Gov. Rick Perry has replaced chairman Paul Hudson with fellow Public Utility Commission member Barry Smitherman, while keeping Hudson on the three-member panel that regulates utilities in the state. Perry appointed Smitherman to the panel in April 2004. Smitherman has nearly two decades in public banking and legal positions, andalso served as assistant district attorney in Harris County. The Bond Buyer reported in 2002 that Bank One fired Smitherman for failing to get approval before submitting an opinion piece to the Houston Chronicle. Smitherman and PUC board member Julie Parsley voted down a proposal by Hudson in 2006 designed to save millions of Texans about $17 per month on their electric bills. The plan’s legality was questionable and conveyed the wrong message to electric markets, Smitherman and Parsley said at the time.

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