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About the Authors

Charles Harak, co-author, is an NCLC staff attorney focusing on low-income energy and utility issues. Mr. Harak previously worked at the office of the Massachusetts attorney general and at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and has worked on utility and housing issues for over 30 years. He is the co-author of Guide to the Rights of Utility Consumers. He currently serves as the treasurer of the board of the Tri-City Community Action Program, and previously served as board president.

Olivia Bae Wein, co-author, is an NCLC staff attorney focusing on low-income energy and utility issues. She is co-author of Guide to the Rights of Utility Consumers. She serves on the board of directors of the Universal Service Administrative Company, is member of the Federal Communication Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee, co-chairs the LIHEAP Coalition, and served as a member of the U.S. EPA’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council’s Small Systems Affordability Work Group. She was an Economic Justice Fellow at Consumers Union.

Darlene R. Wong, co-author, is an attorney, writer, and consultant with a focus on consumer advocacy as it relates to telecommunications, energy, and water rates and services. For the past twelve years in her various roles as of-counsel and staff attorney at NCLC and Assistant Consumer Advocate at the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, she has been involved in policy, organizing efforts, and litigation to ensure that consumers receive just and reasonable service and rates from their utility companies.

John Howat, co-author, is a senior policy analyst at NCLC, has been involved with energy programs and policy issues since 1981. He manages state regulatory and legislative projects across the country, providing analysis and expert testimony in support of low-income consumers’ access to affordable energy and utility services.

Geoff Walsh, a contributing author, has been a legal services attorney for over twenty-five years. He is presently a staff attorney with NCLC, and before that he worked with the housing and consumer units of Community Legal Services in Philadelphia and was a staff attorney with Vermont Legal Aid in its Springfield, Vermont office. His practice has focused upon housing and bankruptcy issues. He is a co-author of Foreclosures and a contributing author to Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice, Student Loan Law, and Credit Discrimination.

Emily Green Caplan, a contributing author, has worked in both the public and private sectors as an attorney focusing on discrimination matters. She has been an author and researcher for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination for over fifteen years and is a contributing author to Credit Discrimination and to Foreclosures. Previously, she worked in the labor and employment practice of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown and Enersen in San Francisco.


Roger Colton, a contributing author, is a principal in the firm of Fisher, Sheehan and Colton, Public Finance and General Economics in Belmont, Massachusetts, a law and economics consulting firm. He formerly was an NCLC staff attorney, assessing utility issues as they affect the poor. He is the author of more than 80 journal articles on utility regulation, fair and affordable housing, and regulatory issues.

Kay Joslin, a contributing author, for over 20 years has been project manager for the LIHEAP Clearinghouse, operated for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and serves on the board of directors of the National Low Income Energy Consortium. Prior to that, she worked on NCAT's energy efficiency and renewable energy national hotline and held various editorial and reporting positions at newspapers.