Colette Honorable Supervises Power to the People

Arkansas Business 20th Annual 40 Under Forty
The original Class of 2006 profiles
2013 Updates from this week's digital edition of Arkansas Business.

Colette Honorable just can’t seem to say no.

In January 2011, Gov. Mike Beebe designated Honorable as chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Honorable, Beebe’s former chief of staff when he was attorney general, was happy to accept the position after serving as a commission member since 2007 and interim chairman since 2008.

“Our work affects every ratepayer in the state of Arkansas,” Honorable said.

Among its responsibilities, the commission regulates the intrastate rates and services of Arkansas’ public utilities. The PSC seeks to ensure safe and affordable utilities while educating consumers.

“We call ourselves energy geeks or energy nerds,” said Honorable, 43, a member of the Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 Class of 2006. “If the average person isn’t worried about the lights coming on, then we’re doing our job and the utility companies are doing their job.”

Unfortunately for Honorable and fortunately for many others, her current job is only one of her many occupations. The longest paragraph of her PSC bio covers her extracurricular service on a number of associations, councils, boards, commissions, committees and subcommittees, including the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

Honorable is first vice president of NARUC and president of the regional entity the Mid-American Regulatory Conference. She was also national spokesperson for the Anybody Can Serve, So Let’s Conserve energy efficiency and conservation campaign.

“My staff told me, ‘Just say no,’” Honorable said jokingly.

Before joining Beebe’s staff, Honorable was a staff attorney for the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and an assistant public defender in Jefferson County. While Beebe was state attorney general, Honorable was assistant AG in consumer and civil litigation and senior assistant AG for Medicaid fraud.

Her term as PSC chairman expires in 2017, which means Honorable will continue to keep a full schedule at least until then, and most likely beyond.

“I love it. I absolutely love coming to work every day,” she said. “I love the rigor of the work. I love the challenges. I love the people.”