Board of Directors and Staff

Board of Directors

Stuart Appelbaum
Stuart Appelbaum is President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. In addition to having previously held the offices of RWDSU Secretary-Treasurer and an RWDSU Vice President, he has also served as Assistant to the President and Coordinator of Special Projects. He serves on the AFL-CIO Executive Council and is a Vice President of the United Food and Commerical Workers, with which the RWDSU is affiliated. Throughout his years working for the RWDSU, he has been involved in many of the union’s activities, including shaping the union’s health and safety program and serving as a trustee of the RWDSU’s health and benefit and pension funds. In addition to his posts at the RWDSU, he is a vice president of the New York City and New York State AFL-CIO, the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, and the Jewish Labor Committee.
 
Patricia Bah
Patricia Bah joined the Board to occupy the “consumer seat”.
 
Charles W. F. Bell – Secretary 
Charles Bell is Programs Director for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. He works closely with Consumers Union’s advocacy offices in California, New York, Texas, and Washington, D.C., on a wide range of consumer policy issues, including health care restructuring, financial services, energy, telecommunications, and the environment. He also engages in direct advocacy in the Northeastern states on Consumers Union’s priority campaign issues, and works with its external relations department to develop grants, organizational collaborations, and events. In addition, he manages the Colston E. Warne Program, which provides financial and technical support for U.S. and international consumer organizations, and serves as a member of the Board of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
 
Alfred Fuente, Esq. Alfred Fuente, Esq. currently works as a litigator at Fuente & Fuente. Prior to his current position, Alfred  worked at Jajan & Associates, and in the Storm Response Unit at the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG). Alfred obtained his J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law, and two Masters Degrees from the University of Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne and University of Paris III – La Sorbonne Nouvelle, respectively. Alfred is admitted to the bar of the State of New York. He is a member of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and is Secretary of the Committee on the Supreme Court. Alfred is a member of the New York City Bar Association, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS). Alfred is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.
 
Jill A. Kupferberg, Esq. – Treasurer Jill A. Kupferberg, Esq. has served as a member of the Utility Project’s Board of Directors for more than 20 years.  Prior to her board position, she served as staff attorney for New York’s Utility Project during its early years, representing low income individuals and groups in rate setting cases and in disputes with utility companies. She helped draft the landmark Home Energy Fair Practices Act, which is now Article 2 of the New York Public Service Law. She also has extensive experience in landlord tenant law.Currently, Ms. Kupferberg is an attorney at Timothy P. Fisher, Esq., P.C. in New York City where she represent clients in estate planning, tax planning, wills, trusts, health care documents, and powers of attorney.  She has been a member of the New York State Bar Association since 1976, and is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School.
 
Kirsten Keefe, Esq. – Kirsten Keefe is a senior staff attorney with the Consumer Finance and Housing Unit in Empire Justice Center’s Albany offices. Kirsten is also Director of Empire Justice’s Anchor Partner for the NYS Office of the Attorney General’s Homeownership Protection Program (“HOPP”), overseeing the statewide administration of grants to non-profit organizations providing direct assistance to homeowners. Kirsten started providing direct legal services in 1998, served on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System’s Consumer Advisory Council, and has taught law at the Beasley School of Law, Albany Law School and other local universities. She received her J.D. from Beasley School of Law at Temple University.
 
Gerald Norlander, Esq. – Gerald Norlander was Executive Director of the Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc. (“PULP”) from 2000 to January 2015. Prior to that he was Deputy Director of PULP, and before that he was Executive Director of Westchester Legal Services and was a Board member of PULP. Early in his career, Gerry was a Peace Corps Volunteer in India and he received an R.H. Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship. He has published articles on matters relating to utility consumer protection, market-based rates and has been a long champion of legal assistance to low-income persons. While at the helm of PULP, he was chair of the NASUCA Electric Committee for six years. He is a member of the bar of New York State, thee U.S. District Courts, the Courts of Appeals of the Second Circuit and the District of Columbia, and the United States Supreme Court. He has served the legal community in many ways, among them as a member of the Committee to Improve Availability of Legal Services, pursuant to an appointment by the Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. He received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota.
 
