California Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed Martha Guzman Aceves and Clifford Rechtschaffen to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The two new commissioners will replace Michael Florio and Catherine Sandoval, whose six-year terms expire on Jan. 1, 2017.
As the agency that regulates the state’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs), the CPUC has significant influence on the future of renewable energy policies in California. For example, the CPUC voted to preserve net energy metering for solar customers earlier this year despite opposition from the IOUs.
“Martha has the experience, know-how and insight to well serve the people of California at the Public Utilities Commission,” says Brown in a press release. “Cliff’s experience as a lawyer, teacher and specialist in environmental and energy matters equips him to do an outstanding job on the commission. Both have sound judgment and a commitment to protecting ratepayers and ensuring safe, reliable and climate-friendly energy in California.”
According to the release, Guzman Aceves, 39, of Sacramento, has been a deputy legislative affairs secretary in the Office of the Governor since 2011, focusing on natural resources, environmental protection, energy and food and agriculture. She was sustainable communities program director for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation from 2005 to 2011. From 2006 to 2008, she worked with Swanton Berry Farm on human resources issues, including a new employee-stock ownership program. She was legislative coordinator for United Farm Workers from 1999 to 2005, working on labor and environmental issues. In 2010 she co-founded Communities for a New California, a charitable organization promoting increased civic engagement of underrepresented communities. Guzman Aceves earned a Master of Science degree in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Davis and is a Democrat.
Rechtschaffen, 59, of Oakland, has served as a senior advisor in the Office of the Governor since 2011, where he has worked on climate, energy and environmental issues. In 2011, he also served as acting director of the California Department of Conservation. Rechtschaffen served as special assistant attorney general in the California Department of Justice, Attorney General’s Office from 2007 to 2010. From 1993 to 2007, he taught environmental law, directed the environmental law program and co-founded the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law. In 2005 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on environmental law and policy. He was a deputy attorney general in the Environment Section of the California Department of Justice, Attorney General’s Office from 1986 to 1993, Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellow at the Marin County Legal Aid Foundation from 1985 to 1986 and a law clerk for the Honorable Thelton Henderson at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California from 1984 to 1985. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School and is a Democrat.
Commissioners serve six-year terms and require state Senate confirmation.