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Environmental lawyer gets third spot on Kansas utility commission

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2012, at 4:49 p.m.

The state’s utility regulation commission is back up to full strength with the swearing-in of Shari Feist Albrecht, officials said Wednesday.

Albrecht comes to the job from a position as an environmental lawyer with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, where she has worked since 1993. Previously she was a member of the commission staff serving as director of the oil and gas division.

Gov. Sam Brownback filed Albrecht’s appointment in June and an interim Senate committee confirmed it last week. Albrecht joins commissioners Mark Sievers and Thomas Wright and will serve until March 2016.

The Kansas Corporation Commission has been running with two members since Ward Loyd’s term expired in March.

Albrecht comes into office in the middle of two major rate cases in which Kansas Gas Service and Kansas City Power & Light seek millions of dollars in rate increases.

Sievers and Wright recently conducted public hearings by themselves on the KGS case, including a hearing in Wichita.

The court-like evidentiary hearings in the cases have not begun yet, so Albrecht will sit as a voting member on the proposed rate increases, said KCC spokesman Jesse Borjon.

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