(Oregonian (Portland, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 27--The U.S. Department of Energy said Monday that Elliot Mainzer has been appointed administrator of he Bonneville Power Administration, effective today.
BPA sells power from 31 federal hydroelectric dams and a nuclear plant in the region and controls much of its high voltage transmission grid. Its administrator is one of the most important federal officials in the Northwest.
Mainzer has been in an acting capacity as administrator since July, when his predecessor Bill Drummond was put on administrative leave amid investigations into hiring problems at the power marketing agency and allegations of retaliation against whistleblowers by senior managers.
Drummond subsequently resigned after being offered a reassignment within the Department of Energy, which oversees the four federal power marketing agencies.
Customers and stakeholders in the region have been urging the DOE to act quickly and appoint Mainzer as the official replacement so that agency can move on from its hiring scandal and address pressing regional issues without a leadership vacuum.
Scott Corwin, executive director of the Public Power Council, said Monday that Mainzer had the skills to lead BPA and it was good to see the agency heading toward stability.
Mainzer has served in various management capacities with BPA during the last 12 years, including trading floor manager, manager of transmission policy and strategy and executive vice president of corporate strategy. He led BPA's work on renewable resource integration and technology innovation, the evaluation of an energy imbalance market and its recent work around the Columbia River Treaty.
"The Bonneville Power Administration is vitally important to serving the energy needs of the Pacific Northwest and contributes greatly to the Energy Department's mission," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a news release. "Elliot Mainzer has the proven experience to lead BPA during this important time and I look forward to working with him to serve BPA's customers, constituents and employees in the months and years to come,"
Prior to BPA, Mainzer worked on the trading floor at Enron Corp. in Portland. He has an undergraduate degree in geography from the University of California Berkeley and master's degrees in Business and Environmental Studies from Yale University.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead BPA during this challenging and historic time for the region," Mainzer said in a news release. "I am excited to work with our employees, customers and constituents, state, local and tribal governments, and the Northwest Congressional delegation to meet the energy and environmental challenges facing the Northwest and position BPA to continue to deliver value to the region well into the future."
- Ted Sickinger
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