National Conference

National Conference Sessions—Monday P.M.

Back to National Conference Agenda

Monday, June 10

key to the icons representing conference tracks

1:30 — 2:30 p.m.
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1 / CPEs 1.2

Community & Communications Green Is the New Black: Communicating Environmental Stewardship
Increasingly, Generations X, Y, and Z want to buy from and work for organizations that are committed to making a positive social and environmental impact. Commercial and industrial entities prefer to set up shop in locations where they can be powered by renewables. What do these growing trends mean for your utility? Discover how to educate your community and stakeholders about your commitment to environmental stewardship. Explain your portfolio and prepare for backlash from groups that may take offense with your energy sources.

Bill Coletti, Founder & CEO, Kith, Austin, Texas; Meena Dayak, Vice President, Integrated Media & Communications, American Public Power Association; and Steve Roalstad, Communications and Marketing Manager, Platte River Power Authority, Fort Collins, Colorado


Public Power Forward Energy Storage: Behind or in Front of the Meter?
Energy storage is becoming a priority for electric utilities as technologies evolve, costs decrease, and the potential benefits expand. The impact of storage on resiliency, the renewables portfolio, and rate design is growing. Energy storage is flexible and can be deployed at different points on the grid — behind the meter at a customer's location or in front of the meter with other utility assets. Evaluate the best options for your utility — consider performance requirements, costs, timing, and other variables. Compare deployment strategies and learn from case studies.

Jonathan Poor, Director of Business Development, ENGIE Storage, Boston, Massachusetts; and Dan Smith, Vice President, Electric Service Delivery, Austin Energy, Texas


Community & Communications Protecting Your Customers and Community from Scams    
Scammers seem to use more sophisticated tactics every day, causing undue harm to utilities and customers. Many utilities are working hard to thwart the scammers by putting customers on alert. What can you learn from them and how do you educate customers to recognize and respond to scams? Get the latest on anti-scam efforts and discuss future challenges. Learn where you can get communication resources, data, and best practices to better inform and protect your customers and put the scammers out of business.

Deborah Beaver, Director of Business Development & Community Project Management, JEA, Jacksonville, Florida; and Monica Martinez, Owner & Principal, Ruben Strategy Group, and Executive Director, Utilities United Against Scams 


Legislative & Regulatory What is Happening in the RTO-Operated Markets?
Wholesale electricity markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators are facing many challenges, including increased participation of intermittent renewable resources, declines in baseload capacity, and concerns about fuel security and resilience. Many states are promoting particular generation resources or technologies. How will new and proposed changes to the capacity and energy markets from the RTO/ISOs impact your utility’s ability to serve your customers at just and reasonable rates? Explore these recent wholesale market developments, and the impacts on public power and consumers.

John Coyle, Managing Partner, Duncan & Allen, Washington, D.C.; Matthew Johnson, Director, RTO Trading, The Energy Authority, Jacksonville, Florida; and Steve Lieberman, Director, PJM Regulatory Affairs, American Municipal Power, Columbus, Ohio


Cyber & Physical Preparedness Threat Alert: Cybersecurity for Leaders
A survey by The Conference Board shows that U.S. CEOs rank cybersecurity as their #1 external concern for 2019. Public power is no exception and executives of small and large utilities are paying increased attention to building cyber defenses. Join other public power leaders for a briefing on cybersecurity threats – see what’s new, what’s evolving, and what should be keeping you up at night. Hear from a panel of CEOs on public power’s cyber readiness and what you can do to develop a culture of cybersecurity.

Robert Lee, CEO, Dragos, Hanover, Maryland; Scott Miller, General Manager, City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri; and Kevin Wailes, CEO, Lincoln Electric System, Nebraska


Operations & Reliability Getting the Most Out of Your AMI Investment
Almost half of all U.S. electricity customer accounts now have advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart meters, according to the Energy Information Administration. If your utility has installed smart meters, are you using them to do more than reduce truck rolls and read meters? Hear how other public power utilities are using smart meters for energy efficiency programs, grid asset evaluation, reading water meters, other value-added tasks.

