Utility Project Announces its New Executive Director, Richard Berkley

The Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc. is pleased to announce the selection of Richard Berkley to be its Executive Director.  He has a wealth of public interest service and experience in energy and telecommunications law, utility regulation, and legislative and regulatory policy.

Richard A. Winsten, Chairman of the Utility Project’s Board of Directors, said “This is a time of great stress and hardship for New York consumers, many of whom frequently experience threats of utility service termination because they cannot afford high costs for essential energy and telecom services.  Richard Berkley has tremendous experience and the skills needed to bolster the Utility Project’s independent advocacy for low and fixed income consumers, and we are delighted he is joining us as our new Executive Director.”

Most recently, Berkley was Chief of Staff and Counsel to Senator Kevin L. Parker, Ranking Member of the New York State Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications.  In that position he was responsible for the function of the District and Albany Offices in the areas of constituent and community affairs, legislative and policy projects, drafting and negotiating legislation regarding energy and telecom utility service.  Prior to his position of Chief of Staff to Senator Parker, he was Director of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, Counsel to the Whip, and served as Director of the Legislative Commission on Science and Technology.

Prior to his work in the State Senate, Berkley was counsel to Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Commissions and Authorities.  He conducted investigations and drafted legislation concerning matters within the Committee’s jurisdiction including public authorities, telecommunications, energy regulation, competition policy and deregulation issues. He served as the Assemblyman’s Counsel in electric and gas rate cases, and regulatory proceedings affecting telephone, cable, wireless and VoIP carriers, the investigation of the Con Edison Long Island City blackout, and environmental matters.

Mr. Berkley previously worked for the City of New York as its Telecommunications & Cable Franchise Counsel, in matters involving cable franchises, emergency restoration of telecommunication services, procurement of telecom facilities for the City, wireless public safety matters and information technology contracting.  His other experience with New York State’s government was for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services as its Assistant Counsel and Information Technology Attorney.

He received his B.A. degree from Fordham University in history and music theory, and a J.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin, where he was Articles Editor for the Wisconsin International Law Journal.  He also worked for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, and for the Center for Public Representation, a public interest law firm. He has taught at the University of Wisconsin Business School, and a variety of other institutions of higher education.  He is a member of the New York State and New Jersey bars.

His pro bono work includes service as Chairman, City of Albany Board of Zoning Appeals, May 2014 to present; Board Member, City of Albany PEG Access Board, June 2011 to present; Board Member, Lark Street Business Improvement District, 2006-2010; 2012-2013; Board Member, Albany Area Housing Opportunity, Sept. 2012 to present; and President, Hudson/Park Neighborhood Association, Sept. 2011-Sept. 2013.

Mr. Berkley succeeds the Utility Project’s former Executive Director, Gerald Norlander, who is retiring.  Mr. Norlander will continue to serve in an Of Counsel role during the transition and for special projects.

The Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has advocated for universal service, affordability, and customer protections for New York State utility consumers since 1981.

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