William Harwood of Yarmouth became Maine’s new public advocate on Wednesday following confirmation by the Maine Senate and a swearing-in ceremony with Gov. Janet Mills.

William Harwood

Harwood spent decades as an energy lawyer in private practice in Maine and more recently served as a senior adviser in the Governor’s Energy Office. Mills said that background will help in efforts to hold utilities accountable and provide reliable service.

The Office of Public Advocate represents the interests of the state’s utility customers, primarily in proceedings before the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Harwood replaces former Public Advocate Barry Hobbins, who retired from the position in June. Andrew Landry, deputy public advocate, served as acting public advocate in the interim.

Harwood, a graduate of Harvard University and Fordham University, lives in Yarmouth with his wife, Ellen, and has five grown children.

A Mills spokesperson has said Harwood would earn $93,400 to $140,000 a year in his new position.

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