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Sharing the Workforce Perspective

IBEW's Phil Wilcox is appointed to serve on New York's Public Service Commission

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by Kate Hogan on
Jul 05, 2017

The New York State Public Service Commission has a new member and he comes from the ranks of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. In June, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the appointment of Phil Wilcox to serve as Commissioner of the New York State Public Service Commission, also known as the PSC, on their 5-member board. 

The PSC regulates the state’s electric, gas, steam, telecommunications and water utilities. Through this regulatory action, they have an important voice in working to keep three nuclear power plants in Central New York open so that the state can meet its clean energy objectives. The Commission consists of five members, each appointed by the Governor of New York, with the advice and consent of the New York State Senate. "It is an enormous honor to have been nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the NYS Senate for a Commissioner position at the NYS PSC." said Wilcox of his appointment. "It will be a unique opportunity to share the workforce perspective regarding its part in delivering of the PSC mission for safe, reliable utility service through skill proficiency in ensuring the highest standard of energy infrastructure in construction, maintenance and emergency response".

Before the PSC, Wilcox spent 34 years as a substation electrician for National Grid with IBEW Local 97. Electrical substations are used to alter the flow of electrical energy transmissions so that just enough electricity is transmitted to homes and businesses. Substation electricians  maintain and monitor the equipment at electrical substations, ensuring they continue to work properly and safely. Wilcox promises to keep this skillset in mind as a Commissioner. "Ensuring utility customers have the safest, most reliable and most cost effective delivery of critical utility services is something we reminded each other of continuously in the hands-on electric substation work I previously performed, and that I will continue to embrace".

Wilcox will be taking on many new roles and dealing with a multitude of issues in his new position. "There are broad based issues in front of the Commission, but among the most exciting is the Governors recently approved Clean Energy Standard and its objective to further and aggressively develop clean, sustainable and cost effective sources of energy." 

The Clean Energy Standard is the most comprehensive and ambitions clean energy mandate in the state’s history. The standard will significantly reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and prevent backsliding on progress already made by maintaining the operations of carbon free nuclear power plants as the state transitions to a 50 % renewable requirement and strengthen New York’s electrical fuel diversity for the reliability benefits it brings. As Wilcox says, "Regardless of where anyone sits on the climate issue, no one will dispute that there is a finite supply of fossil fuels, and the steady reduction of dependence on them while development of sustainable, cost effective replacements is simply the right thing to do if we care about future generations.  The environmental benefits of these important efforts are well documented."

Before his work with Local 97, Wilcox served in the Air Force, from which he was honorably discharged. He has two daughters currently attending SUNY colleges, both of whom he is very proud of. We wish him luck with his new position and the organized labor community is grateful to have one of our own serving in such an important capacity.

Syracuse, N.Y., Local 97 members worked with everyone from local leaders to Gov. Cuomo, pictured left, with Local 97 Business Manager Ted Skerpon, center, and Western Division Business Representative Phil Wilcox.

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