Rory Christian, former KeySpan engineer, appointed new PSC president
Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday appointed Rory M. Christian, a former KeySpan Energy engineer and government liaison, to take on the lead role on the Civil Service Commission.
Christian, who was appointed commissioner of the PSC in June, takes on the role of chairman from John Howard, appointed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Howard will remain a PSC commissioner.
In addition to being appointed chairman of the PSC, Christian will also become director general of the State Department of Civil Service, the administrative arm of the PSC.
Hochul cited in a statement “Christian’s deep expertise in utility operations and regulation, environmental policy and community engagement.” She said her skillset were well suited to help advance the state’s green energy goals while ensuring reliable and affordable public service throughout the state. The PSC regulates utilities in the electricity, gas, water and communications sectors.
“I very much expect that, under Rory’s leadership, the PSC will advance innovative energy and telecommunications policy, protect consumers, improve reliability and resilience of utilities, promote economic development. and responsibly meet the challenge of climate change, ”Hochul said.
Christian took on a government liaison role at KeySpan, coordinating with local governments, negotiating contracts and streamlining operations before moving to Exelon Energy. He was also the director of energy finance and sustainability for the New York City Housing Authority. Prior to joining the PSC, he was New York’s director of clean energy at the Environmental Defense Fund.
Christian, who lives in Brooklyn, graduated from the Grove School of Engineering at the City College of New York with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering before earning an MBA from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College.
Earlier this month, the Civil Service Department confirmed a Newsday article that Carrie Meek Gallagher, former Long Island regional director for the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, had been appointed director from the Long Island DPS office. Earlier this year, Gallagher was promoted by Cuomo to the position of Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy and the Environment.
DPS declined to make Gallagher available for an interview, but in a statement she said she was eager to “help ensure fair and reasonable electricity rates for the people of Long Island” while working on the clean energy. The Long Island Power Authority / PSEG has not been subjected to a full tariff review by the DPS since 2015. The office plans to increase its Long Island staff from 22 to 10 new positions this year, Newsday reported. .
Howard, in a statement, said the office had delivered “tangible gains for residents of Long Island, including helping to keep rate increases nearly stable over the past few years, increasing the use of renewables, and improving efficiency “.
But Peter Schlussler, a former member of the Suffolk Legislature’s LIPA oversight committee, said he didn’t have high expectations of a reinvigorated DPS on Long Island.
“Unfortunately my expectations are low and I’m sure I’ll be disappointed with what they haven’t done in the past,” he said. “Their deliverables were unknown. Their supervision was poor at best. It really doesn’t offer any value.”