Commissioner Bobby Baker has decided not to re-run for his seat at the Public Service Commission this year.
Baker has served 18 years on the body that regulates the utility industry in the state. He’s often cast the sole opposing vote on controversial energy issues.
They’ve involved charging customers upfront for projects they’re not yet receiving service from like Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle and Atlanta Gas Light’s project to expand pipes around Atlanta.
"There were a lot of factors that I disagreed with . I just felt like at times we forgot we were dealing with regulated monopolies and we’re treating them like private companies in a free market where consumers had multiple choices," says Baker. "It wasn’t like that."
Angela Spier-Phelps with the consumer advocacy agency Georgia Watch says Baker has been a strong voice for the people of Georgia.
"Robert always took his responsibility to the people very seriously. He understood that his decision impacted them," says Spier-Phelps. "He knew there were really people whose quality of life and whose family budget would be impacted by his decision and he stood up for all of us even when his colleagues didn’t."
Baker says though he’ll no longer be at the PSC come December when his terms ends, he would like to keep working on energy issues in the state.