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Press Release

PUC Chairman Stephen M. DeFrank Thanks Governor Shapiro for Appointment

Published on 8/30/2023

Filed under: Consumer Education Electric Gas Motor Carrier Pipeline Rails Telecommunications Transportation and Safety Water and Wastewater

DeFrank Notes Importance of Challenging Energy Issues Facing Pennsylvania and the Nation; Highlights PUC Mission to Ensure Safe and Reliable Public Utility Service at Just and Reasonable Rates

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today recognized Governor Josh Shapiro’s appointment of Commissioner Stephen M. DeFrank as the PUC’s new chairman, effective immediately.  

DeFrank replaces Commission Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, whose tenure as PUC chair and as a commissioner ended with the confirmation of incoming Commissioner Kim Barrow.   

“We are in the midst of the largest and most substantial changes in our energy landscape ever witnessed, impacting families and businesses across the Commonwealth along with the public utilities that serve our communities,” noted Chairman DeFrank. “The reliability, availability, and affordability of energy is vital for us all – as is the need to address the ongoing evolution in how we generate, distribute, use, and value power.  This is an exciting opportunity for our Commonwealth and our country, but it is also essential that we handle this important transition correctly.”

Most recently, DeFrank has served as PUC vice chairman – which is a position elected by vote of the commissioners.  A new PUC election for vice chairman will be scheduled shortly.

Pennsylvania governors nominate PUC commissioners, who must be confirmed by a majority in the state Senate, and a governor also has the authority to select the Commission’s chairman at the start of the governor’s term and where there is a vacancy for the chairmanship. 

Chairman Stephen M. DeFrank

DeFrank joined the Commission following a nomination by Gov. Tom Wolf on Sept. 20, 2022, and a Pennsylvania Senate confirmation on Oct. 19, 2022. His term expires on April 1, 2025.

Before joining the PUC, DeFrank worked as government relations professional at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, after spending 24 years of his career in Pennsylvania state government, including time with the Senate of Pennsylvania, where he served as chief of staff/executive director to Senator Lisa M. Boscola, Democratic chair of the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee.

As a commissioner, DeFrank plans to initially focus on a couple of areas of utility regulation, including the delivery of safe and reliable utility service to ratepayers; the rebuilding of aging utility distribution infrastructure; and preparation for cyber threats to utility distribution systems.

Commissioner DeFrank was born and raised in Uniontown, Fayette County. He lives in Harrisburg and is married with two daughters.

About the PUC

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

Visit the PUC’s website at for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. Search for the “Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.

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