Energy

On video: Miller tapped for Department of Public Service

Elizabeth Miller, the commissioner designee for the Department of Public Service

Gov.-elect Peter Shumlin announced Tuesday that Elizabeth Miller will be his commissioner of the Department of Public Service.

Made at what he said would be his last transition press conference, the announcement laid to rest widespread speculation about who would lead the charge on the governor-elect’s renewable energy initiatives and go to bat for the administration on a myriad of legal issues against Entergy Corp., the Louisiana-based company that owns Vermont Yankee, the nuclear power plant in Vernon.

As commissioner, Miller will also oversee the deployment of Shumlin’s ambitious broadband initiative at a time when two utilities, Burlington Telecom and Fairpoint, are both in financial trouble.

Miller, a private attorney from Burlington, is not a utility expert, per se, though she has some experience litigating on behalf of independent power producers in federal court and administration actions in San Francisco.

Shumlin told reporters that he deliberately chose Miller because she has not worked as a utility lawyer. He said he hired Miller because she will be an advocate for Vermonters’ priorities, as opposed to the interests of utilities. He described her as “one of the most capable lawyers in the state.”

“It is not the job of the department to defend providers,” Shumlin said. “It is the job of the department to get the best possible deal for Vermonters.”

Miller, a graduate of Yale Law School, said she is a “serial expert” on legal issues.

From 1995-1996 she served as a law clerk in the private practice of the Honorable James L. Oakes, who was a circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the 1970s. In 1998, she launched a commercial litigation practice in Burlington.

Miller has served on the boards of the Vermont Alliance for Arts Education, Local Motion, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Chittenden County Bar Association and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Her salary as commissioner of the Department of Public Service will be $96,000.

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Anne Galloway

About Anne

Anne Galloway is the founder and editor of VTDigger.org and the executive director of the Vermont Journalism Trust. She has been a journalist for 20 years. Galloway was the editor of the Sunday Rutland Herald and Times Argus from 2006 through 2009. For many years, she was a contributing writer for Seven Days, and her reporting has appeared in The New York Times (Vows column), the New York Daily News, Vermont Life and City Pages (Minneapolis). In March 2017, she was a finalist for the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism for her investigation into allegations of fraud at Jay Peak Resort. Galloway was also a finalist for the Investigative Reporters & Editors FOI Award in April 2017.

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