Keith Mestrich – Keith Mestrich became President of Amalgamated Bank in April 2014 and its Chief Executive Officer in August 2014. Mr. Mestrich has 25 years of experience working with Amalgamated Bank’s core constituencies in the labor movement and nonprofit organizations. He joined Amalgamated in June 2012 and directed the Washington Region, where he coordinated its operations and previously served as the Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In his capacity at SEIU, he also served as a trustee on three separate Taft-Hartley funds and on the Investment Committee for the SEIU Master Trust. Mr. Mestrich is a 25-year veteran of the labor movement, beginning his career as a researcher at the AFL-CIO, where he gained experience assisting unions on hundreds of organizing, bargaining, and political campaigns. He now also serves as Director of the National Consumers League.
 
Anna Sommer Anna Sommer is a Principal at Energy Futures Group and is based in Canton, NY.  She provides expert testimony for clients across the country on many issues related to utility scale electric generation planning including modeling electric power systems, energy efficiency planning, and carbon capture and storage.  She is grateful for the opportunity to sit on PULP’s board because she believes the affordable, fair, and just provision of public utility services to low and moderate income households is a key component of an equitable society.  Ms. Sommer holds a BS in Economics and Environmental Studies from Tufts University and an MS in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley.
 
Vacant
 
Richard D. Winsten, Esq. – Board Chairman Richard D. Winsten, Esq. is Chairman of the Utility Project’s Board of Directors. He is a also member of the law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C., serving as co-chair of the firm’s Government Relations practice.  With his practice based in the Albany, New York’s Capital District, Mr. Winsten has significant and longstanding relationships with members of the state legislature, state agencies, and all levels of state government. He has been a registered and active New York State lobbyist since 1978, and is a graduate of the New York University Law School.
 

Staff 

Richard A. Berkley, Esq. is the Executive Director of the Public Utility Law Project. Previously Mr. Berkley was Chief of Staff and Counsel to Senator Kevin Parker of the New York State Senate, and before that, he was Director of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications. He was Counsel to Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, Chair of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, and served as Information Technology Attorney and Assistant Counsel for the State Office of Children and Family Services. He was also Telecommunications and Cable Franchise Counsel for the City of New York, and worked at the State of Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission while in law school. He is a member of the bar of the State of New York and the State of New Jersey. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. Currently he is Chair of the NASUCA Consumer Protection Committee.
 
Rosa Maria Castillo-Kesper is the Director of Operations of the Public Utility Law Project and has a wealth of government and not-for-profit sector experience. Ms. Castillo-Kesper worked for the State Legislature, most notably in the Senate Finance Committee, and served in the Executive Branch under Governors Malcolm Wilson, Nelson Rockefeller, Hugh Carey, Mario Cuomo and George Pataki. Ms. Castillo-Kesper had a strong and sustained focus upon economic development, rural and affordable housing, state lands, human rights, historic preservation, and finance, which she implemented at the Department of State. The recipient of numerous awards for her work as a public servant, Ms. Castillo-Kesper is the creator of the Main Street Program and one of New York’s foremost authorities on housing. A published author, among her other work in the not-for-profit sector, Ms. Castillo-Kesper co-founded Entre Nosotras, an empowerment organization for Latinas, and was a key leader in innumerable New York City cultural arts organizations when she worked for the Mayor of the City of New York. She holds a degree from Ibero-American University in Mexico City.
 
Sam Faduski is the Staff Attorney for Western New York for the Public Utility Law Project. They started their career at Legal Services of Central New York, where they assisted and advocated for clients facing problems with public benefits, social security, and utility shutoffs. Mx. Faduski is a member of the National Lawyers Guild and is trained as a Legal Observer. They attended the University at Buffalo, where they graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology and Social Science with a focus in Health and Human Services, Masters of Social Work with a focus on Veterans and Military Families, and Juris Doctorate. 
 
Lisa Forkas is Administrator for the Public Utility Law Project. 
 
Staff Attorney – New York City
 
Laura Wharton is a Legal Aide for the Public Utility Law Project. She graduated from University of Delaware with her Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Black American Studies, where she studied abroad in France and Ghana.  She received her Juris Doctorate from the Vermont Law School. She was a Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Scholar, a Barristers’ Bookstore Public Service Fellowship Recipient, Corporate Counsel Women of Color Scholarship Recipient, and a Christopher Wren Endowed Human Rights Scholarship Recipient, and a co-chair for the Equal Justice Foundation.  She was also active in the National Black Law Students’ Association as the National Director of Career and Professional Development, and comes to PULP after completing a Fellowship with the New York State Senate.
 
