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News Release
Lee Sparling to Head Utility Division
December 17, 2003 (2003 - 31)
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner 503-378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR – The Oregon Public Utility Commission today announced the selection of Lee Sparling as the Commission’s Utility Program Director. Sparling replaces John Savage, who was chosen earlier this year by Gov. Kulongoski to serve as a Commissioner.
Mr. Sparling has been with the Commission since 1983, most recently as Administrator of the electric and natural gas division.
"We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Lee’s extensive energy background to run our utility program in these challenging times," Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said. "Lee brings an impressive knowledge of the current regulatory issues facing the Commission."
Sparling led the Commission’s investigation into trading activity during the 2000-01 energy crisis and was directly involved in developing the agency’s position on electric industry restructuring. Mr. Sparling worked as an economist in the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice before joining the PUC. He earned a Masters in Economics from Stanford in 1972 and PhD in Economics from the California Institute of Technology in 1980.
The utility program is responsible for providing advice to the Commission on rates and services of all investor-owned electrical, natural gas, water, and telecommunications utilities in the state.
Investor-owned utilities currently receive over $3 billion in revenues annually from 2.4 million Oregon customers. The Utility Program has the responsibility for those utilities in order to ensure that Oregon consumers receive safe and adequate service at just and reasonable rates.
The Utility Program director is responsible for providing the overall vision and general direction for the agency’s Utility Program so that proposals to the Commission meet the Commission’s statutory responsibilities and Commission policy. This position reports directly to the Commission.
The Utility Director manages administrators in four divisions:
1. Electric and Natural Gas Division
2. Telecommunications Division
3. Economic Research
4. Regulatory Operations Division