Utilities Advisory Commission


Hybrid meetings for boards, commissions, and committees began March 1, 2022.
Participate in-person at City Hall (Council Chambers and Community Meeting Room) and virtually. Ad Hoc Committees remain virtual only. Check out our Resources for Hybrid Meeting Attendance.



Meet the Commission

The Utilities Advisory Commission is composed of seven members who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the City Council. The term of office of each member shall be three years or until their successor is appointed. Six members of the Commission shall at all times be residents of the City.

Commissioners and Biographies

Chair: Lauren Segal

Vice Chair: Greg Scharff

Council Liaison: Council Member Ed Lauing

Staff Liaison:  Dean Batchelor, Utilities Director, (650) 496-6981


CROFT, Rachel

Rachel Croft Pic.jpg

Term Expires: 3/31/2025

Commissioner Croft will serve on the Budget Subcommittee through March 31, 2024.

Rachel Croft joined the UAC in April 2023. Rachel has lived in Palo Alto with her family since 2010, both as a renter and a homeowner.  

Rachel’s interest in the UAC stemmed from a passion for sustainability and desire to apply behavior change science to help Palo Alto achieve its goals on the demand side of power and water use. Her professional background includes five years in investment banking and 25 years in medical devices and digital health, with twelve of those years focused on helping people change behaviors in the areas of weight loss and smoking cessation. She has held senior roles in product development, marketing, strategy and corporate partnerships at start-ups and large companies. Rachel received a BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford and a MBA in Finance from Wharton. 

Rachel’s household has 2 EVs, a lawn converted to low water use edible garden, and multiple efficiency upgrades that reduced peak winter gas use by over 50%. She plans more changes in the future, and wants to help the city make efficiency changes easy and satisfying for residents. In the community, Rachel has organized grade crossing conversations, petitions an input for her neighbors in Southgate, and served Escondido Elementary on the PTA and as Safe Routes to School Representative.



Term Expires: 3/31/2024

Lisa Forssell has served on the Utilities Advisory Commission since 2016.

Lisa lives in Palo Alto with her family. Their roof sports a 3.6 kW solar system that helps power their home and electric vehicles. Lisa has served on the PTA and has been an active participant in community sustainability events over the years.

Lisa worked at Pixar Animation Studios from 1995-2012 as a technical director and senior manager. She returned to graduate school in 2012 to pursue an MBA and an MS from the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences at Stanford University, receiving both degrees in 2015. Her masters project was a study of the effects of electric vehicle charging on the power grid.

Lisa is a producer in the design studio at Apple. She also holds a BS and MS in Computer Science. 

MAUTER, Meagan

Meagan Mauter.jpg

Term Expires: 3/31/2026

Meagan Mauter is an Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Global Environmental Policy and a Senior Fellow, by courtesy, in the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University. She directs the Water and Energy Efficiency for the Environment Lab (WE3Lab) with the mission of providing sustainable water supply in a carbon-constrained world.  Meagan also serves as the research director for the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI), a $110-million DOE Energy-Water Desalination Hub addressing water security issues in the United States. NAWI targets early-stage research and development of energy-efficient and cost-competitive technologies for desalinating non-traditional source waters, including municipal wastewater. 

Meagan holds bachelors degrees in Civil & Environmental Engineering and History from Rice University, a Masters of Environmental Engineering from Rice University, and a PhD in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from Yale University. Prior to joining the faculty at Stanford, she served as an Energy Technology Innovation Policy Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Mossavar Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and as an Associate Professor of Engineering & Public Policy, Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

METZ, Phil

 Phil Metz PA-UAC.jpg

Term Expires: 3/31/2025 

Phil Metz is a newly-appointed member of the Utilities Advisory Commission starting in June, 2021 and has served on the Fiber Subcommittee until March 31, 2023 .  He and his family have resided in Palo Alto for over 30 years.  Phil serves Palo Alto as an Emergency Services Volunteer, both as a Block Preparedness Coordinator (BPC) and as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member.

Professionally, Phil is focused on developing and applying scientifically-grounded tools for advancing environmental sustainability and mitigating climate change.  As co-founder and a Director of the BioPhysical Economics Institute (BPEI), Phil is working to advance BPEI’s mission of bringing the natural sciences into the practice of economics and financial decision-making. 

Phil is expert across a range of energy markets including building energy systems, renewables, energy storage, and electric utility / grid-scale energy systems. 

