A Des Moines attorney who has received national recognition for her expertise in energy law has been appointed to the Iowa Utilities Board.


Gov. Terry Branstad on Friday named Sheila Tipton, a shareholder of the Belin McCormick law firm, to the three-person board. She fills a vacancy created when Swati Dandekar resigned from the board earlier this month.


"Sheila Tipton brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Iowa Utilities Board, " Branstad said in a press release. "As we develop regulatory policies that promote energy production, and provide for the preservation and improvement of important infrastructure in Iowa, while protecting consumers, her perspective and voice will be extremely valuable."  


Among the major issues on the board's agenda are a proposed electricity rate increase by MidAmerican Energy Co. and consideration of a settlement agreement that would clear the way for Interstate Power and Light Co. to construct a 600-megawatt natural-gas-fired generating station in Marshalltown.


Tipton, 61, has represented energy, telecommunications and water public utilities and other entities since 1980. She has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of energy, communications and administrative law since 1991, and last year was named Best Lawyers' 2012 Des Moines Communications Law Lawyer of the Year. A resident of Clive, she is involved in numerous community and professional activities, including the Downtown Community Alliance and Energy Bar Association.


Tipton, who will serve through April 2015, will begin her new role Aug. 19. She will join another new board member, former state Rep. Nick Wagner, a Marion resident who was appointed on May 24 to fill a term ending in April 2019, and Libby Jacobs, a West Des Moines resident who was appointed as chair of the board in April 2011.