Thomas leaving Public Service Fee for personal sector
Ted Thomas has resigned from the Arkansas Public Service Fee, two days after writing a strongly worded recusal from a solar-energy case involving Petit Jean Electrical Cooperative and different utilities.
Thomas, who has 4 years left on his PSC appointment, advised the Arkansas Occasions immediately that his resignation has “nothing to do with the Petit Jean” case however rapidly acknowledged, “Nobody will imagine” that.
Thomas stated he submitted his letter of resignation to Governor Hutchinson yesterday and stated it takes impact Oct. 1.
“It’s time to maneuver on to the following problem,” he stated. That problem might be within the personal sector, he stated.
Thomas stated his transfer was already within the works earlier than his recusal from the PSC’s investigation of allegedly unauthorized net-metering practices for photo voltaic power prospects of electrical distribution cooperatives. A number of firms, together with Petit Jean, had requested Thomas’ recusal.
Thomas wouldn’t say particularly what his subsequent job might be, however he gave a number of hints.
He stated he was conscious of restrictions on what he can not legally do for one yr — lobbying — and has been compliant and supposed to proceed being so. One other restriction, he stated, is that he can not ever take part in any areas that he regulated whereas on the fee as a result of that entails a confidentiality matter. Thomas additionally stated the legislation prohibits him from speaking about his subsequent employer whereas he’s on the fee if he regulates that employer.
Thomas stated his resignation “was utterly voluntary.”
“Nobody within the governor’s workplace, nobody within the legislature, nobody, interval” pressured him to resign, he stated.
Thomas stated he thanked the governor for the chance to serve on the fee. He stated he was grateful that he received to spend so a few years in public service — as a prosecutor, legislator and commissioner.
Petit Jean and different firms had just lately known as on Thomas to recuse and cited his feedback throughout a legislative committee listening to 5 months in the past. They stated he “testified that cooperatives with … interconnection necessities now below problem or overview are ‘not doing the suitable factor;’ ought to have gone via the Fee’s tariffing course of; and have a ‘technique’ that’s ‘designed to delay, delay, delay.’ His public statements replicate predisposition or prejudgment of key points now set for.”
Thomas agreed to step away from the investigation however didn’t accomplish that quietly. He referred to a different battle he had with Petit Jean in 2019.
“Then, like a Saul Goodman stunt, Petit Jean’s counsel falsely accused me of felony conduct and sought my recusal. Higher Name Saul!” he wrote. “‘Members’ like Belinda and Samuel Lister [of Fairfield Bay] received billed for that rubbish too. In fact, Petit Jean and its counsel are entitled to and in reality obtain truthful hearings on the PSC, as much as and together with the speed improve that was authorized for Petit Jean a number of weeks in the past.”
Thomas responded: “I stated ‘do the suitable factor’ as a result of leaving photo voltaic panels on a roof not interconnected for over a yr shouldn’t be doing the suitable factor,” he wrote. “Why is it so necessary to Petit Jean that [the Listers’] photo voltaic panels not be related to the grid? On the listening to I stated that the aim [of] not interconnecting is in order that they are going to stand for example to their neighbors about … what occurs when a mere ‘member’ seeks to oppose the monopolist and its military of litigators. ‘Members’ then get to pay the military of litigators that oppose them.”
Thomas stated he hoped the recusal forestalls “a meritless attraction” and any ensuing litigation delay by the utilities.