Tuesday, January 12, 2010

PSC Creates New Office of Consumer Policy

Effective earlier this month, the New York State Public Service Commission ("PSC") created the Office of Consumer Policy and named Douglas Elfner to be its Acting Director.

According to the PSC, the Office of Consumer Policy will focus on consumer policy matters, including those issues raised in rate cases and proceedings, such as low income programs, service quality, Smart Grid, and other policy-related developments. It will also be responsible for outreach and education, metering, submetering, and consumer advocacy.

Outreach for the Lifeline discount telephone service will be under the new Office and Lifeline policy issues will be shared with the Office of Telecommunications.

Consumer complaints against utilities will continue to be handled through the PSC Office of Consumer Services.

Elfner has a strong background in economics, experience in utility regulation issues, and awareness of consumer concerns. He
  • received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan, and has a Bachelors Degree with honors and distinction in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Delaware
  • was Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Vermont, where he taught courses in econometrics and micro economics
  • worked for AT&T where he was an Economist in its Market Analysis and Forecasting organization
  • worked for the New York State Consumer Protection Board (CPB) for 20 years, and was CPB's Director of Utility Intervention for eight years, until 2008 when he joined the PSC.
Prior to the new position with the PSC Office of Consumer Policy, Elfner worked in the PSC Office of Consumer Services and in 2009 worked on New York State's new Energy Plan.

Lou Manuta

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