Wisconsin utility regulator Mike Huebsch announced plans Monday to leave his post at the Public Service Commission in February, a year before the end of his six-year term.
Huebsch, a former Republican lawmaker, was appointed to the commission in 2015 by former Gov. Scott Walker. He was one of two GOP appointees on the three-member commission, which oversees the state’s electric, gas, water and telecom industries.
Huebsch announced his retirement through a PSC news release that did not mention his future plans. Huebsch did not return a call Monday from the State Journal.
Chairwoman Rebecca Valcq and Commissioner Ellen Nowak issued statements through the PSC thanking Huebsch for his years of state service.
“I will miss his acumen and quick wit. It was a pleasure working with him, especially on complex cases,” Valcq said in a written statement. “I thank him for his decades of work on behalf of the people of our state.”
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“Mike has been an invaluable colleague and friend. His perspectives, insight, and good humor brought a great deal to the Commission and made us better,” Nowak said.
Huebsch, of West Salem, was elected to the state Assembly in 1994 and served for 16 years. He was elected Speaker of the Assembly before Walker appointed him in 2011 to head the Department of Administration.
Huebsch earned just shy of $131,000 in 2018, according to state records.
As a member of the commission, Huebsch served as an adviser to the Midwest grid operator, MISO, prompting conflict of interest accusations from opponents of a controversial power line through southwest Wisconsin.
Two groups have challenged the PSC’s unanimous approval of the $492 million Cardinal-Hickory Creek line in state and federal courts.
Huebsch’s departure will give Gov. Tony Evers, who has set a goal of carbon-free electricity by 2050, an opportunity to appoint a second commissioner one year sooner than he otherwise would have.
A spokesperson for Evers’ office did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Walker appointed Nowak for a second time in December 2018. Her term expires in 2023. Evers appointed Valcq to the commission in January 2019.