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Public Service Commission picks Sands as executive director

Merwin Sands will become the Maryland Public Service Commission’s next executive director, the PSC announced Wednesday.

The promotion will be effective July 25.

Sands, an eight-year PSC veteran, is a member of the commission’s technical staff, serving as the director of the telecommunications, gas and water division. In this post, he has managed economists and analysts, among other duties, and reported to the executive director.

As executive director, Sands will lead the technical staff and represent the commission at interagency meetings and legislative hearings. He will also work with staff counsel in cases before the commission, serve as a senior policy advisor and help create or amend regulations.

“[Sands’] extensive experience in utility regulation and leadership skills will be a great asset to the commission as he leads our staff in the coming years,” PSC Chairman Douglas R. M. Nazarian said in a statement Wednesday.

Sands said he could not comment on his promotion.

He also has served the Office of People’s Counsel in Washington, D.C., the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel and the New Hampshire Public Service Commission. In these positions, he monitored economic conditions affecting utilities.

Sands will replace the PSC’s Chief Public Utility Law Judge Terry Romine, who has been acting executive director since April 1.

Before that, Gregory V. Carmean held the executive director position for 23 years. He retired from the PSC in March to become the executive director at the Organization of PJM States, a group of utility regulatory agencies in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Maryland’s PSC is a member of the organization.

Sands’ promotion comes in the wake of a severe storm last month that caused major outages, putting the PSC in the spotlight regarding its reaction to the outage and to the power restoration efforts of Maryland’s utility companies.

The PSC will hold hearings beginning Sept. 13 to review outage reports from the utilities.