- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
- Department of Public Utilities
Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Names Jamie Van Nostrand, Staci Rubin, Cecile Fraser to DPU
Maria Hardiman, Communications Director
BOSTON — Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca L. Tepper today appointed Jamie Van Nostrand to be Chair of the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and Staci Rubin to Commissioner. Cecile Fraser will continue her tenure as Commissioner in the Healey-Driscoll Administration. These appointments will be charged with carrying out the directive of creating a “21st Century DPU.”
“For the past eight years, our team in the Attorney General’s Office, including Secretary Tepper and Chief Hoffer, served as the ratepayer advocate by standing up for Massachusetts residents struggling to pay their utility bills,” said Governor Healey. “We know how critical it is that the DPU leadership understands that the transition to a clean energy economy is a pocketbook issue and will be thoughtful in how we evolve our grid and economy for the future. I have full faith in Jamie Van Nostrand, Staci Rubin, and Cecile Fraser to uphold those values.”
“With Jamie, Staci, and Cecile at the helm, the next era of the Department of Utilities will be marked by a commitment to transparency, equity, and innovation,” said Secretary Tepper. “Our goal is to build a 21st century DPU rooted in these values. Jamie is a longtime advocate for the clean energy resources and will help lead the Commonwealth’s transition at this pivotal time. Staci has been at the forefront of the environmental justice movement in Massachusetts. And Cecile brings extensive institutional knowledge and a strong understanding of the importance of consumer protections.”
“I am honored and excited to be joining the Healey-Driscoll Administration at such a pivotal time in the clean energy transition,” said Van Nostrand. “I look forward to working with Secretary Tepper and the other energy and environmental agencies to meet Governor Healey’s clean energy objectives, while maintaining affordable energy and designing clean energy programs that benefit all communities.”
“It’s a tremendous honor to return to the DPU and serve an administration that is committed to equity and reducing climate-damaging emissions,” added Rubin. “For many years, I’ve advocated for a more inclusive, transparent DPU that considers climate justice and I’m grateful for the opportunity to bring that vision to life. Together, we will work to ensure that environmental justice populations have seats at the table in shaping our clean energy future.”
“I’m pleased to continue serving the people of Massachusetts as commissioner under the Healey-Driscoll Administration,” said Commissioner Fraser. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with Jamie and Staci as we look to the future of the DPU, and institute new and innovative practices to ensure energy affordability, expand community engagement, and meet our critical climate goals.”
The Healey-Driscoll Administration is committed to transforming the DPU. The commissioners will be encouraged to evaluate structural and cultural changes to advance the following goals:
- Operate as a partner in achieving climate goals, including through facilitating rapid renewable energy growth, building a modern grid, and promoting resiliency.
- Open its doors to the public through modernized communications tools and meaningful community engagement in its proceedings.
- Integrate equity into its decision-making and respond to concerns from environmental justice populations and low-income ratepayers.
- Build agency expertise to ensure DPU independence and meet its mission, which includes prioritizing affordability, consumer protection, emissions reductions, transportation safety, and more.
The DPU Commission consists of three members, of whom two are appointed for a term coterminous with the Governor and one for a term of four years. One commissioner is designated as chair for a term of two years.
Cecile Fraser was first appointed as a Commissioner to the Department of Public Utilities in June of 2017. In January 2023, she was appointed Acting Chair. She will remain Acting Chair until Van Nostrand starts on May 1. Following the transition, Fraser will continue as Commissioner in the Healey-Driscoll Administration. Rubin starts on April 10. Current DPU Commissioner Robert Hayden will step down on April 8.
About Jamie Van Nostrand
Van Nostrand has over 30 years of experience in the energy industry, including positions as a utility regulator, an attorney for energy companies, and head of an environmental organization. He currently holds the Charles M. Love, Jr. Endowed Professorship at the West Virginia University (WVU) College of Law, where he also directs the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. Van Nostrand also spent three years at the Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law, where he served as Executive Director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center, an environmental NGO working on clean energy issues in New York and throughout New England. Prior to his transition to academia, Mr. Van Nostrand had a successful career in private law practice as a partner in the Environmental and Natural Resources practice group at Perkins Coie, LLP and Stoel Rives, LLP, two large law firms based in the Pacific Northwest. In his 22-year career in private practice, Van Nostrand represented energy clients in state regulatory proceedings in eight western states, as well as proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He was recognized by the Energy Bar Association as its 2007 State Regulatory Practitioner of the Year. Van Nostrand received a LL.M. in Environmental Law from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law, a Master’s in Economics from SUNY Albany, and Bachelor’s in Economics from the University of Northern Iowa.
Van Nostrand is the author of The Coal Trap: How West Virginia Was Left Behind in the Clean Energy Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2022). As an advocate on clean energy issues, Van Nostrand has appeared as a commentator in media outlets, including The New York Times, NPR, Politico, Rolling Stone magazine, and more.
About Cecile Fraser
Prior to her appointment to the DPU, Fraser served with the Department as counsel in the Division of Regional and Federal Affairs and the Consumer Division. Fraser is an attorney with over a decade of experience in the energy and utilities industry. Prior to joining the Department, Fraser worked in private law practice and as an in-house counsel engaged in a range of matters involving utility rates and regulation, infrastructure siting, consumer service issues, and related activities. As counsel with the Department, Fraser has worked on issues involving New England’s wholesale electric markets and transmission system, as well as consumer issues. Fraser received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Fordham University and her J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law-Camden.
