FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         

Austin Texas, April 4, 2022
The Gulf Coast Power Association (GCPA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce it has selected Vicki Oswalt as the 2022 recipient of the Pat Wood Power Star Award.  GCPA presents this annual award in recognition of the chosen honoree’s significant contributions towards the advancement of competitive energy markets in Texas.  The award will be presented to Oswalt during GCPA’s 35th Annual Spring Conference April 19-20, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

Oswalt is a highly respected veteran of the State’s competitive electric and telecommunications industries.  Her regulatory career in both the public and private sectors spans over 30 years.  Among her colleagues, she is admired for her steadfast dedication and commitment to excellence. According to GCPA Board President Mark Dreyfus, “The GCPA Power Star Award annually recognizes an individual with a distinguished career who served as a prime mover in the advancement of electric markets.  Throughout her career, Vicki Oswalt has been known as an inspiring leader who elevated everyone who worked with her.  It would be impossible to count all the members of the industry who were mentored by Vicki or are in the mentoring tree beginning with Vicki.  GCPA is so pleased this year to be recognizing Vicki Oswalt.” 

Oswalt’s multi-faceted career began in 1989 when she joined the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) as a regulatory analyst, initially working on issues relating to the nascent competitive local telecommunications market in Texas.  From the beginning of her employment with the PUCT, Oswalt knew she had found her calling.  “I’ve never seriously considered pursuing a vocation in a different field.  I’ve always found the issues within the PUCT’s regulatory authority to be extremely interesting because they’re changing all the time,” she said.

In 1995, Pat Wood III became Chairman of the PUCT.  Under Wood’s stewardship, a new division focused on the development of agency policy in the areas of telecommunications and energy regulation was created.   The three Commissioners at the time—Wood, Judy Walsh, and Robert Gee—named Oswalt as the first Chief of the newly formed Office of Policy Development (OPD).  Under the Commissioners’ supervision and guidance, she managed OPD’s role in the formulation of the PUCT’s regulatory policies relating to telecommunications and electric power issues, which increasingly involved matters relating to competition in the two industries.  “Those early years in OPD were exhilarating but challenging, to say the least,” said Steve Davis, who served as Oswalt’s second-in-command in OPD.  “Vicki set the example for everyone in the division to follow, setting a standard for excellence she still adheres to today.” In 1997, Oswalt left the PUCT to pursue new opportunities in the private sectors regulated by the agency, primarily the energy industry.

Oswalt has enjoyed the rare opportunity for employment in various areas of the State’s competitive electric industry, giving her a unique perspective on the industry as a whole.  At Reliant Energy, she worked with other retail electric providers in numerous proceedings in which the PUCT adopted new rules for the State’s newly competitive retail electric market in the implementation of Senate Bill 7, aiming to achieve a critical balance between fostering competition and protecting customers.  In subsequent positions with Energy Future Holdings (EFH), TXU Energy, and Luminant Energy, she continued those efforts while also managing regulatory matters affecting the competitive power generation market in Texas.  “Vicki’s enthusiasm about the industry and her passion for accuracy and excellence were evident in every conversation, in every document, and in every initiative she and her colleagues created and advanced,” said Bill Moore, who has been both Vicki’s supervisor at EFH and more recently her outside counsel.  “She uniquely fosters both excellence and, importantly, joy in pursuing that excellence.” During the intermittent periods in which she was not directly employed by energy companies, Oswalt provided consulting services to entities operating in the state’s competitive electric markets. 

Most recently, Vicki worked on regulated utility issues on behalf of Sharyland Utilities.  As of April 1, 2022, she retired as Senior Vice President at Sharyland, following the completion of the utility’s first rate case in nearly a decade. 

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to work side-by-side with highly capable individuals who are passionate about what they do,” Oswalt said. “I believe that together we’ve made a lasting and positive mark in the telecommunications and electric power industries in Texas.” 

The award is named for Pat Wood III, former PUCT and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman, who will assist in its presentation during the GCPA conference.  Wood stated “I cannot imagine that the competitive Texas markets (in both power and telecommunications) would be what they are without Vicki’s leadership and intelligence.  We met my first week at the PUCT in 1995, and I instantly knew she was the right person to lead the transition of Texas to a market-based utility regulatory environment.  She combines a customer-centered business sense of the big picture with an astute mastery of detail.  And both of these matter.  Individuals can change history: this remarkable woman has made Texas a much better place.”

Oswalt joins an illustrious list of past recipients including: Darryl Tietjen, Director of the Rate Regulation Division of the PUCT (2021);  Tom Payton, former Sr. Vice President of Occidental Petroleum (2020); Tom Foreman, former GCPA Executive Director (2019); Marcie Zlotnik, former Chairman and COO of StarTex Power (2018); Trip Doggett, former ERCOT CEO (2017); John Fainter, former President of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas (2016); Robert Webb, noted attorney and renewable energy advocate (2015); Judy Walsh, former PUCT Commissioner (2014); John Stauffacher, former GCPA Executive Director (2013); Mike Greene, former Vice Chairman of Energy Future Holdings (2012); Marianne Carroll, former Partner at the law firm of Brown McCarroll (2011); Trudy Harper, former President of Tenaska Power Services (2010); Jess Totten, former Director of Competitive Markets at the PUCT (2009); F. John Meyer, former Vice President of Regulatory & Transmission Services for Reliant Energy (2008); Sam Jones, former CEO of ERCOT (2007); and Pat Wood III, former PUCT and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman (2006).