Audrey Zibelman
Audrey Zibelman ()

Chief New York state utility regulator Audrey Zibelman will step down to become the chief executive officer of the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Zibelman was chairwoman of the state Public Service Commission since 2013.

The Hamline School of Law graduate was chief operating officer of the eastern U.S. power wholesaler PJM and general counsel to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission before joining New York state government.

Zibelman’s commission approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” program, a pillar of which calls for upstate residents to assume up to $7.6 billion in the costs from 2017-29 by keeping three nuclear power plants in service as more renewable energy sources are found. Two suits have been filed challenging the planned rate increases (NYLJ, Oct. 20 and Dec. 1, 2016).

Australian Energy Market Operator chairman Anthony Marxsen said in a statement that Zibelman is an internationally recognized expert on operating energy systems who will aid Australia’s electric and gas markets transition to the future. She will take over her new job on March 20, officials said.

Another member of the Public Service Commission’s five-member board, Patricia Acampora, earlier announced her retirement following the panel’s meeting Feb. 16.

Cuomo’s office did not immediately comment Wednesday on the governor’s plans to pick replacements for Zibelman and Acampora.