Thomas Heller has been named as the new Executive Director of the Transmission Access Policy Study Group. He succeeds Terry Huval, who served in this capacity since 2020.
Until his retirement in June 2023, Heller served as the President and CEO of Missouri River Energy Services -- a large regional joint action agency that provides wholesale power supply and critical energy services to public power communities across Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota. He joined MRES in 1992.
Prior to his tenure with MRES, he worked for the Moorhead (Minnesota) Public Service Department for 16 years, including seven years as general manager.
Nationally, Heller has previously served as chair of the TAPS Executive Committee as well as on the boards of directors for the American Public Power Association, National Hydropower Association, Electric Power Research Institute, and the Consumer Federation of America.
Heller was the 2014 recipient of the APPA’s Alan H. Richardson Statesmanship Award, and in 2020 he was awarded APPA’s Mark Crisson Leadership and Managerial Excellence Award. In 2023, he was honored with APPA’s Alex Radin Award, which recognizes exceptional leadership and commitment to public power.
Prior to his role with TAPS, Huval was Director of Louisiana public power utility Lafayette Utilities System.
TAPS was organized in 1989 as an informal association of transmission-dependent electric utilities to advocate for the improvement of the transmission grid in America.
Under TAPS, leaders of utilities from across the country work together to advocate on behalf of national policies that protect the interests of consumers in energy markets across the country.
TAPS’ mission includes:
- Advocating for open and equal transmission access and strong protections against the exercise of market power in electric markets.
- Supporting vigorously competitive wholesale electric markets and a robust grid.
- Participating in policy proceedings at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy, and other federal agencies that deal with electric transmission and market power in the electric utility industry.
- Testifying before Congress and educating members of Congress and their staffs on federal legislation issues related to competitive, reliable wholesale electric markets, open transmission access, and the need for a robust transmission grid.