Solomon Brackett, System Engineer, and Danny Lee, AMI Coordinator, Troy Utilities, Alabama


Utility Governance & Management Understanding Your Board Role and Responsibilities
A public power board is tasked with setting strategic direction for the utility, keeping it on mission, and ensuring long-term sustainability. However, many boards don’t have a strong understanding of their roles and responsibilities. How can every board member work effectively with the CEO and executive team to define a better future for your utility? Learn all about governance structure and board processes. Prepare for board member and CEO succession. Review examples of governance policies and board accountabilities.

R. John Miner, President, and Jillian Wolfe, Education and Development Consultant, Collaborative Learning, Austin, Texas


Workforce Optimization  Training Programs to Bring in and Keep the Best
In a time when the competition for skilled staff is growing, how can you attract and retain top-notch talent? Apprenticeship and other utility training programs, such as leadership academies can help you recruit and retain qualified employees, particularly in positions that are hard to fill or require specific skills. Learn what types of training programs some public power utilities are offering and why. See how they benefited and get ideas for developing similar programs at your utility.

Charles Dickerson, Deputy Energy Manager and Chief Operations Officer, Austin Energy, Texas; and Justin Green, Electric Operations Manager, New Braunfels Utilities, Texas


2 – 2:30 p.m.

Safety and Tool Training: Phasing Meters and Voltage Detectors
Get a concise and comprehensive overview of phasing meters and voltage detectors at this informative training session from Bierer Meters. Learn how phasing meters and voltage detectors function and gather proper data. Discover safe (and unsafe) work methods of working with these devices. Learn to identify and prevent arc flash hazards while using phasing meters and voltage detectors. Get a demonstration on how a lineworker can couple them with capacitance. 

Brent Jeffries, Vice President of Field Operations, Bierer Meters, Blythewood, South Carolina



3 — 4 p.m.
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1 / CPEs 1.2

Community & Communications More than Poles and Wires: Measuring the True Value of Your Utility
How often do you conduct a valuation of your utility’s services and assets? A valuation might underscore core benefits like competitive rates, reliability, and contributions to the city general fund. However, the real value that public power brings to the table goes beyond dollars and cents and keeping the lights on. Community relationships, local control, and high standards of customer service all add intangible but immense value. Discover why it is important to understand your value, learn how to assess the quantitative and qualitative value of your utility, and get tips for sharing your story with your community.

Steve VanderMeer, Senior Vice President, Planning & Marketing, and Patty Cruz, Vice President, Consulting & Training, Hometown Connections, Fort Collins, Colorado, and Round Rock, Texas


Public Power Forward Community Solar with Storage: Lessons Learned
If you’re considering expanding your distributed energy resources portfolio, come and draw inspiration from one public power utility’s community solar and storage program, developed with assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy. The 500 kW solar facility coupled with 1 MWh energy storage project is helping the utility save on wholesale energy costs and remain responsive to customers who want more of their energy from renewables. Share the lessons learned from the project including procurement, technical design, and economic considerations.

Mark Brown, Senior Customer Programs Officer, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, North Carolina; and Achyut Shrestha, Project Manager, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina


Public Power Forward What Is Blockchain and Why You Should Care?
Blockchain is much more than Bitcoin. Blockchain technology allows people and organizations to carry out complex transactions in a shared and decentralized manner without intermediaries. Electric utilities are beginning to explore blockchain to transact with customers, the wholesale market, third-party energy suppliers, regulators, and other stakeholders. The applications are extensive with a smart grid that generates customer interactions and data that require transparent processing, privacy, and automation. Learn how your utility could be impacted by and use blockchain technologies in the near future.

Alex Kizer, Director of Strategic Research, Energy Futures Initiative, Washington, D.C.


