New BPU head tapped in New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie is nominating an official in the New Jersey attorney general’s office to be the new president of the state Board of Public Utilities.

The governor has selected Robert Hanna, the director of the Division of Law and Public Safety, to head the authority that regulates utilities in New Jersey.

If confirmed by the state Senate, Hanna said one of his priorities will be examining the way utilities handled recent power outages.

“I’m looking forward to looking into all of the issues with respect to the responses by all of the utility companies to the snowstorm and Hurricane Irene, and accessing them, and seeing what steps should be taken going forward,” Hanna said.

Hanna will take over for Lee Solomon whom Christie is nominating to a judgeship in Camden County, a position Solomon held before joining the governor’s cabinet.

Solomon said he’d always hoped to get back on the bench.

“I actually thought I would be going back earlier,” Solomon said. “But I was shocked by how much I enjoyed what I was doing, how much I enjoyed participating in this administration, and how much I liked the subject matter.”

Christie said Thursday Solomon has been an effective pro-consumer BPU president. Environmentalists, however, are critical of how Solomon has dealt with a variety of energy issues.

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