The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), the Washington, D.C.-based organization representing regulated water utilities and private water service companies throughout the United States, has selected Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Robert F. Powelson to serve as NAWC’s new chief executive. In this role, Powelson will guide the strategic direction of the organization, oversee the association’s operations, and work directly with the more than 220 NAWC member companies.
In August 2017, Powelson was confirmed by the United States Senate for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Prior to his appointment to FERC, he served on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PA PUC) from 2008 to 2017, and he chaired the PA PUC from 2011 to 2015. While on the PA PUC, he was particularly focused on Pennsylvania’s water infrastructure development, promoting the availability of safe drinking water. and reducing unaccounted-for water.
“As NAWC looks to the future, Rob brings to the association tremendous experience at both the state and federal levels,” said Christopher Franklin, chairman and CEO of Aqua America and president of the NAWC Board of Directors. “He is taking the helm of NAWC at an important time in the water industry. His unique skills and relationships will help to highlight the capabilities of NAWC member companies in solving some of the challenges facing many mid- and small-sized municipal water and wastewater utilities. Rob also has first-hand experience in working with utilities and regulators to encourage the investment that is critical to keep our nation’s infrastructure viable.”
Powelson is past president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), where he also was a member of the Board of Directors. He served as chairman of the NARUC Committee on Water and represented the Water Committee on NARUC’s Task Force on Climate Policy. From 2014-2015, Powelson also served as president of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC). Prior to joining the PA PUC, Powelson served as president of the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry.
Powelson is a graduate of St. Joseph’s University and received a Master of Governmental Administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
“As the only public utility whose product is ingested, water has always been of particular importance to me as a regulator. I’m proud of the innovative regulatory environment I helped create in Pennsylvania,” remarked Powelson. “I look forward to bringing this same progressive approach to my new role with NAWC. Building on the long-time proven record of NAWC members in serving tens of millions of Americans, together we’ll work toward solutions that address water and infrastructure challenges and ensure safe and reliable water service for every American.”