Ms. Tonya Baer was first appointed by Governor Rick Perry as Public Counsel for the Office of Public Utility Counsel (OPUC) on October 10, 2013. She was reappointed by Governor Abbott on February 4, 2015 and was subsequently confirmed by the Texas Senate for a term to expire February 1, 2017. The Public Counsel is appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and acts independently of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. OPUC provides professional representation to residential and small commercial utility consumers to ensure affordable and reliable utility services in the state of Texas. As the Public Counsel, Ms. Baer serves ex officio on the boards of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the Texas Reliability Entity. She also serves as the Vice Chair for ERCOT’s Human Resources and Governance Committee.
Prior to joining OPUC, Ms. Baer served as assistant director and special counsel for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Radioactive Materials Division. She previously worked as an attorney for the Public Utility Commission, advising PUC Commissioners on electric issues. She also served as legislative liaison for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts where she worked on issues directly related to the State Energy Conservation Office.
Ms. Baer is a licensed attorney and received both a bachelor's degree and law degree from the University of South Dakota. Ms. Baer also completed the senior management program at the University Of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs Governor's Center for Management Development.