Q&A: New California PUC member on how to lower electric bills

By Wes Venteicher | 03/18/2024 06:44 AM EDT

Matt Baker, the former director of the Public Advocates Office, joined the California Public Utilities Commission on March 5.

The Great Seal of California is displayed on the front of the State of California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco, California.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom named Matt Baker to the five-member California Public Utilities Commission last month. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

SACRAMENTO, California — Matt Baker, the newest member of the California Public Utilities Commission, has arguably one of the toughest jobs in the state: tackling its soaring utility bills.

Gov. Gavin Newsom named him to the five-member commission last month straight from the agency’s Public Advocates Office, which represents ratepayer interests. Baker made a name for himself calling for reduced reimbursements for rooftop solar, a medium-sized fixed charge on utility bills and smaller rate increases from Pacific Gas & Electric.

Now, he’s thinking about how to manage the costs of climate change, like undergrounding power lines to reduce wildfire risk.


But Baker won’t be exclusively focused on keeping costs down in his new role.