Stephen M. DeFrank
Stephen M. DeFrank was nominated to serve as Commissioner by Governor Tom Wolf on September 20, 2022, confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate on October 19, 2022, and soon after elected as Vice Chairman on October 27, 2022. He was appointed as Chairman on August 30, 2023, by Governor Josh Shapiro. His term will expire on April 1, 2025. He brings extensive professional experience to the Commission, having been employed in both the public and private sectors.
Chairman DeFrank spent 24 years in Pennsylvania state government, primarily in the state Senate where he served in several roles with Senate leadership, including Chief of Staff for two members, Special Assistant for Policy to the Democratic Leader and Democratic Executive Director of the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. It was in his capacity as Committee Director where he helped develop policy initiatives and legislation in the utility sector, including modernizing the Public Utility Code relative to energy, water, wastewater and telecommunications. He was a key figure in the enactment of several major legislative accomplishments including the creation of the Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) and the authorization of Transportation Network Companies in the Commonwealth. Chairman DeFrank was also the inaugural Legislative Liaison at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board during the agency’s establishment.
Immediately prior to his tenure at the Commission, he was a principal in the government relations practice of Buchanan, Ingersoll, and Rooney. It was there where he gained an understanding of water and energy delivery from an operational standpoint, while his time at the Senate informed his understanding of utility regulation from a policy standpoint.
The Chairman’s priorities at the Commission cover the wide spectrum of utility jurisdictional areas – electric, natural gas, telecommunications and transportation. He is focusing efforts on advancing utilities’ roles in transportation electrification; expanding availability and access to both renewable and certified sources of natural gas for utilities; increasing availability of broadband telecommunications services; updating commission transportation licensing procedures; and better accessibility, expansion and retention of consumer affordability assistance programs. His focus is also on the ever-increasing cyber threats that exist to distribution systems and ensuring utilities are prepared to meet those challenges.
Chairman DeFrank is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), a member of the NARUC Committee on Electricity, a member of the NARUC Advanced Nuclear State Collaborative, a member of the NARUC Electric Vehicles State Working Group and a board member of the Organization of PJM States (OPSI).
A native of Uniontown, Fayette County, he lives in the Harrisburg area with his wife Colleen and their two daughters Brynn and Paige.
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