Cooper taps two lawyers and a prof for N.C. Utilities Commission

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Gov. Roy Cooper appointed three new members to the N.C. Utilities Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the activities of the state’s dominant electric and gas utility, Duke Energy Corp., among other duties.

Floyd McKissick

The new appointees, effective July 1, are:

  • Floyd McKissick, a state senator and attorney specializing in civil litigation
  • Kimberly Duffley, a senior staff attorney at the utilities commission
  • Jeff Hughes, an associate professor and director of the Environmental Finance Center at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Government

The new commissioners will succeed three people whose terms expire on June 30: Chairman Edward Finley Jr., a Raleigh lawyer; public relations executive James Patterson and former State Sen. Jerry Dockham, an insurance agent. Commissioners have eight-year terms.

The seven-member commission is slated to be made up of six commissioners appointed or reappointed by Cooper. The only exception is Lyons Gray, a former state representative and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. executive selected by Gov. Pat McCrory. His term ends in 2021.

Five of the seven commissioners will be lawyers. The exceptions are Gray, who is a former chief financial officer of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Hughes, who has spent his career in academic, civic and nonprofit posts.

The commissioners face thorny issues, including allocating the costs of Duke Energy’s coal-ash cleanup program and the utility’s $13 billion grid modernization effort.

Cooper also reappointed Chris Ayers as executive director of the Public Staff of the commission, the group charged with representing the public’s interest in rate cases and other matters.

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