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House bill would muffle NC Public Staff

The state's Public Staff consumer advocacy agency would be restricted from expressing policy opinions under a bill proposed by a Republican long opposed to North Carolina's renewable energy programs.

Rep. George Cleveland of coastal Onslow County said clamping down on the Public Staff is necessary to keep the agency from promoting political agendas that are not in the public interest.

Cleveland's bill Wednesday passed the House Committee on State Personnel and was sent to the full House for a vote. The Public Staff is a 75-person agency whose function is to advocate for the public in utility rate matters involving electric, natural gas, private water/sewer, ferry and moving companies.

McCrory appoints engineer to N.C. Utilities Commission

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.

Edward Brandt Hipp, former NC Utilities Commission, has died

Edward Brandt Hipp, a longtime Raleigh resident who served on the N.C. Utilities Commission for 12 years, died Monday, Nov. 19, in Greensboro. He was 91.

Hipp is survived by his three children – Edward Brandt Hipp, Jr., Donna Horton and Ellen Smith. His wife of 60 years, Dorothy, predeceased him.

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