Laurie Wheelock, Esq. is the Deputy General Counsel for the Public Utility Law Project.  She began her career working for the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) where she fought for the rights of consumers across the state.  Ms. Wheelock went on to work for three different members of the New York State Assembly in both Albany and New York City focusing on a wide variety of issue areas including legislation to promote affordable housing, public access to insurance, nonprofit reform, and environmental protection.  She currently serves as a member of the City of Albany’s Sustainable Advisory Committee.  Ms. Wheelock received her Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Binghamton University and received her Juris Doctorate and Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.  She resides in Albany with her husband, two sons and their greyhound. She was named a “Rising Star in Albany” in 2019 and joined the “40 Under 40” list. 
 
William Yates, CPA is the Director of Research of the Public Utility Law Project. Mr. Yates provides financial and data analysis, administrative assistance, and support of New York’s Utility Project’s advocacy work on behalf of residential utility and energy consumers. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), licensed to practice in New York State, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Mr. Yates is a graduate of Colgate University where he received a bachelor’s of arts degree in history and New York University’s Stern School of Business Administration where he received a master’s of science in accounting.

Consultants & Expert Witnesses

Barbara Alexander, Esq.
Barbara R. Alexander is the former director of the Consumer Assistance Division at the Maine Public Utilities Commission, where she served from 1986-1996. She opened her own consulting practice in March 1996. Her special area of expertise has been the exploration of and recommendations for consumer protection, universal service programs, service quality, and consumer education policies to accompany the move to electric, natural gas, and telephone competition. She has authored “A Blueprint for Consumer Protection Issues in Retail Electric Competition,” as well as a series titled: “Default Service: Can Residential and Low-Income Customers Be Protected When the Experiment Goes Awry?” for the U.S. Department of Energy. A previous paper,”The Transition to Retail Competition in Energy Markets: How Have Residential Consumers Fared?” written by Ms. Alexander for NCAT and released in September 2002, documented the impacts of passing through short-term wholesale energy market rates to consumers in Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, Georgia and New York. Her clients have included national consumer organizations, state public utility commissions, and state public advocates.
 
Nancy Brockway, Esq.
Nancy Brockway is an expert in utility and energy matters, with over 20 years in the field, and was a Commissioner on the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (1998-2003). Before joining the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC), Ms. Brockway served for nine years as a utility and energy expert with the National Consumer Law Center. After completing her service on the NHPUC, she began NBrockway & Associates. Ms. Brockway has consulted for state and provincial regulators, state consumer advocates, unions, energy providers, and low-income energy efficiency providers. Ms. Brockway served on numerous committees of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, including the Telecommunications Committee, and the Committee on Energy and the Environment. She was Vice-Chair of the NARUC Committee on Consumer Affairs, and Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs of the New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners. She also served on the steering committee of the National Council on Competition in the Electric Industry. Ms. Brockway was a member of ISO-New England Advisory Committee, and of the Federal Communication Commission’s Joint Committee on Accounting, and the North American Numbering Council. She is a former member of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire energy facility siting committees, served on the staffs of the Massachusetts and Maine public utility commissions, spent two years as General Counsel of the Massachusetts Commission. and was Director of Multi-Utility Research and Analysis for the National Regulatory Research Institute.
 
Lisabeth Jorgensen, Esq.
Lisabeth Jorgensen was a staff attorney for New York’s Utility Project. Ms. Jorgensen joined PULP from the Office of the Albany County Attorney, Department of Law. As Assistant County Attorney, she helped to represent the County in the prosecution and defense of civil actions and proceedings brought in local, New York State and federal courts. Prior to joining the service of the County of Albany, Ms. Jorgensen completed a Legislative Fellowship at the New York State Senate. In law school, Ms. Jorgensen completed externships at two NYC agencies and State supreme court, and was research assistant to Professor Nadine Strossen (President of the ACLU, 1991-2008). She also served as the President of her law school’s chapter of the Unemployment Action Center and was a member of the founding planning team of the Charter School for Law and Justice. She holds a B.F.A. from New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and a J.D. from New York Law School.
 
Gerald A. Norlander, Esq. 
Gerald A. Norlander, Esq. served as Executive Director of New York’s Utility Project from 2000 to January 2015. Previously, Mr. Norlander was Deputy Director of the Utility Project, and before that he was Executive Director of Westchester Legal Services.   He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in India and he received a R.H. Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship.  He has published articles on matters relating to utility consumer protection, market-based rates, and legal assistance to low-income persons.  He served as Chair of the NASUCA Electricity Committee for six years. He is a member of the bar of the State of New York, three U.S. District Courts, the Courts of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the District of Columbia, and the United States Supreme Court. He served as a member of the Committee to Improve Availability of Legal Services appointed by the Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.   He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota.
 

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