Speir to lead watchdog group; legislators hear trash gripes

Angela Speir's term from the Georgia Public Service Commission is coming to a close, but this week the Duluth woman was named the deputy director of another consumer watchdog group.

Speir, who was the first woman elected to the PSC, will join Georgia Watch to become senior director of the organization's Consumer Energy Program.

"I am honored to become the deputy director of Georgia Watch, our state's leading consumer watchdog organization," Speir said. "It has been a blessing to serve the people of Georgia on the Public Service Commission for the past six years. I worked hard to represent Georgians on the commission and I will continue to be a hardworking advocate for Georgians at Georgia Watch."

In her new role, Speir will continue to work with the PSC, the body for which she was the first woman to act as chair. In addition to analyzing and developing positions on legislative and regulatory proposals involving utility pricing, energy efficiency and renewable energy, the Consumer Energy Program will work to raise awareness of and public access to the PSC.

"Ultimately, our goal with this newest Georgia Watch program is to establish a credible consumer voice in Georgia on energy cost, efficiency and conservation issues," said Georgia Watch Executive Director Allison Wall. "There is no more knowledgeable and respected advocate to shape and direct this program than former PSC Commissioner Angela Speir."

After becoming the second Republican woman to win statewide office six years ago, Speir decided against seeking re-election to the PSC. Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, the man she ousted when he was an incumbent Democrat, won a runoff earlier this month for the position as a Republican.

"I look forward to heading the new Consumer Energy Program and raising Georgians' awareness of energy issues and how those issues impact their families, businesses, our state's economy and the environment," Speir said. "This is a crucial time in our country's history. Now, perhaps more than ever, Georgians need a voice on their behalf in the energy debate. Someone to fight for lower rates. Someone to fight for fairness and openness. Someone to fight for renewables and energy efficiency."

Trash talk

Commissioners aren't the only elected officials getting complaints about the county's new trash plan, set to begin next month.

Legislators said they have been hearing from their constituents, angry with the plan, which divides the county into districts to be serviced with a single provider, selected through a bid process.

After four garbage collection companies filed a lawsuit, Judge Michael Clark is considering a request for an injunction to halt the new plan, which could be decided later this week.

Rep. Tom Rice asked for a fact sheet about the issue, and Sen. Renee Unterman asked to whom she could direct constituent questions and concerns.

But the lawmakers did not offer their opinions on the controversial issue.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.