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UNC Clean Tech Speaker

James Kerr

James Kerr
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer
Southern Company


Jim Kerr is executive vice president,general counsel and chief compliance officer for Atlanta-based Southern Company, one of America’s largest
energy providers. As the senior legal officer of the company, he leads the
Office of the General Counsel, which includes the company’s legal, corporate governance, audit and compliance functions. He also co-chairs Southern Company’s internal business assurance council and serves in other risk management roles.

Before joining Southern Company, Kerr was a partner at McGuireWoods LLP and senior advisor at McGuireWoods Consulting LLC. While there, he demonstrated his deep knowledge of federal and state energy policy and regulations as he represented utilities in base rate, fuel case and facility certi cation proceedings. Kerr has also been active in other electric utility matters, including transmission and generation siting and development, environmental regulation, energy ef ciency and smart grid.

Kerr was a member of the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which regulates the rates and services of all public utilities in the state, for eight years. He served as president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners from 2007 to 2008 and president of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners from 2002 to 2003.

Kerr’s years of experience in the energy regulatory arena speci cally include representing natural gas, vertically integrated electric and transmission-only utilities in obtaining state and federal approvals of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; representing electric utilities in base rate, fuel clause, complaint investigation and facility certi cation proceedings before state utility commissions;

developing and implementing state legislation involving utility regulation, transmission and generation siting and development, installation and cost recovery of environmental controls and renewable portfolio standards and goals; and direct involvement in adopting and implementing federal legislation and policy.

Kerr’s involvement in the community includes serving on the Georgia Aquarium board of directors and actively supporting the literacy organization Page Turners Make Great Learners. He also serves on the board of visitors for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as the board of visitors for the university’s Institute for the Environment.

He earned a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Washington and Lee University and a juris doctorate degree, with honors, from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Kerr and his wife, Frances, have two children.