Phil’s professional experience includes VP-level marketing and sales leadership roles with revenue and P/L responsibility; Director-level management consulting on technological innovation, business strategy and energy; and a stint as a Research Fellow with Project Drawdown.  Phil holds a PhD in physics and MBA in marketing.  He is an avid road biker.  


Robert Phillips.jpg

Term Expires: 3/31/2026

Commissioner Phillips will serve on the Budget Subcommittee through March 31, 2024.

Bob has been a resident of Palo Alto since 1984.  His career has focused on using data and analytics to help companies and businesses make better decisions.  He has served as a consultant to the Department of Energy as well as to a number of electric power utilities in the United States and the United Kingdom.  He has been a Professor in the Columbia University Business School and a Lecturer at Stanford, teaching courses in the use of analytics for decisions.  He has also served as Director of Marketplace Data Science for Uber and Director of Pricing Analytics for Amazon as well as CEO of the consulting firm Decision Focus Incorporated.    

Bob holds a Ph.D. in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford University and Bachelor Degrees in Economics and Mathematics from Washington State University.



Term Expires: 3/31/2026

Commissioner Scharff will serve on the Budget Subcommittee through March 31, 2024.

Biography not available. 

SEGAL, Lauren


Term Expires: 3/31/2024

Biography not available.  

Contact the Commission

Contact the Commission by email.

The Utilities Advisory Commission (UAC) appreciates hearing from citizens and your email will be forwarded to all seven Commissioners.

Correspondence received by noon on the day of the UAC meeting, relating to an Item on the Agenda, will be put at the Commissioner's places at the meeting. See Palo Alto Municipal Code (PAMC) Sections 2.16 and 2.23 for more information on the Utilities Advisory Commission.

Be advised that your email to the UAC is a public record and your correspondence should not include any private information (such as home address or minor children's names) that you might not want the general public to have access to. If your email is regarding a specific agenda item for an upcoming meeting, your email will be available for public inspection at the meeting. 

We thank you in advance for taking the time to share your comments!


Upcoming Meetings

UAC meetings occur regularly on the first Wednesday of every month.

Watch and Participate in Meetings

Meetings are broadcast live online and on cable TV.

Members of the public who wish to participate in meetings can find instructions on the top and bottom of individual agendas or by viewing the drop-down titled "How to Participate in UAC Meetings." To ensure participation in a particular item we suggest calling in or connecting 15 minutes before your item is scheduled to begin.

Instructions: How to Participate in UAC Meetings

Members of the Public may provide public comments to teleconference meetings via email, teleconference, or by phone.

Consult the relevant meeting agenda for phone number and online link to participate in meetings. 

  1. Written public comments may be submitted by email to UAC@CityofPaloAlto.org
  2. Spoken public comments using a computer will be accepted through the teleconference meeting. To address the Commission, click on the link below for the appropriate meeting to access a Zoom-based meeting. Please read the following instructions carefully.
    1. You may download the Zoom client or connect to the meeting by web browser. If using your browser, make sure you are using a current, up-to-date browser: Chrome 30 , Firefox 27 , Microsoft Edge 12 , Safari 7 . Certain functionality may be disabled in older browsers including Internet Explorer.
    2. You will be asked to enter an email address and name. We request that you identify yourself by name as this will be visible online and will be used to notify you that it is your turn to speak.
    3. When you wish to speak on an agenda item, click on “raise hand”. The moderator will activate and unmute attendees in turn. Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak. The Zoom application will prompt you to unmute your microphone when it is your turn to speak.
    4. When called, please limit your remarks to the time limit allotted.
    5. A timer will be shown on the computer to help keep track of your comments.
  • Spoken public comments using a smart phone will be accepted through the teleconference meeting. To address the Commission, download the Zoom application onto your phone from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and enter the Meeting ID below. Please follow instructions B-E above.
  • Spoken public comments using a phone use the telephone number listed below. When you wish to speak on an agenda item hit *9 on your phone so we know that you wish to speak. You will be asked to provide your first and last name before addressing the Commission. You will be advised how long you have to speak. When called please limit your remarks to the agenda item and time limit allotted.

Join Zoom here: https://zoom.us/join

Meeting ID:  966 9129 7246

Phone number: 1 (669) 900-6833 (you may need to exclude the initial “1” depending on your phone service)



Apply for the UAC

The City continuously accepts applications for Boards and Commissions. Apply to serve on the Utilities Advisory Commission.