Senator Lawrence, Representative Berry and other members of the Energy, Utilities and Technology (EUT) Committee, my name is Dylan Voorhees and I am the Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). We testify in strong support of the nomination of Mr. Bartlett for the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and believe he will be a tremendous asset to the people of Maine in the regulation of energy and utilities matters.
I have worked with Phil since 2006, at which time he was the Senate co-chair of this committee. That time included most of his eight years of his legislative service, on or chairing the EUT Committee, chairing the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Energy Future, and as a legislative leader. (I have also known and consulted with Phil on energy matters in the years since he left the Legislature.)
Phil was involved, as a sponsor or chair or simply a leader, in dozens of pieces of energy legislation. Some were minor and many were major, such as implementation of Maine’s modern wind power laws, our energy corridors act, the Renewable Portfolio Standard, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
One of Phil’s most enduring legislative accomplishments was the adoption of “An Act to Establish Maine’s Energy Future” in 2009, which was the product of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Energy Future that he co-chaired. That 60-page piece of legislation established the Efficiency Maine Trust among several other things. The expertise and foresight from Phil and other members of that committee has served Maine people well. As you know, this independent Trust has helped Maine people and businesses achieve well in excess of $1 billion in bill savings and has functioned with integrity under Governors of both parties.
Instead of belaboring his legislative achievements I will simply state that Maine could hardly hope for a PUC commissioner with a more comprehensive and practical knowledge of Maine’s energy and utility policy landscape. Nor could you hope for someone with a more intuitive understanding of the roles of policymakers and regulators. This committee should look forward to working with a PUC commissioner who understands your role because he sat in those seats for many years. He knows what it is like for you to look across the horseshoe to PUC staff and commissioners for accurate information upon which to make policy.
Phil is also an effective leader and a kind, compassionate person. He is an excellent listener and was always cool-headed even in the crucible of legislative politics. He was always able to communicate complex matters effectively to different audiences. He knows how to compromise without letting go of his principles, and how to balance the need to propose big ideas with the need for practical accomplishments. His sense of fairness will serve him admirably at the PUC.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission has been undergoing some challenging times. Public confidence in both utilities and regulators has been weakened. Legislative intent has been frustrated too many times, a conflict which is not healthy for the state. In many states, utility systems are evolving rapidly to meet new policy needs and take advantage of dramatic new technological options. Maine is behind the curve and, frankly, struggling.
We believe Phil will provide needed expertise and leadership that can ensure public confidence and advance Maine toward a more modern utility system and regulatory functions.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to provide this testimony. We urge you to vote unanimously in favor of this nomination.
 Members of this committee may be interested to hear that Phil sponsored a bill in 2010 to re-organize the RPS laws to make them clearer. That was four years after the committee passed the bill that enacted the Class I RPS under his chairmanship. (The bill was sponsored by the ranking House Republican member.)