DeWine picks Columbus lawyer as new PUCO chairman, drawing praise and criticism

COLUMBUS — “Gov. Mike DeWine has picked a Columbus attorney with a long history in the state’s energy business to lead the the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

DeWine announced on Monday that Samuel Randazzo will be chairman of the five-member commission, replacing Asim Haque as chairman, who announced Monday he was stepping down March 1 to serve in a role with Philadelphia-based PJM Interconnection.

…Renewable energy advocates are critical of the choice, expressing concern that Randazzo would oppose clean-energy investments such as solar and wind farms.

‘Ohio deserves better than Gov. DeWine’s choice of Sam Randazzo as PUCO chair,’ Rachael Belz, executive director of Ohio Citizen Action said in an email. ‘Ohio Citizen Action members will fight even harder to make sure Gov. DeWine and Mr. Randazzo hear from all of their constituents, a majority of whom favor clean energy over outdated, expensive coal and fossil fuels.’

Dave Anderson, spokesman for the Energy and Policy Institute, said the nomination ‘is further evidence of the undue influence of fossil fuel and utility interests over energy policy in Ohio.'”

— Tristan Navera, Columbus Business First

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