental security and economic security for our communities and our state. His leadership in crafting Amendment 37 and the doubling of our renewable energy standard last year demonstrate his vision for a 21st century energy future for Colorado."
"I am honored to be selected by Gov. Ritter for this position," said Baker, executive director of Environment Colorado. "Colorado is at a point where we can grow our economy, protect our environment and provide an affordable energy supply to the people and businesses of Colorado. I'm excited to take on this new role and be a part of that."
Gov. Ritter last month appointed James Tarpey, an attorney with extensive energy, utility and regulatory experience, to the three-member PUC. Last year, Gov. Ritter named long-time consumer advocate Ron Binz as PUC chairman. The trio of Baker, Binz and Tarpey brings an invaluable balance of industry, regulatory, consumer, energy and environmental expertise to the Commission, Gov. Ritter said. Baker's appointment requires Senate confirmation, and the position pays about $108,000 a year.
Gov. Ritter also praised former Commissioner Page for her eight years of service on the PUC. Former Gov. Bill Owens first appointed Page in 2000 and re-appointed her in 2004. "I thank and commend Polly for her many years of service to the people of Colorado," Gov. Ritter said. "Polly was born a coal miner's daughter in West Virginia, and she devoted much of her adult life in Colorado to community service." She was an Aurora City Council member from 1987 to 1995 and an Arapahoe County Commissioner from 1995 to 2000.
Baker has served as executive director of Environment Colorado since 2003. He led the Amendment 37 campaign and was involved in the FasTracks campaign, both in 2004. He also advocated on behalf of the Clean Energy Fund, increased transmission capacity for wind energy, and establishment of the Colorado Clean Energy Authority.
He has worked for public interest research groups in Massachusetts and New Jersey, and served as executive director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group from 2001 to 2003. He is a recipient of the Wirth Chair for Renewable Energy Advocacy and was vice chair of the Transit Alliance. He is a 1987 graduate of Pennsylvania State University.
The PUC, a division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, is a constitutionally recognized commission. It has economic and quality-of-service regulatory authority over intrastate telecommunication services and investor-owned electric, gas and water utilities, as well as partial regulatory control over municipal utilities and electric associations.
The PUC also regulates railroad and motor carrier utilities. Under its jurisdiction are common and contract motor carriers, transportation operating authorities, and carriers providing intrastate and interstate transportation services. In addition, the PUC has jurisdiction over railroad corporations and public railroad-highway grade crossings.