12/18/06 — Goldsboro native elected to head association

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Goldsboro native elected to head association

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on December 18, 2006 1:45 PM

Goldsboro native James Kerr II was elected president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners for 2007 at the association's annual meeting.

Kerr is a commissioner on the North Carolina Utilities Commis-sion, one of 50 such regulatory bodies overseeing public utilities, including water, wastewater, natural gas, electricity and tele-communications.

Often the commission will appear before federal and state courts and agencies to lobby on behalf of public utility consumers. Much of the commission's work involves securing reasonable rates of service for North Carolina.

He was appointed to the board in 2001 by Gov. Mike Easley, and will serve until June 30, 2009.

Kerr, 42, is the son of state Sen. John Kerr, D-District 5. A former lawyer with Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law graduate focused on civil and administrative litigation, with significant experience in the trial division of both the state and federal court systems, the appellate division of the state court system and the Utilities Commission.

The mission of the National Association -- which has been in existence since 1889 -- is to work through each state's commission to ensure that all public utilities are properly run and that rates and services are reasonable, just and nondiscriminatory.

Among the major issues that Kerr will be facing, on both the state and national levels are nuclear energy, nuclear waste disposal and alternative energy for electricity, universal broadband access on the telecommunications side, supply issues and infrastructure needs in terms of natural gas and environmental issues concerning water and wastewater.

Kerr also will be charged with helping to lead the association as it tackles questions regarding the country's -- and North Carolina's -- emergency preparedness, storm impacts and the always present issues of regulation versus competition.