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News Release
Commissioner Joan Smith Announces Retirement Plans
February 11, 2003 (2003 - 003)
Contacts:  Roy Hemmingway, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Lee Beyer, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR – Oregon Public Utility Commissioner Joan H. Smith today notified Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski that she is retiring on May 1, 2003.
Smith has served on the commission since November 1990; she was Commission chair from 1995-1997.
During her tenure, the three-member Utility Commission put in place a framework that allowed large natural gas customers to have direct access to suppliers and established rules to initiate electric market restructuring. The Commission also earned praise from the rating agencies and Wall Street for protecting Portland General Electric when Enron acquired it. 
The Commission also worked to pass Senate Bill 622, which brought investment in fiber optic infrastructure throughout Qwest's territory in rural Oregon. The legislation also instituted penalties to improve Qwest's quality of service, and established a Universal Service Fund to assure affordable phone service to all Oregonians.
Smith has held several national posts, chiefly in the telecommunications field. During President Bill Clinton's term in office, Smith was named to the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council, a group charged with setting national policy for access to the Internet.
For the past three years, Smith chaired the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC) Committee on Telecommunications which helped to develop national policy to implement the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and also to open markets to competition. She was a member of the NARUC Board of Directors, and served as President of the Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners.
"I have enjoyed the privilege of serving Oregon and the customers of the regulated industries," Smith said, adding, "What I've learned over the years is that a free market disciplines business more effectively, overall, than regulation."
The world of utilities changed remarkably over the past decade, she noted. "When I first came to the Commission, the regulated industries essentially had a monopoly on service. Today customers have a lot of choices. That's a monumental shift," Smith said.