Michelle Cooke is Director of Administrative Services at the California Public Utilities Commission. Between August 2011 and April 2012 she was on special assignment as Interim Director of the Consumer Protection and Safety Division, assisting the Executive Director on the agency’s response to the catastrophic natural gas pipeline explosion that occurred in September 2010. In this capacity, she worked with the Executive Director to develop and execute strategies to improve the Commission’s safety regulation and enforcement capabilities and led the agency staff that provides safety and enforcement functions for energy utilities, rail and rail transit, passenger and household goods carriers, and telecommunications companies.
Prior to her interim assignment, Michelle was an Assistant Chief Administrative Law Judge. In that capacity she oversaw water, rail and transportation industry cases, and most recently had primary responsibility for energy ratemaking proceedings, as well as directing the training and administrative functions of the ALJ Division. Before moving into management, Michelle’s administrative law case assignments focused on the energy industry, especially facilities siting cases, with the occasional special assignment to take advantage of her facilitation and mediation skills. As a judge, Michelle served as presiding officer, conducted hearings, and prepared proposed decisions in formal proceedings before the Commission.
Before becoming an Administrative Law Judge, Michelle served as a Commissioner Advisor on Energy and Transportation for three years. In that capacity, she briefed the Commissioner on technical matters, managed the energy and transportation caseload, drafted alternates and speeches, and served as a liaison to other Commission staff. Michelle started her career with the Commission in 1990 advising Commissioners and administrative law judges as a staff expert on resource planning, demand-side management, and avoided cost issues. She has coordinated the efforts of inter-disciplinary teams of analysts, engineers, lawyers, and judges, to support Commission decision making and implementation efforts in various program areas.
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematical Economics from Pomona College, has a Certificate in Business Administration, and has completed course work at the National Judicial College. She served as President of the Pomona College Alumni Association and Treasurer of C5 Children’s School, and has managed the Commission’s Food from the Bar campaign for the San Francisco Food Bank. When she can, she volunteers at the San Francisco Food Bank, San Francisco Zoo, and in the classroom at McKinley Elementary School.