Gordon Van Welie, CEO, ISO-New England

Michael Giberson

Want to know what it is like to run a regional transmission system operator? Well, no matter what you try to do, “there’s always someone who doesn’t like a proposed change.”

Van Welie said the criticism comes with the job, which is integral to maintaining the region’s economy and public safety.

“I love my job, I really do, with all the stresses and strains and people throwing tomatoes at us,” he said.

Among the people “throwing tomatoes” is Connecticut State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who provided this assessment of van Welie:

“He seems to be intelligent and well intentioned, but just plain wrong.”

He and other state officials also said the ISO gives off an institutional arrogance that maintains a “father knows best” attitude when it comes to considering the comments of its stakeholders. It also wants to overbuild the power grid without considering the economic impact on ratepayers, they said.

Blumenthal often strikes me as getting everything exactly backward, but in this case actually has a legitimate concern — energy consumers should be concerned that the grid operator want to overspend on reliability. However, Connecticut is not one of the places where overbuilding of the grid is likely to be a serious problem anytime soon.

The Hartford Courant profiled ISO-New England president and CEO Gordon van Welie in a recent edition.