Washington State utilities commissioner retires

After two six-year terms, Patrick Oshie will step down as a commissioner at the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC).

Oshie was appointed to the UTC by Gov. Gary Locke in 2001, and reappointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2006. Oshie has accepted an offer to join the Western Electricity Coordinating Council as its associate general counsel.

The commission regulates investor-owned gas and electric utilities, as well as telephone companies, solid waste haulers, private water systems, pipelines, residential movers and private ferries, among other services.

"In Pat's two terms as a commissioner, he has become a nationally recognized leader and advocate for making conservation our number one energy resource," Gregoire said. "His thoughtful and flexible approach to regulation and to government service in general should be a model for all."

In his 11 years as a commissioner, Oshie helped steer the commission through the development of the first conservation plans under Initiative 937, the Energy Independence Act, helping make Washington a leader in energy conservation. Oshie also helped investor-owned utilities avoid economic peril in the challenging economic times following the California energy crisis and relaxed regulation on telecommunications companies as markets became more competitive.

"It was a very difficult decision to leave the commission and the many skilled, hard-working, and caring individuals who work here," Oshie said. "I look forward to the challenges I will face in my new career."

In his career, Oshie has served as an assistant city attorney for the city of Seattle, representing Seattle City Light, and as an assistant attorney general in Utah. In 1986, he served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Utah's College of Law.

Oshie's term ended January 1, his last day at the commission is January 4. Governor-Elect Jay Inslee will name his successor.

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