House defeats PSC chairmanship measure

Just before noon, I ran into an elated Tim Echols, the rookie member of the state Public Service Commission – who had just learned that he’ll be the PSC’s next chairman.

Tim Echols, a Republican elected to the Public Service Commission last November. Bita Honarvar, bhonarvar@ajc.com

Tim Echols, a Republican elected to the Public Service Commission last November. Bita Honarvar, bhonarvar@ajc.com

The House had surprised everyone – including Echols – and defeated HB 216, a measure that would have set the five-member PSC free to name its own chairman by majority vote. Republicans split on the measure, sinking it with a 60-103 vote.

The measure had been pushed by PSC members Doug Everett and Lauren “Bubba” McDonald – both former House members, whose connections many thought would carry the day. McDonald or Stan Wise of Cobb County were likely to have been named the permanent chairman.

Instead, the PSC will continue its policy of rotating leadership on the panel. “I will be the next chairman,” said Echols, who has been an advocate of encouraging the use of compressed natural gas in fleet vehicles.

Echols has been a part of conservative Christian campaign operations in Georgia. And several of that number in the House – James Mills of Gainesville and Bobby Franklin of Cobb County – were among those voting against the bill with Democrats.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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9 comments Add your comment

ByteMe

March 8th, 2011
2:15 pm

I’m surprised the legislature didn’t vote to make the PSC chairman’s position one that’s appointed by the legislature.

Lum

March 8th, 2011
2:32 pm

Did they get Georgia Power’s prior approval on this?

paige morrison

March 8th, 2011
2:37 pm

Maybe Georgia Power’s approval is not required anymore since we have Tim Echols on board. He believes in the people running the government. Not good ole boy politics or special interests groups.

Lum's the Word

March 8th, 2011
3:54 pm

Lum: That was one funny comment.

Mike

March 9th, 2011
7:32 am

Echols has been scaring me. He campaigned as a Conservative, but everything he proposes seems targeted at raising my rates. If someone wants to drive around in a eco-car, let them pay for it, but don’t pay for it out of my utility bills.

GA Tax Payer

March 9th, 2011
8:45 am

Echols is the Nutty Professor of the PSC and endlessly talked about every radical environmental concept for energy during the PSC campaign. No one should be at all surprised now that he is on the commission to see him in front of every camera, spouting every hair brained idea, and generally making a fool of himself.

GA Tax Payer

March 9th, 2011
8:47 am

PS, The guy was a key in the Oxendine campaign, that should tell you a lot right there.

David A. Staples

March 11th, 2011
10:26 am

GA Tax Payer – while I don’t know much about Echols other than his Oxendine connection, I do think we need to be looking at every possible hair brained and crazy idea we can possibly think of to wean ourselves off of foreign oil.