Missouri Public Service Commission chairman to step aside

– Robert Kenney, the 43-year-old chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission, said Monday he would be leaving the regulatory agency by August.

Kenney, who was appointed as a commissioner by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in July of 2009, has been chairman of the powerful agency that sets policy for the state’s largest electric companies, utility providers and telecommunication companies since March 2013.

As he readies to leave, Kenney said he was proud of the commission’s “efforts to increase consumer outreach and education,” but said there is more to do moving forward.

“The business of providing utility services is undergoing a profound evolution. Challenges and opportunities associated with this evolution require an increased emphasis on consumer education and outreach,” he said in a statement. “These challenges and opportunities also require continued examination of our regulatory processes and willingness to craft creative policy solutions to increasingly complex issues.”

With no policy in Missouri to slow the revolving door from being a regulator to working for those one regulated, Kenney could be set up for a lucrative cap to his legal career with contacts in businesses and the energy industry. Before joining the commission, Keeney was a lawyer at the Polsinelli firm in St. Louis, a prominent law shop, who had worked as an assistant attorney general under Nixon and chief of staff to Attorney General Chris Koster.

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