FERC appoints director to new Office of Public Participation

Published on October 14, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

Elin Katz

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) appointed Elin Katz to lead its new Office of Public Participation (OPP).

The OPP was established in June to facilitate participation among members of the public with commission proceedings of all types, such as questions on when and how to intervene, comment, file motions, or seek rehearing.

Most recently, Katz served as vice president of utilities for Tilson Technology Management, where she led the utilities practice in support of electric utility initiatives for grid modernization, connected communities, energy equity and storm response.

Prior to that, Katz served as the head of the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, directing all operations of the independent state agency, comprised of attorneys, administrative staff and financial analysts. In addition, she worked as president of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA). Also, Katz has served in several attorney and associate attorney positions for firms and state agencies in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.

“This is a groundbreaking position at FERC that will assist the public and drive meaningful participation from a diverse range of stakeholders to help strengthen our decisions,” FERC Chairman Rich Glick said. “I’m excited to welcome Elin to the Commission. She is an accomplished attorney and has done extensive work advocating on behalf of consumers. Her leadership experience and ability to effect change is an excellent fit to drive the mission of OPP forward.”

FERC Commissioner Allison Clements was instrumental in launching the OPP, Glick said. “I want to commend Commissioner Clements for her determination and hard work in getting OPP off the ground, including gathering essential public input through the listening sessions and workshops that she led,” Glick said.

To help establish OPP, the commission sought public comment during six listening sessions, a full-day, virtual commissioner-led workshop, and a written comment period earlier this year. According to a report FERC issued in June on the OPP, commenters said that members of the public, particularly communities that have been historically underrepresented before the commission, need OPP to assist with participation in FERC proceedings. Commenters had argued that OPP assistance would help place communities on equal footing with well-resourced industry stakeholders in natural gas pipeline projects and electric matters that fall under FERC jurisdiction.

Katz will assume the role of director of OPP in late November. OPP’s functions include direct outreach and education, procedural assistance and program office coordination to improve existing FERC processes, as well as counsel to the Commission on intervenor funding, FERC said.