Les Perkins joins Oregon Public Utility Commission

Les Perkins joins Oregon Public Utility Commission

Les Perkins will join the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) following Oregon Senate confirmation earlier this month.

Perkins, who served on the Hood River County Board of Commissioners since 2001, previously worked as general manager at Farmers Irrigation District in Hood River. The district has been a leader in the state in irrigation modernization, which involves upgrading infrastructure to save water and generate hydropower using the pressure and flow of water in piped systems.

Perkins also helped start Farmers Conservation Alliance, which works with Energy Trust to help irrigation districts plan and fund irrigation modernization projects. He was also a long-time member of Energy Trust’s Renewable Advisory Council.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to use the knowledge and experience gained throughout my career to help shape Oregon’s energy future to meet the demands of the coming decades while balancing the needs of the diverse communities that make up our state,” Perkins said in an OPUC news release.

Gov. Tina Kotek nominated Perkins to fill the opening left by Mark Thompson, whose term was set to end in November 2023. He stepped down a month early to join Form Energy, a battery storage manufacturer.

Perkins will serve a four-year term ending in February 2028. He joins OPUC Chair Megan Decker and Commissioner Letha Tawney on the three-member utility commission.

In addition to regulating the state’s investor-owned electric, gas and telephone utilities, the OPUC oversees Energy Trust’s investment in energy-efficiency and renewable energy programs on behalf of Oregon customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas and Avista customers.

As part of its oversight, the OPUC sets annual performance measures for Energy Trust including for energy savings, renewable resource development, financial integrity, customer satisfaction and equity.

Tawney also serves on the Energy Trust board of directors as ex officio.