Frank O. Heintz, PSC chair and BGE president, dies

Frank Osborne Heintz, a former state delegate and chairman of the state Public Service Commission who went on to become president of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., died of pancreatic cancer Jan. 24 at his Charlottesville, Va. home. The former Oakenshawe and Towson resident was 73.

Born in Boca Raton, Fla., he was the son of Col. Edward Allee, who served in the Air Force, and his wife, Allyn Capron. His father died while on military duty and his mother later married Col. Leo H. Heintz, who adopted him and was the only father he knew.

He was raised in Bethesda and attended Montgomery County public schools before earning a bachelor’s degree at Yale University.

Mr. Heintz met June Rutledge on a blind date. “Every weekend Frank rode his motorcycle from Connecticut to Virginia to visit me,” she said.

They married in the summer of 1965.

Mr. Heintz served in the Peace Corps in Maharashtra, India. He and his wife moved to Baltimore in 1968 and he taught at Medfield Elementary School. The couple lived on Abell Avenue and later on East University Parkway in Oakenshawe.

He became interested in local politics and joined the New Democratic Club. A 1970 Evening Sun article story that he greeted residents of Baltimore’s Remington and Charles Village neighborhoods as he ran for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. His club created a multi-racial ticket, joining forces with the East Side Democratic Organization, and Mr. Heintz, the newcomer to politics, won a seat. He was defeated when he ran a second time in 1974.

“Frank was soft-spoken, fair and conciliatory,” said Julian L. Lapides, a former state senator from Baltimore who represented the old 2nd District while Mr. Heintz served in the House. “He was fair-minded and would listen to both sides of an issue.”

Mr. Heintz was an early advocate of bicyclists’ rights and sponsored legislation to protect cyclists. He once rode his bike from North Baltimore to Annapolis when the General Assembly was in session to prove there were alternate forms of transportation. He also supported environmental controls for the Chesapeake Bay and took MTA buses to and from his work.

In January 1975 he was named to fill a seat on the Baltimore City Council vacated by Robert Fitzpatrick. Then, after serving two months in the council, Mr. Heintz announced he would not run for election in the fall.

“The office, as I had expected, is very time-consuming and I would like to spend more time with my family,” he said in The Sun.

Instead, he became campaign manager for Mary Pat Clarke, a fellow member of the New Democrats, who won the council seat in 1975.

“The only time I ever saw Frank Heintz smoke was the night I won that election,” said Mrs. Clarke. “He lit a cigar. He was a wonderful campaign manager and a bright and shining young man.”

He received a degree at the University of Maryland School of Law and became an administrative assistant to Lt. Gov. Blair Lee III. In 1977, Mr. Lee, then acting governor, named Mr. Heintz to head the state’s Employment Security Administration.

In 1982, Gov. Harry R. Hughes named Mr. Heintz chairman of the Public Service Commission. He held the post for 13 years.

When Mr. Heintz left office in 1995, a Baltimore Sun editorial said: “Most Marylanders are in his debt as [Mr. Heintz] leaves the obscure but influential post of chairman of the state Public Service Commission. He has been one of the key traffic cops on the expanding information superhighway. … The PSC, under Mr. Heintz's leadership, has been one of the most progressive state agencies in tearing down the old regulatory barriers between rival technologies.

“Less dramatic but no less important to the state's economy has been the agency's readiness to break up the old, heavily regulated monopolies in energy supply,” The Sun editorial said. “Competition is the order of the day, and it is inexorably supplanting strict regulation of utilities as the public's guarantor of innovation and fair pricing.”

Mr. Heintz’s work on the PSC made him an expert on energy and natural gas, and he joined the American Gas Association in Washington. In 1996 he was named a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. vice president to head its natural gas operations. He retired in 2004 as president of the utility.

“Frank’s background in law and public service made him ideal for the job,” said Stephen J. Woerner, BGE’s president and chief operating officer. “I never met anyone who was as effective a listener as he was. He was very engaging.”

“Frank was always proper and clear in his communication,” Mr. Woerner said. “If he was frustrated, he would say, ‘This is not completed to my satisfaction.’ He was never disrespectful. Everything they teach you about how to lead, Frank nailed.”

Mr. Heintz and his wife were members of Woodbrook Baptist Church, where he taught Sunday school and was the congregation’s treasurer.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul's Memorial Church, 1700 University Ave. in Charlottesville.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, who taught in Baltimore city and county schools; a son, Aron C. Heintz of Greenbelt, a daughter, Adrienne A. Dent of Charlottesville; a brother, Paul Heintz of Philadelphia, Pa.; two sisters, Mary Allyn Lindsay of Bedford, Va., and Anne Heintz of Weaverville, N.C.; and two grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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