Berkshire Gas goes outside firm for new president

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PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Gas Co. has gone outside the firm to appoint a  25-year veteran of the utility industry as the 11th president in the firm's 166-year history.

Franklyn D. Reynolds, the vice president of gas integration for Avangrid Networks, has been named to replace former president Karen Zink, who retired in December following 37 years with the company. Connecticut-based Avangrid Inc. is Berkshire Gas' parent company.

Reynolds, 51, has already assumed his new duties in Pittsfield. In his role as president, he has overall responsibility for the company's operations and management, and its 124-member workforce. Founded in 1853, Berkshire Gas currently provides natural gas service to 40,000 customers in 20 communities in the three western most counties of the state.

In his current role at Avangrid Networks, Reynolds leads the restructuring of the company's gas operations and gas engineering lines. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and national gas utilities serving 3.2 million customers in New York and New England.

"Frank is a proven leader with broad experience in the utility industry," said Anthony Marone, the president and CEO of Avangrid Networks' companies in Connecticut and Massachusetts. "He brings a strong track record in operations and management, with a customer focus, to Berkshire Gas and the communities that we serve, as we continue to provide critical energy services in the western Massachusetts market."

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Reynolds takes over at a time when Berkshire Gas awaits a ruling from the state Department of Public Utilities on its first rate increase request in 18 years.

Berkshire Gas originally filed its rate increase in May seeking to increase its net revenues by $3.1 million, or 4.3 percent, which would have amounted to a roughly $40 annual increase in the average residential customer's gas bill. But in December, Berkshire Gas reached an agreement with the state Attorney General's office to reduce its request for a rate increase to about $1.4 million. The DPU has yet to rule on that agreement, Berkshire Gas spokesman Christopher Farrell said Friday.

"Berkshire Gas is a small company with a big track record of success, which I hope to build upon," Reynolds said. "I also look forward to getting involved with the communities that we serve and meeting the challenges ahead in a positive and proactive way."

It is believed that Reynolds is the first person from outside the company to head Berkshire Gas in the company's history, Farrell said. Reynolds began his career at Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas, where he served as the assistant to the CEO when those firms merged with Energy East. He has also served as vice president of asset management for Avangrid Networks, and vice president of general service for Iberdrola USA.

A Connecticut native, Reynolds holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of New Haven and a bachelor's degree in industrial technology from Central Connecticut State University. He has completed executive course work at Iberdrola's School of Management, the Ross School of Business and the Wharton School of Business, and retired as a major from the U.S. Army National Guard where he served for 20 years.

Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.


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