Gov. Pat McCrory made his first appointment to the influential N.C. Utilities Commission, picking an engineer with a background in heavy industry who works for a global company that makes products for the defense, oil-and-gas, mining and electric industries.
McCrory's pick, Don M. Bailey of Union County, is the primary energy engineer at ATI Allvac, a specialty metals producer in Monroe and part of a Pittsburgh conglomerate with 11,200 employees worldwide and $5 billion in sales last year.
Bailey's nomination requires approval from the state legislature to become effective.
The 7-member utilities commission currently has one vacancy and will have two more in July, giving McCrory an opportunity to shape one of the state's most influential boards. Utilities commissioners are paid about $125,000 a year, and the chairman close to $140,000.
The utilities commission is currently reviewing rate-increase requests by Progress Energy and Duke Energy, and also oversees rates and service of natural gas utilities, phone companies, moving companies, transportation ferries, and private sewer-and-water companies.
Bailey has been in North Carolina since 1979, and since 2002 has been a director for the Carolina Customer Utility Association, a group of industrial power users that frequently makes appearances before the utilities commission.
McCrory has said he will appoint regulators who are committed to providing customer service to the companies they regulate. Some activist groups have urged McCrory, who worked 29 years for Charlotte-based Duke Energy, to recuse himself from making appointments to the utilities commission.
— Staff writer John Murawski