Commissioner Brownell was nominated by President George W. Bush to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on April 30, 2001. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 25, 2001, for a term that expired June 30, 2006.
Ms. Brownell’s tenure at the FERC reflects her longstanding and unwavering commitment to fostering competitive markets to serve the public interest. She championed the development of independent transmission organizations for wholesale power, which now represent the electricity market structure serving two-thirds of the U.S. $10 trillion economy. As a leading advocate of responsive and effective independent board governance at RTOs and corporations, Ms. Brownell is a strong proponent of FERC policies that promote investment in national energy infrastructure development.
Prior to FERC, Ms. Brownell served as a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) from 1997 to 2001. During her time at the PUC, Ms. Brownell took an active role in the rollout of electric choice in Pennsylvania. In addition to her work in establishing the framework for one of the most successful retail electric markets in the country, she actively supported Pennsylvania’s pursuit of competition in the local markets for telecommunications, deployment of advanced services, enhancement of services to rural areas, protection of consumers, and advancement of special services. Ms. Brownell has helped craft unique solutions to a number of these industry issues.
Prior to her appointment to the Pennsylvania Commission, she was Executive Director of the Regional Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia, a $200 million arts and economic development initiative. Additionally, she previously served as the Senior Vice President for Meridian Bancorp, Inc.’s Corporate Affairs Unit. Prior to joining Meridian in 1987, Commissioner Brownell was Deputy Executive Assistant to former Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh. Commissioner Brownell is the former President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).
Ms. Brownell serves on the boards of Comverge, Spectra Energy Partners, Times Publishing Company, Tangent and National Grid, PLC. She serves on the advisory boards of New World Capital and the TerViva Advisory Board. Previously, Ms. Brownell served on the Boards of ONCOR, Starwood Energy Fund, Leaf Clean Energy Company, GridWise Architecture Council, Millennium Bank, Foundation of Architecture, Philadelphia Free Library, and the Philadelphia Regional Performing Arts Center. In addition, Ms. Brownell has lectured at the Vermont Law School's Center for Energy and the Environment, the Michigan State University Institute of Public Utilities, and at the University of Idaho, Wharton Energy Club, among others.
Commissioner Brownell is a native of Erie, Pennsylvania and attended Syracuse University.more » « less