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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 40 years. He is the author of Utility Advocacy for Low-Income Households in Massachusetts, Helping Low-Income Utility Customers Manage Overdue Bills Through Arrearage Management Programs, and other reports on the design and delivery of low-income energy programs. He currently serves as the vice-chair of the board of the Melrose Housing Authority.

Olivia Bae Wein, co-author, is an NCLC staff attorney focusing on low-income energy and utility issues. She is co-author of the NCLC 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.

Jenifer Bosco, co-author, is a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) with a focus on energy and utility issues that affect low-income consumers. Prior to joining NCLC, she was the first director of the Office of Patient Protection at the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission. Previously, Jen advocated for low-income clients at Health Law Advocates, the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and Merrimack Valley Legal Services. She also served as an assistant attorney general with the office of the Massachusetts attorney general and began her legal career as a law clerk for the Massachusetts Superior Court.

John Howat, co-author, is a senior policy analyst at NCLC, has been involved with energy programs and policy issues since 1981. He manages 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. Areas of particular interest include enhanced racial justice in the delivery of energy service and the intersection of technology and policy in the transition to a de-carbonized energy system.

Emily Green Caplan, 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 twenty years and is a contributing author to Credit Discrimination, Consumer Credit Regulation, and Foreclosures and Mortgage Servicing. Previously, she worked in the labor and employment practice of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown and Enersen in San Francisco.

Geoff Walsh, 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 Mortgage Servicing and a contributing author to Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice, Fair Debt Collection, Student Loan Law, and Credit Discrimination.

John W. Van Alst, contributing author, is an NCLC staff attorney whose focus includes deceptive practices law, automobile fraud, and manufactured home issues. He directs NCLC’s Working Cars for Working Families initiative. He formerly was an attorney at Legal Aid of North Carolina, where he handled a broad range of consumer issues, and was also an adjunct clinical professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law. He is the co-author of Automobile Fraud, Consumer Warranty Law, and the NCLC Guide to Consumer Rights for Domestic Violence Survivors and is a contributing author to Repossessions, Foreclosures and Mortgage Servicing, Consumer Credit Regulation, and Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices.