SPP Hires FERC Policy Chief for Role in Washington

SPP Hires FERC Policy Chief for Role in Washington
Leonard Tao

Southwest Power Pool of Little Rock needed a new director of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission policy, so who better to turn to than a former FERC staff member?

The regional transmission organization, which manages the electric grid across 17 states, on Jan. 19 named Leonard Tao as its FERC policy director. He’ll work in Washington, overseeing filings and working with federal leaders on energy issues.

Tao, with more than 30 years of experience in energy policy, was director of FERC’s Office of External Affairs, where he managed strategic communications involving Congress, the states, consumers and industry, according to a news release. He also was a legal adviser to FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher and a senior legal adviser in the agency’s Office of General Counsel.

“We are excited to have Len join SPP’s regulatory team,” SPP Executive Vice President of Regulatory Policy and General Counsel Paul Suskie said in a statement. “Len has broad legal and regulatory experience and has tremendous respect in our industry. He will be a tremendous resource to SPP and our members as we move to a full-time presence in Washington.”

Suskie, in the release, said he was thrilled to join SPP “as it moves forward with its western real-time balancing market and transmission plans that will bring significant benefits to customers.”

Before joining FERC, Tao was a lawyer in the president’s office of legal counsel and an administrative hearing officer in the federal Department of Energy. He’s a graduate of George Washington University’s law school and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois.