Former U.S. Energy Secretary Federico Peña to Co-Chair COMPETE Coalition

Federico Peña, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Transportation, is the new co-chair of the COMPETE Coalition. He replaces Ron Kirk, who has become the Obama administration's U.S. Trade Representative.

As co-chair, Peña will help lead COMPETE’s efforts to promote the economic and environmental benefits of competitive electricity markets for consumers. His fellow co-chair is former U.S. Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma.  COMPETE is the leading voice for pro-competition electricity consumers, representing more than 325 customers, innovative service providers, generators, transmission owners, trade associations, and economic development corporations.

“Given the unprecedented economic, energy and environmental challenges confronting our nation, this is absolutely the worst time to turn our backs on electricity competition.  Only by allowing competitive markets to realize their full promise will we be able to address these challenges,” Peña said. “I look forward to working with COMPETE's many customer members who are increasingly speaking out in national and state-level debates to preserve the benefits they continue to see in competitive electricity markets.”

Peña, formerly mayor of Denver, served in two Cabinet-level positions in the Clinton administration. He is a Senior Advisor at the global equity firm Vestar Capital Partners. Most recently, he served as National Co-Chair of the Obama for President campaign and on the advisory board to the Obama-Biden Transition Team.

“Returning to the failed regulated-monopoly approach will stifle the innovation and investment in the electricity sector that our country desperately needs,” continued Peña. “Competitive markets are creating a fertile field for renewable energy, particularly wind, innovative services like demand response management, and technological advances such as smart meters and smart grids. Stifling these important economic and environmental advances is politically short-sighted. We should avoid proposals to ‘fix’ a policy problem that doesn’t exist.”

“Secretary Peña’s strong insight and understanding of energy issues, coupled with his long-term support for competitive electricity markets, makes him a perfect addition to the COMPETE team,” said Joel Malina, COMPETE’s Executive Director. “Secretary Peña recognizes that the innovation necessary to find solutions to our most critical energy challenges will be found through restructured, competitive markets, not monopolies.”

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