For Immediate Release - April 09, 2009

Secretary Bowles Names Jolette Westbrook to Public Utilities Commission

Sagamore Beach attorney, Siting Board director appointed to four-year term

For a photo of Jolette Westbrook, click here. Link to the image file.

BOSTON - Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles today named Jolette Westbrook of Sagamore Beach as a commissioner of the Commonwealth Utilities Commission effective April 13.

An attorney and longtime employee of the Commonwealth, Westbrook currently serves as both general counsel and director of the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, a nine-member review board within the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) charged with ensuring through the siting of transmission and generation facilities that the state has a reliable energy supply at the lowest possible cost and with the least environmental impact. In her role as Siting Board director, Westbrook has overseen the permitting of major energy infrastructure in Massachusetts, including power plants, electric transmission lines, natural gas pipelines and natural gas storage facilities.

"I am pleased to appoint Jolette Westbrook to this crucial regulatory post," Secretary Bowles said. "I am confident that her deep knowledge of the Commonwealth's energy supply system, coupled with her legal experience, will prove invaluable as the Commission advances a forward-looking agenda that includes lowering energy costs, boosting energy efficiency, and bringing more renewable power to market."

The three-member Commonwealth Utilities Commission oversees the DPU, the state agency principally responsible for regulation of natural gas and electric utilities. Westbrook will serve along with Commission Chairman Paul Hibbard and Commissioner Timothy Woolf, both of whom were appointed by Bowles in 2007, shortly after the DPU was created by Governor Patrick's Cabinet reorganization bill, which was approved by the Legislature. Westbrook replaces Commissioner Robert Keating, whose term expires April 10. Westbrook is a registered Republican; the statute authorizing the Commission requires that no more than two commissioners be members of the same political party.

At the time of the reorganization, Hibbard and Woolf were appointed to four year terms coterminous with the Governor's. Keating, who was a commissioner of the DPU's predecessor agency, the Department of Telecommunications and Energy, was given a two-year appointment in order to create a commissioner post that was non-coterminous with the Governor's, to maintain continuity over time. Westbrook has been appointed to a four-year term.

"Bob Keating has been a great colleague, and I thank him for his service to the Commonwealth," said Hibbard. "I look forward to working with Jolette Westbrook in a new capacity. She will make a great commissioner."

Director of the Energy Facilities Siting Board since 2006, Westbrook's prior service to the Commonwealth has included positions as acting assistant general counsel and senior counsel/hearing officer at the DPU, director of "Lemon Law" arbitration programs at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Consumer Affairs, and counsel to the Department of Procurement and General Services.

From 1987 to 1989, Westbrook was managing attorney for the Southeastern Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, and she worked before that as a case manager for the Massachusetts Division of Employment Security, and a litigator at the law firm of Dawkins & Quarles.

An alumna of Russell Sage College, where she earned a bachelor's in criminal science, Westbrook earned a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law. She holds bar memberships to the U.S. Supreme Court, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and the U.S. District Court (Massachusetts).