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Energy & Environment Government & Politics

Governor makes third appointment to Public Service Commission, Maryland’s utility regulator

Gov. Wes Moore (D). File photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Gov. Wes Moore (D) on Wednesday nominated Bonnie Suchman, an attorney with more than 35 years of experience in the energy and utility field, to a seat on the Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities.

Suchman is the third appointment Moore has made to the five-member Public Service Commission, which in addition to utility regulation, is taking on an increasingly prominent role in the state’s efforts to combat climate change.

For the past eight years, Suchman has operated Suchman Law LLC in Potomac, representing clients on a broad range of energy issues, including transmission policy and regulation, reliability and cybersecurity, cross-border transmission permitting, distributed generation, and renewable energy financing mechanisms.

Prior to opening her own firm, Suchman was counsel in the Washington, D.C., office of Troutman Pepper, a national law firm with a broad portfolio, and was special counsel for electric utility restructuring at the U.S. Department of Energy during the Clinton administration. There, she had a principal role in drafting and implementing a plan to create more competition in the retail market for electric power.

Suchman has also been a senior attorney at the Edison Electric Institute, the trade organization for investor-owned utilities, and was an associate at Webster & Fredrickson, a law firm representing the D.C. Public Service Commission.

Suchman is a published author, penning a book called “Broken Promises: The Story of a Jewish Family in Germany,” which details the trajectory of her in-laws’ family before, during and after the Holocaust. A blurb for the book says she deployed her legal skills while researching the family history.

Shortly after he took office, Moore began to make changes at the Public Service Commission. He rescinded two appointments his predecessor, former Gov. Larry Hogan (R), made last year, and he was able to do so because Commissioners Patrice Bubar and Odogwu Obi Linton had not been confirmed by the state Senate due to the timing of their nominations.

Moore then announced that Fred Hoover, a former director of the Maryland Energy Administration, would take over as PSC chair on July 1, when the five-year term of the current chair, Jason M. Stanek, expires. Hoover was confirmed by the state Senate during this year’s General Assembly session.

Subsequently, Moore appointed former Del. Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery) to a seat on the PSC, and he joined the commission earlier this month, taking Bubar’s seat. Suchman is ticketed to replace Linton, while two Hogan holdovers, Michael Richard and Anthony O’Donnell, remain on the commission.

Suchman, like Barve, will need to be confirmed by the Senate in the 2024 legislative session.

During this year’s session, Moore nominated Juan Alvarado to a seat on the PSC, but Alvarado withdrew following complaints from environmental groups because he is working for a trade association for the natural gas industry.

Last month, a national financial ratings agency for energy and utility investors downgraded its assessment of Maryland’s regulatory framework for utilities, citing in part the turnover at the PSC.


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Governor makes third appointment to Public Service Commission, Maryland’s utility regulator