FERC Nominee Ron Binz’s Colorado Record Should Serve as Warning

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 17, 2013 – Ron Binz, President Obama’s choice to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has a history that militates against his confirmation by the Senate, according to a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Colorado-based Independence Institute. The two groups strongly oppose Binz’s nomination, which is the subject of a hearing this morning before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The organizations’ opposition to Binz is based on his most recent public service as Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) from 2007-2011. In that role, Binz evinced a troubling willingness to push the boundaries of regulatory authority in order to remake the utility industry so that it comported with his environmentalist viewpoint. As PUC chair, moreover, he relegated cost and reliability to being secondary priorities relative to advancing green energy. Finally, Binz’s history of ethical lapses indicates that he is unfit to maintain FERC’s strict independence, as intended by Congress.

“Colorado’s experience with Ron Binz should serve as a warning,” noted Amy Oliver Cooke, director of the Energy Policy Center at the Independence Institute. “His legacy at the Colorado PUC is littered with controversy including an ethics violation, a scathing state auditor’s report, corporate welfare, and disregard for consumer costs.”

“Binz’s record as Colorado PUC chair makes it clear that he’s a green energy booster,” said CEI and Independence Institute analyst William Yeatman, author of the report on Binz. “It’s no wonder why green energy special interests are orchestrating an unprecedented collaboration with Binz to advance his nomination.”

>> Read the full report: FERC Nominee Ron Binz: Lessons from Colorado