Thomas Gorak
Commissioner
Hawaii Public Utilities Commission

On July 1, 2016, Mr. Gorak was sworn in as a Commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission of Hawaii on an interim basis. From September of 2013, he had served as Chief Counsel to the Commission. As chief legal and regulatory advisor, his responsibilities included providing recommendations concerning pending dockets, drafting policy statements and orders, representation in appeals and other challenges to the Commission’s orders and policies, and review of pending legislation.

For the past 37 years, Mr. Gorak has specialized in matters pertaining to public utility regulation at both the federal and state levels. Mr. Gorak gained national recognition for his expertise in matters concerning the ongoing restructuring of the utility industry, and how various federal and state initiatives have affected, and will affect, the residential, commercial, and industrial customers served by the industry. He was co-counsel in two major federal court cases in 1985, the successful appeal of which led to the restructuring of federal regulation of the natural gas industry to permit consumers access to more competitively-priced natural gas supplies.

Mr. Gorak has lectured extensively on the issues raised by the restructuring of utility services and published a number of articles concerning these issues. For seventeen years, he served as instructor at both the basic and advanced regulatory courses for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). He has been a frequent speaker at a variety of programs sponsored by NARUC, the Department of Energy, the American Bar Association, and the Federal Energy Bar Association.

As a principal in the law firm of Gorak & Bay, L.L.C., Mr. Gorak represented a variety of clients in gas, electric, nuclear, steam, and other utility matters. His clients included commercial customers, trade associations, local distribution companies, cooperatives, natural gas and electricity purchasing consortiums, and others. Mr. Gorak has also served as a consultant to ENARGAS, the natural gas regulatory body of Argentina.

Prior to forming his own law firm in 1995, Mr. Gorak was a partner and associate with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Miller, Balis & O’Neil, P.C. Between 1980 and 1988, he served as an Assistant People’s Counsel for the Maryland People’s Counsel, a state agency that represents the interests of residential consumers of Maryland in utility matters before state and federal agencies and courts.

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