Curran has also agreed to continue as chair of the EFSB through the conclusion of Invenergy proceedings.
Governor Gina Raimondo today nominated Laura Olton to chair the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The governor will submit Olton’s name to the Rhode Island State Senate for its advice and consent.
Olton has two decades of experience as a leader in energy, utility and regulatory law throughout New England, including Rhode Island. She is currently the Principal of LSO Energy Advisors where she counsels a variety of energy customers and nonprofits. She also chairs the Town of Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee, leading numerous greenhouse gas reduction initiatives. From 2008 through 2011 she served as General Counsel of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities where she focused on clean energy policy, including net metering, long-term renewable contracts, energy efficiency and electric grid modernization. She holds a law degree from Boston University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.
A more complete bio from LSO Energy Advisors, elaborates further on Olton’s career:
Laura Olton is the Principal of LSO Energy Advisors, LLC. For over 20 years, Laura has been a leader in the fields of energy, utility and regulatory law, providing strategic advice in the public and private sectors. She is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and New York. Laura works independently and with law firms and other energy experts on a project by project basis.
Laura served as General Counsel of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities during the Patrick Administration from 2008 to 2011, where she was the chief legal advisor to the Commissioners of the agency responsible for implementing and enforcing numerous clean energy policies. She authored and delivered high-profile opinions for the agency, including decisions on Cape Wind and the Green Communities Act of 2008. Laura supervised a large legal staff and oversaw all adjudicatory proceedings, rulemakings and Department orders regarding investor-owned electric power, natural gas and water industries in the Commonwealth.
Prior to the DPU, Laura was General Counsel of Narragansett Electric, National Grid’s Rhode Island subsidiary. Her practice included representing the company in all regulatory proceedings as well as advising on rates, customer service, business services, energy efficiency, competitive supplier issues, contracts and procurement matters. Prior to her responsibilities in Rhode Island, Laura held various other senior legal positions at National Grid. Laura also practiced law at the law firms of McDermott, Will & Emery and Rubin & Rudman LLC, and she clerked at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Laura is a Selectman-appointed member of the Town of Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee and is an elected Town Meeting Member. She also has chaired the Energy & Telecommunications Committee at the Boston Bar Association. Laura graduated Boston University School of Law cum laude and Tufts University magna cum laude.
“Laura has deep experience in the clean energy sectors that are the future in Rhode Island,” said Raimondo. “She is well positioned to lead the PUC as it tackles the important issues of building a clean, affordable, reliable energy future.”
Olton will replace Margaret Curran who was appointed as chairperson in 2013 by then Governor Lincoln Chafee.
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The chairperson of the PUC also serves as chair of the Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB). Curran has agreed to continue as chair of the EFSB through the conclusion of proceeding related to Invenergy’s proposed $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant aimed at the irreplaceable forests of northwest Rhode Island. Olton will serve on the EFSB for all other matters.