Gov. Tom Corbett nominated Robert F. Powelson, chairman of the state Public Utility Commission, to serve another four-year term, and utility lobbyists contacted said the Republican-controlled state Senate is almost certain to approve the nomination.
“Even though he comes from a business background, you can’t really say he leans one way or the other in rate cases,” said an electric utility lobbyist who didn’t want to be identified. “I don’t see any reason why the Senate wouldn’t approve him. He’s been balanced.”
The state’s small business advocate, John Evans, who represents businesses in rate cases, said Powelson has always been accessible and is “willing to compromise.”
Erik Arneson, spokesman for the Senate Republican caucus, said Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, anticipates “strong bipartisan support for his renomination.”
In a statement released by the PUC, Powelson thanked Corbett.
“During my time on the commission, the PUC has successfully undertaken many new initiatives at the direction of the governor and General Assembly,” Powelson said in the statement. “I look forward to highlighting our efforts on competitive energy markets, pipeline safety and the impact fee to the Senate as we go through the confirmation process in the coming months.”
A simple majority in the Senate is needed to approve the nomination.
Powelson was first nominated by former Gov. Ed Rendell to serve on the PUC and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on June 30, 2008. He was renominated for a five-year term Feb. 12, 2009, and was again unanimously confirmed April 22, 2009. His current term expires April 1.
Powelson previously served as president of the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry.
Serving on the commission with the Republican Powelson are Republican Vice Chairman John R. Coleman Jr., Republican Pamela A. Witmer, Democrat James H. Cawley and Democrat Gladys M. Brown.