Public Citizen Salutes Roger Duncan on His Retirement

Statement from Tom “Smitty” Smith, Director, Public Citizen’s Texas Office

Duncan_R_0_2Roger Duncan announced his retirement today. Although it is sad to see a dedicated public servant move on, Public Citizen congratulates him on a fine career as general manager of Austin Energy, a municipal power company.

Austin is a national and world leader in fighting climate change due in large part to Duncan’s leadership.

Roger is a true genius who has developed world-class energy efficiency, renewable energy and distributed generation programs that save Austin citizens money every month on their electric bills. He understands the value of plug-in hybrid cars and trucks as a way to reduce air pollution and save consumers money while creating a new source of revenue for the city’s utility. He created a coalition of governments that gave so many “soft” orders for the vehicles that they were able to convince major auto manufacturers to build them.

He is probably the only utility executive in the country who takes a vacation to sit under a tree by the beach to think about how his utility can solve global warming. Such dedication is rare in his line of work.

As Austin conducts its national search for a new director, it should look for someone who will continue the city’s vision of sustainability. The new director also should have a solid commitment to public power and public process – hallmarks of what has made Austin’s city-owned utility one of the best in the country and so famous worldwide.

Duncan retires as Austin faces many energy challenges. The 2020 generation resource plan currently under review puts the city on a path toward eventual divestiture from the Fayette coal plant. It remains to be seen how quickly Austin can do this.

Whether Roger’s future entails continuing to fight climate change or just sitting on a beach under a tree to relax, we wish him the very best.