New head nominated for NJ Board of Public Utilities

Alumnus Robert Hanna in, November 10, 2011

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Robert Hanna of Madison, a director with the state Department of Law and Public Safety, was nominated Thursday by Governor Christie as the new president of the state Board of Public Utilities.

Hanna would replace Lee Solomon, who has held the post since early 2010. Christie plans to nominate Solomon to a Superior Court judgeship, a position he held before coming to the BPU.

Both Solomon and Hanna worked for Christie when the governor was U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Hanna, a graduate of Manhattan College and the Fordham University School of Law, is currently the director of the Division of Law in the state Division of Law and Public Safety. As an assistant U.S. attorney, he worked on cases involving securities and health care fraud. Hanna also worked in a Newark law firm. Christie called Hanna "an extraordinarily qualified and talented individual."

Hanna said he plans to look into "the responses by all of the utility companies to the snowstorm and Hurricane Irene, and assessing them, and seeing what steps should be taken going forward."

Christie praised Solomon's work on "expanding clean, renewable energy production like solar and offshore wind and putting forward a responsible, aggressive and achievable energy master plan for New Jersey's energy future."

The BPU regulates utilities, including electricity, water, natural gas and cable television. Hanna's nomination is subject to confirmation by the state Senate.