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President Biden Appoints Montevallo Grad as First Black Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

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The Birmingham Times

WASHINGTON – This week, President Joe Biden announced Willie L. Phillips, Jr. as Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, electricity, and other energy projects.

As the Biden Administration works to tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and create a clean electricity grid by 2035, FERC will maintain an important role in spurring access to reliable, affordable carbon-free energy moving across the country.

Philips, a graduate of the University of Montevallo, was confirmed to serve on the commission in 2021 and has been acting chair since January 2023. He is the first Black person to lead the commission.

He is an experienced regulatory attorney combining over 20 years of legal expertise as a utility regulator, in private practice, and as in-house counsel. He has an extensive background in the areas of public utility regulation, bulk power system reliability, and corporate governance.

Prior to the DCPSC, Willie served as Assistant General Counsel for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a not-for-profit international regulatory authority charged with ensuring the security and reliability of the bulk power system in Washington, D.C.; he also worked for two law firms, where he advised clients on regulatory compliance, litigation, and policy matters.

Chairman Phillips is an active member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) where he served on the NARUC Board of Directors and chaired the Select Committee on Regulatory and Industry Diversity. He earned a Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Montevallo.

The full press release can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/.