VELCO Names New General Counsel
Rutland, VT—Karen K. O’Neill, was named as Vice President and General Counsel for Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) on October 7, 2010 following a vote by the VELCO Board of Directors.
“Karen’s extensive utility and regulatory experience will be critical to us as we continue to work with our owners to chart a course for Vermont’s energy future”, said Chris Dutton, VELCO President and CEO. He added, “We are indeed fortunate to be able to retain someone of Karen’s caliber.”
O’Neill, 59, has been serving for the past five months as VELCO’s interim General Counsel through Gravel and Shea, a law firm in Burlington in which she is a partner. VELCO is the state’s provider of electric transmission service. O’Neill will direct all aspects of VELCO’s legal department and our use of external counsel. She succeeds Leslie Cadwell who left the company in January 2010.
“I will certainly miss working day-to-day with my talented colleagues at Gravel and Shea but the opportunity to join Chris’s team at such an exciting time in the company’s history was simply too good to pass up”, said O’Neill. “These past five months have given me a chance to get to better know VELCO and the challenges facing the electric industry today. I look forward to meeting more energy policy stakeholders in my new role.”
Ms. O’Neill joined Gravel and Shea in 2007, bringing with her more than 25 years of experience in business, law and government affairs, and extensive background in the utility industry. Karen earned her law degree from George Washington University and undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She started her career as a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. After moving to Vermont in 1984, Karen served for over a decade as in-house counsel and later vice president of organizational development and human resources at Green Mountain Power Corporation (GMP). Karen left GMP to help found a fledgling competitive renewable energy company, Green Mountain Energy Resources (GMER). There she created and implemented the company’s national legislative and regulatory strategy, identified business opportunities in restructured energy markets, and provided regulatory support and guidance for the company’s entry into new markets and lines of business. As a recognized expert on electric restructuring, Karen testified before congressional committees, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, state legislatures and public utility commissions.
Past leadership positions in the energy industry include: president of the Mid-Atlantic Power Supply Association, founding member of the Alliance for Retail Choice, policy committee chair for the National Energy Marketers Association, elected member of the Board of Directors of the Electric Power Supply Association, and member of the Leadership Forum of the Center for the Advancement of Energy Markets. She and her husband Bob O’Neill, a partner with Gravel and Shea, reside in Hinesburg and have two adult children.
Vermont Electric Power Company
VELCO owns, operates, constructs and maintains the high-voltage electric transmission system in Vermont. VELCO is committed to utilizing energy efficiency, power generation and system infrastructure to serve as Vermont’s transmission reliability resource.