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The Journal Gazette

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Monday, March 19, 2018 2:00 pm

Rep. Dave Ober chosen to fill IURC position

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb tapped Rep. Dave Ober, R-Albion, to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Monday – leaving a vacancy in the northern House district.

Ober has served House District 82 for six years but decided not to seek re-election because he applied for the IURC job.

The district includes all of Noble County and portions of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties.

A caucus of precinct committee persons will pick a successor as soon as Ober officially resigns. He said he wants to give the caucus enough time to have someone in place for a May special legislative session.

Republican Noble County Commissioner Dave Abbott filed for the seat for the 2018 election after Ober announced he was leaving. He is a front runner in any caucus, and didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

Ober interviewed with the governor's administration last week and got a call Friday that he was chosen.

Holcomb named current interim chairman Jim Huston to that full post and Ober is one of the other four members commissioners on the panel. His salary is almost $119,000.

Another resignation on the panel is expected next week, meaning the process with start all over again.

"The industry is changing so much I hope to bring a new perspective to the process," Ober said.

The IURC is an administrative agency that hears evidence in cases filed before it and makes decisions based on the evidence presented in those cases. An advocate of neither the public nor the utilities, the commission is required by state statute to make decisions in the public interest to ensure the utilities provide safe and reliable service at just and reasonable rates.

While in the General Assembly Ober worked on a lot of utility issues and chaired the House Committee on Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications.

He is 30 and is moving to Indianapolis to marry his fiancée.

The commission regulates various aspects of the public utilities' business including the rates, financing, bonding, environmental compliance plans and service territories. The commission has regulatory oversight concerning construction projects, and acquisition of additional plants and equipment. The commission has authority to initiate investigations of all utilities' rates and practices.

nkelly@jg.net