A former Republican legislator from Marion has been appointed to the Iowa Utilities Board by Gov. Terry Branstad.
Nick Wagner, who lost a re-election bid in 2012, has been appointed to the Iowa Utilities Board, a fulltime position with a pay range of $84,240 to $128,290 per year.
Wagner, 39, said the combination of his work as a legislator and as an electrical engineer on energy projects at The ESCO Group, where he has worked for the past 12 years, gives him a good basis for utilities issues.
The three-member board has broad responsibility for rates and services of electric, natural gas, and water utilities, the services of communications utilities, and generally supervises all pipelines and the transmission, sale, and distribution of electrical current.
Affordable and reliable energy is critical to Iowa’s economy, Wagner said. He favors an “all of the above.”
“Overall, Iowa is doing a pretty good job,” Wagner said. “It’s not that any one source is more import than others. We need a good balance to keep the reliability and cost down.”
Wagner was supportive of legislation that would have allowed MidAmerican Energy to being exploration of developing a small-scale modular nuclear power plant. The legislation never made it through the Senate, however.
He also sees potential in further development of alternative energy sources, including a waste-to-energy project Marion has been pursuing since his days on the city council there.
“I think there are benefits to not burying waste,” Wagner said. “If you can do it for the right costs, it provides another low-cost option.”
He replaces Darrell Hanson, a former Manchester City Council member.
Wagner will join IUB Chairwoman Libby Jacobs, a former Republican House member, and Swati Dandekar, also from Marion, who represented Marion in the House and Senate.