LePage nominates Portland lawyer as next public advocate

By Matthew Stone, BDN Staff
Posted April 01, 2013, at 6:28 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has tapped a Portland lawyer who has represented electric and natural gas utilities to serve as the state’s next public advocate.

LePage on Monday named Timothy Schneider, an associate with the Portland firm Pierce Atwood, to replace Richard Davies, who had served as public advocate since 2007. Davies’ term expired Feb. 1.

As public advocate, Schneider will be charged with advocating for ratepayers’ interests before the Maine Public Utilities Commission, which regulates utilities and telecommunications in the state, and before regional and federal regulators. His nomination is subject to confirmation by the Legislature’s Energy and Utilities Committee and the full Senate.

A confirmation hearing has yet to be scheduled.

“I am really honored to be nominated and excited to advocate on behalf of Maine ratepayers,” Schneider said late Monday afternoon.

In announcing his choice of Schneider, LePage reiterated an emphasis on lowering electricity prices in Maine in an effort to make the state more appealing to business.

“We must find ways to make Maine more competitive, and part of that includes expanding access to broadband and lowering electricity prices,” the governor said in a statement. “Today, Mainers are burdened with some of the highest energy prices in the nation, and the cost of doing business in Maine is a huge jobs killer. We must have a strong advocate who is working toward job opportunities that will enable Maine to compete in the global market.”

Schneider, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a law degree from New York University, is no stranger to the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Since he joined Pierce Atwood in 2008, he has represented electric and natural gas utilities before the commission, involving topics such as transmission line siting, eminent domain and rate increases.

Before joining Pierce Atwood, Schneider worked for a youth development organization in Washington County, Maine Sea Coast Mission, that ran an after-school program. He’s also a captain of the Portland Hurling Club.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/04/01/news/state/lepage-nominates-portland-lawyer-as-next-public-advocate/ printed on July 31, 2014