About Staci Rubin
Rubin is currently the Vice President of Environmental Justice at the Conservation Law Foundation where she partners with residents of historically marginalized communities to address challenges regarding climate justice, transportation, zero waste, and lead poisoning prevention. Rubin has achieved victories using a community lawyering approach including a settlement that prioritizes bus riders and communities of color, elimination of fare disparities for cash-paying riders at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and preventing energy and waste facilities in low-income communities. She is a member of the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Table, which advocates for inclusion of important environmental justice requirements in the 2021 Climate Roadmap statute and supported the development of Vermont’s first environmental justice statute. Rubin previously served in the DPU as Senior Counsel and Hearing Officer, where she led the adjudication of a solar incentive program, implemented multiple net metering laws, and managed the public records team. Rubin’s previous experience includes Senior Attorney and Environmental Justice Legal Services Program Director at Alternatives for Community & Environment.
Staci serves as co-chair of the Climate Justice Working Group of the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act Implementation Advisory Committee. She earned a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law, a Master’s of Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine, a Master’s of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School, and an undergraduate degree from New York University.
Statements of Support for Jamie Van Nostrand
Kit Kennedy, Managing Director, Climate & Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council
“We have worked with Jamie for the past fifteen years, ever since he directed the Pace Energy & Climate Center in New York. Jamie has been a tireless advocate for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and he will bring this know-how to the Department of Public Utilities to help guide its future. He will undoubtedly provide the leadership Massachusetts needs to achieve a just and orderly transition to a clean energy economy.”
Dale Bryk, Director of State & Regional Policy at the Harvard Environmental & Energy Law Program
“Jamie Van Nostrand brings unparalleled technical expertise, a pragmatic approach and a deep commitment to equity that will enable him to lead a just and orderly transition to a clean energy economy in Massachusetts. There has never been a more important time to have strong leadership at the DPU, whose decisions can leverage new federal resources and drive investments that will maximize benefits for all customers."
Karan May, Senior Campaign Representative for Sierra Club in Central Appalachia
“Jamie Van Nostrand has been a strong advocate on behalf of West Virginia ratepayers since coming to the state in 2011. His deep familiarity with the ratemaking process enables him to be a frequent and effective critic of the pro-coal policies of West Virginia’s PSC, and a voice for ratepayers in promoting clean energy policies that would result in lower electricity prices. His departure from West Virginia is a huge loss for us, but Massachusetts will be gaining an effective and knowledgeable expert as its chief utility regulator.”
Betta Broad, Director of Advocacy and Organizing for the Association for Energy Affordability
“Sound utility regulation is critical to efforts across the region to improve health and quality of life in underserved communities while reducing greenhouse gases. Jamie Van Nostrand has the skills and experience necessary to ensure that Massachusetts actually improves energy affordability as the state charts its course to a clean energy future.”
Statements of Support for Cecile Fraser
Michael A. Caron of Connecticut, President, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)
“Commissioner Fraser is an active participant in NARUC where she engages on a range of critical utility and regulatory issues to help ensure that customers in the Commonwealth continue to receive safe, affordable, reliable, and clean energy. I am delighted that Commissioner Fraser will continue to serve in this role.”
Joe Curtatone, President, Northeast Clean Energy Council, Inc.
“This is a pivotal era for the DPU, as the effort to meet our state's aggressive clean energy goals also will be the engine that drives our economy. I am excited to see Commissioner Fraser and her new colleagues rise to meet that challenge, helping to establish Massachusetts as an international leader in clean energy and advanced climate technology. The Commissioner was instrumental in developing a regulatory model to unleash solar development in Massachusetts and I look forward to her leading DPU through this transition.”
Sharon Scott-Chandler, President & CEO, Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD)
“I am thankful that Cecile will continue to serve the Healey-Driscoll administration. Cecile is experienced and familiar with the challenges that face Massachusetts customers when it comes to high energy prices. She will continue to keep affordability and impacts to customers, like the ones served by ABCD, top of mind in all she does.”
Statements of Support for Staci Rubin
Dr. Gaurab Basu, Co-Director of the Center for Health Equity Education and Advocacy at Cambridge Health Alliance
“The Department of Public Utilities will have a powerful role to play in the shift to clean energy, and Staci Rubin is the right person to be leading the institution. Staci has been a top advocate for a swift transition, and now she’ll have the tools to bring affordable, safe, healthier energy sources to the residents who need it the most.”
Roseann Bongiovanni, Executive Director of GreenRoots, Inc.
“Over the course of the last fifteen years, I have been witness to Staci's commitment to equity and justice, always centering the communities most impacted by disproportionate environmental harms. The breadth of her knowledge, experience and understanding of complex decision-making structures and statewide policies make her the perfect choice for Commissioner of the Department of Public Utilities.”
Dwaign Tyndal, Executive Director of Alternatives for Community & Environment
“Staci’s commitment to environmental justice populations is real. She has a deep understanding of how Black, Brown, immigrant, and low-income residents are excluded from policymaking, and she’ll know how to bring them into the process. I commend the Healey-Driscoll Administration for making such a great choice for DPU commissioner.”