The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) has a vacant seat – again.

Phil Wilcox, recently appointed to the New York State Public Service Commission, failed to sign an oath of office within the required timeframe, rendering the seat vacant. By New York State rule, commissioners must sign the oath within 30 days of being confirmed or the seat will be vacated. Gov. Andrew Cuomo selected Wilcox for the position, and the New York State Senate confirmed him on June 21.

Wilcox is a labor representative at National Grid for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 97. Earlier in the year, POLITICO New York reported that Wilcox was in the process of leaving his duties at National Grid and the union. State ethics restrictions require that Wilcox recuse himself for two years from any PSC matters related to the union and National Grid.

Gov. Cuomo will like re-nominate Wilcox later when another seat becomes available. With Wilcox’s vacant seat, the PSC only has four members, yet law requires five.

The bipartisan commission consists of up to five members who serve a term of six years or to complete an unexpired term of a former commissioner. Each commissioner is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the State Senate. In June, the state Senate confirmed John B. Rhodes, James Alesi and Wilcox as PSC Commissioners. The Senate also reconfirmed Diane X. Burman. Cuomo also appointed Rhodes to serve as the commission’s chairman.

The PSC regulates the state’s electric, gas, steam, telecommunications, water utilities and cable industry. The commission sets rates and ensures that adequate service is provided by New York’s utilities.

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