James Volz, Chairman
Current Term: 2011 - 2017
James Volz was first appointed Chairman of the Public Service Board by Governor James Douglas for a six-year term beginning on March 1, 2005. He was reappointed to a second term beginning March 1, 2011 by Governor Peter Shumlin. Mr. Volz currently serves on the Electric Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. He served on the Executive Committee of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, of which he was a founding member. He was also on the Executive Committee of the Eastern Interconnection States’ Planning Council (EISPC). He served on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Northeast Joint Board on Security Constrained Economic Dispatch and was a member of FERC's Federal/State Collaborative on Demand Response.
Prior to his appointment to the Public Service Board, he worked for the Department of Public Service for twenty years, sixteen of those as the Director for Public Advocacy, representing the interests of the public in regulated utility matters before Vermont and federal regulatory agencies and courts. As Director for Public Advocacy, Mr. Volz directed all Department litigation, including matters before the Public Service Board, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and state and federal courts. He also drafted legislation; testified at the legislature; and advised the Commissioner of the Department of Public Service and the Governor on utility matters.
Mr. Volz came to Vermont in 1981 to clerk for Justice Franklin S. Billings, Jr. on the Vermont Supreme Court. He next served as a Deputy State's Attorney in Brattleboro, Vermont, followed by a period of time in private practice in Burlington, Vermont.
Mr. Volz holds a B.A. from Boston University and a J.D. from Franklin Pierce Law Center, now University of New Hampshire School of Law.
Margaret Cheney, Board Member
Current Term: 2013 - 2019
Margaret Cheney was appointed to the Public Service Board by Governor Peter Shumlin in 2013. At the time of her appointment, she was serving her fourth term in the Vermont Legislature, where she was vice chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee and concentrated on state energy policy. She received her B.A. with honors from Harvard University. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and editor in California for three years before serving as managing editor of The Washingtonian magazine in Washington, DC, for eleven years. In Vermont, she joined the faculty of Sharon Academy, where she taught Spanish and courses in energy and the environment. As a freelance writer in Vermont, she has published work in The Washingtonian, the Washington Post, the Foreign Service Journal, and Arcadia Press, and her writing awards include the Harvard Bowdoin Prize and the Dateline award for feature writing.
Before her election to the Vermont Legislature in 2006, she served nine years on the Norwich School Board and as chair of the interstate Dresden School Board. She currently serves on the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. She is also a trustee of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and a member of the board of advisors for the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. The daughter of a Foreign Service officer, she grew up and was educated in Malaysia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, and India before attending college in the US. She has spoken on energy policy both in the US and in Germany as a guest of the Heinrich Boll Foundation.
Sarah Hofmann, Board Member
Current Term: 2015 - 2021
Sarah Hofmann was appointed to the Public Service Board by Governor Peter Shumlin in 2015. She serves on the Telecommunications Committee and the Subcommittee on Nuclear Issues - Waste Disposal of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. She also serves as chair for the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition (NWSC). She is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Council on Electricity Policy (NCEP) and serves on the Federal-State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations in Telecommunications.
Prior to joining the Board, Ms. Hofmann was the Executive Director of the New England Conference of Public Utilities Commissioners, Inc. (NECPUC). NECPUC provides regional regulatory assistance on matters of common concern to the six New England states. Before becoming Executive Director of NECPUC, Ms. Hofmann was the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Service. She also has served as the Director for the Public Advocacy and Consumer Affairs and Public Information for the Department and prior to that, Special Counsel. In her roles at the Department, she often directed the Department's litigation, including matters before the Public Service Board, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the state and federal courts.
Ms. Hofmann is a graduate of Rollins College and the University of New Hampshire School of Law. She resides in Montpelier, Vermont.