Governor appoints new top Ohio utility regulator

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. John Kasick (KAY'-sik) has picked a former state budget director and lawmaker to be Ohio's top utility regulator.

The Republican said Friday he is appointing Thomas Johnson to chair the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Johnson will replace Todd Snitchler (SNIHCH'-lur), who decided not to seek reappointment when his term expires April 10.

Johnson is a New Concord native who served in the Ohio House for 22 years. He was former Gov. Bob Taft's budget director upon leaving the Legislature in 1999. He holds a bachelor's degree from Muskingum University.

Snitchler's work with the PUCO included encouraging competitive market development and educating consumers about choices for electricity and natural gas services.

Snitchler drew criticism last year for using his Twitter page to blast renewable energy and question global warming.

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