Two from Citrus shooting for positions on Public Service Commission

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By Pat Faherty

Two Citrus County residents have applied for seats on the Florida Public Service Commission.

James S. Baumstark of Crystal River and Timothy C. Altenau of Beverly Hills are among 24 applicants for two seats on the five-member board. 

The list includes current commission chairman Ronald A. Brise and current commissioner Arthur L. Graham, whose terms are set to expire at the end of the year.

Baumstark has been through the process before and recalled being a candidate in 2010. He made the short list of seven candidates for two open seats that was sent by the PSC nominating committee to then-Gov. Charlie Crist, but he was not selected.

Wednesday, he said the same people who had urged him to apply in 2010 had encouraged him again.

“I have unique qualifications that seem to fit well,” he said. “I am very familiar with the T and D (transmission and distribution) side and have a set of capabilities that would work very well on the PSC.”

He is retired naval officer with 28 years of experience in nuclear submarines. After the Navy, Baumstark spent 22 years in the utility industry, in which he is still involved.

He retired from Consolidated Edison of New York as vice president of central engineering. Prior to that he was director of engineering at the Crystal River nuclear plant.

He is currently chairman of the International Utility Working Group, a consortium of nine utilities from major urban areas of the world, working on new methods in power transmission and distribution.

“If I get the opportunity, I feel I will be able to offer them a lot,” he said. “I will give it my best shot.”

According to his application, Altenau is an attorney and nuclear engineer at the Crystal River nuclear plant. He declined comment. 

The screening process by the nominating committee is expected to begin in July.

Contact Chronicle reporter Pat Faherty at 352-564-2924 or pfaherty@chronicleonline.com.