The New York State Department of Public Service announced Gov. Andrew Cuomo designated John B. Howard as the interim chair of the Public Service Commission (PSC) and interim CEO of the Department of Public Service. Howard fills the vacancy created Friday with the departure of John B. Rhodes, whose term as chair and CEO expired.
“I am honored to be designated by Gov. Cuomo to serve as interim chair of the PSC and interim CEO of the department,” Howard said. “It is important to ensure a smooth transition to a new permanent chair, and I am pleased to help support that effort as interim chair.”
Howard thanked Rhodes for “his outstanding contributions to New York state during the past seven years,” noting Rhodes guided the department in the expansion of clean energy programs initiatives, help set the state on a path to achieve its nation-leading energy and climate goals, and helped increase New Yorkers’ access to clean distributed energy resources by establishing a compensation system based on the value the projects bring to society and the electric grid.
On July 19, 2019, Howard was appointed commissioner of the PSC to a term that runs through Feb. 1, 2024. Howard has served the state for nearly 40 years, serving in various roles in the legislative and executive branches, with vast experience in the energy sector. At the New York Power Authority, he was responsible for monitoring relevant activities at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Department of Environmental Conservation and the PSC. He served as executive deputy director at the New York State Consumer Protection Board where he oversaw the board’s utility intervention filings to the PSC, FERC and the Federal Communications Commission. He was also responsible for the board’s consumer advocacy and public outreach programs.
As executive director for then-Assemblyman Paul D. Tonko, chair of the Assembly Energy Committee, he developed and led the chair’s program in energy policy and legislation, including low-cost energy programs, electric deregulation, authority reform and energy taxes. Howard served as deputy chief of staff to then-Attorney General Cuomo where he developed and oversaw implementation of the attorney general’s community partnership initiative and worked on the attorney generals’ wind energy industry initiative.
Before his appointment to the PSC, Howard served as director of chamber operations to Cuomo, where he was responsible for the execution of the governor’s public appearances across the state, requiring detailed knowledge of the governor’s policy initiatives.
Under the public service law, a quorum of the PSC is a majority of the duly appointed members, which temporarily will have four commissioners after Rhodes’ departure.