Sununu Taps Top Asst. N.H. Attorney General To Chair Public Utilities Commission

Aug 27, 2019

Dianne Martin shakes hands with Attorney General Gordon MacDonald at her most recent reappointment earlier this year.
Credit N.H. DOJ

Governor Chris Sununu says he'll nominate the New Hampshire Attorney General's chief of staff, Dianne Martin, to be the next chair of the Public Utilities Commission.

Martin is the Department of Justice’s lead attorney on state agency contracts and procurements. Before that, she spent five years as an attorney in the AG's transportation and construction bureau.

State records show Martin has worked as a lawyer for the Department of Justice in various full-time and contract capacities since 2002.

In the late 1990s, she was an Americorps victims' advocate in the Concord prosecutor’s office. She holds degrees from Saint Anselm College and Boston College Law School.

As an attorney in the AG’s office, Martin has worked with a wide range of state departments that often interface with the PUC.

Her recent cases in federal court include the transfer of the state's lease on Mount Sunapee Ski Area to a private company, as well as a stormwater pollution settlement between Pease International Tradeport and the Conservation Law Foundation.

In a statement, Sununu says Martin has long worked to “advocate for the public good,” and that her “knowledge of state government and administrative law” will be key to leading the PUC.

In her statement released by Sununu’s office, Martin says the PUC chairwomanship will give her “the opportunity to extend and broaden my work over the last decade in protecting the public as a member of the Attorney General’s Office.”

Martin's nomination is expected to go up for an Executive Council vote in September. Sununu will formally nominate her at the council’s meeting Wednesday. 

Earlier this month, Sununu tapped outgoing PUC chair Martin Honigberg to be a Superior Court judge.

The PUC works with federal regulators to oversee water, electric, gas and telecommunications companies, among other utilities.

The commission manages those companies’ rates, carries out policy goals from the legislature, and holds public hearings and issues permits for utility developments.

The chair of the PUC also chairs the Site Evaluation Committee, which is tasked with approving proposed energy projects larger than 30 megawatts in capacity.