Richard J. Jackson, a veteran gas utility executive who most recently oversaw operations at an oil offloading facility in the Gulf of Mexico, has been appointed the new executive director of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
Jackson, who worked at South Jersey Gas for 21 years before joining the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port deepwater port, will replace Victor Fortkiewicz, who left the agency last month. Fortkiewicz also was a utility executive before joining the BPU, having headed Elizabethtown Gas.
As executive director, Jackson will be responsible for overseeing operations of the state agency that regulates gas and electric utilities, as well as telecommunications, water and cable television companies in New Jersey. In recent years, the agency has been aggressively pushing utilities to encourage customers to use less energy and help develop alternative forms of energy, such as solar and wind power.
In announcing the appointment, BPU President Lee Solomon wrote to his staff, “Richard brings with him a wealth of knowledge and will be a great addition to the BPU.” He is expected to start the job on August 9.
When Jackson left South Jersey Gas, he had risen to the position of executive vice president and chief operating officer of the utility, which is based in Folsom.
Ed Graham, president and chief executive officer of South Jersey Gas, said Jackson brings to the agency firsthand knowledge and experience in the utility sector.
“He’s very focused on safety and the reliability of the system,” Graham said of Jackson. “He has an understanding of how utilities work.”
Jackson left South Jersey when he took early retirement, Graham said. In Louisiana, he was senior vice president of operations for the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which provides offloading and temporary storage for crude oil for some of the world’s largest tankers. The facility handles 13 percent of the nation’s foreign oil and connects by pipeline to 50 percent of the U.S.’s refining capacity.
As executive director at the BPU, Jackson fills the position once held by John Stanziola, who is now director of regulatory affairs at South Jersey.