Legislative & Regulatory Transmission: Increasing Rates Demand Increasing Scrutiny
Legislative & Regulatory track
Public power has escalating concerns over rising transmission rates  and lack of transparency and adequate stakeholder input in transmission planning and construction. Join the discussion on unfavorable transmission trends and costs. See how public power is advocating for greater transparency and reasonable rates. Learn how you can support the advocacy for improved analysis of transmission needs, more open and transparent planning processes, and greater scrutiny of new construction and its associated costs. Take control of your ability to keep the lights on and electricity bills affordable for your customers.

Randy Howard, General Manager, Northern California Power Agency, Roseville, California; John Snyder, Senior Structure and Pricing Analyst, The Energy Authority, Jacksonville, Florida; and Pam Sullivan, Executive Vice President, Power Supply & Generation, American Municipal power, Columbus, Ohio


Cyber & Physical Preparedness Lessons from Disaster: Making the Most of Mutual Aid
From hurricanes in the east to wildfires in the west to typhoons in the Pacific, 2018 was a year of significant losses, power outages, and infrastructure damage across the nation. Review public power’s response to two recent disasters. How did politics impact the recovery and restoration process in the wake of these different types of disasters? Examine the role and challenges of mutual aid. Learn how to navigate the challenges to get help and turn the lights back on as quickly as possible when disaster heads your way.

John Benavente, P.E., General Manager, Guam Power Authority, Barrigada, Guam; J.T. Flick, Director, Emergency Management, New York Power Authority, White Plains, New York; and Owen McIntee, Electric Superintendent, Spencerport Electric Department, New York


Operations & Reliability Powering Resiliency for Our Military Systems
How are public power utilities that power our nation’s defense installations addressing special operations challenges and helping to bolster military resiliency? Hear from other utilities like yours that are working with U.S. Department of Defense facilities in their service territories. Learn how one public power utility initiated a resiliency summit with four military bases in their community and discussed how to manage community-owned generation and distribution systems on DOD sites. Hear about efforts to form a working group of public power utilities that interface with the DOD.

Andrew Colosimo, Government Affairs Manager, Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado; Steven Sauer, Manager – Large Commercial and Industrial Sales & Service, Omaha Public Power District, Omaha, Nebraska; and Garrick Williams, Senior Director of Military Strategic Cooperation & Support, CPS Energy, San Antonio, Texas


Utility Governance & Management Report Card Time for the CEO and Board
Governing a public power utility requires the CEO and board members to work as a team and hold each other accountable. An effective board not only sets goals but also regularly evaluates the CEO and itself to ensure that the goals are being met. Dive into the ins and outs of metrics, performance plans, and more. Discuss what structures and processes can make the evaluations objective and effective. Learn how the evaluations can be comprehensive and extend beyond financial performance to mission and community impact.

Troy Adams, General Manager, Elk River Municipal Utilities, Minnesota; Judith Dykes-Hoffman, Board Trustee, New Braunfels Utilities, Texas; and R. John Miner, President, Collaborative Learning, Austin, Texas


Workforce Optimization  Tipping the Pay Scales: Strategic Roundtable
Public power utilities face severe competition for skilled staff. City policies often restrain the ability to offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract and retain talent. Join a strategic discussion on competitive pay. Discover the challenges other utilities like yours face and swap solutions. Consider where the competition from talent comes from and how to counter it. Discuss how to tout the distinctive advantages public power offers, beyond the paycheck, to draw people to serve their communities.

Hugh Grunden, President & CEO, Easton Utilities, Maryland

Closed to press, consultants, vendors, and non-members.


3:30 – 4 p.m.

Partnering to Develop Solar Facilities: Case Study of a 300 MW Solar Project for Virginia Electric Cooperative
Learn about developing, constructing, and operating solar projects for cooperatives, municipalities, and other public power groups from the experiences of the partnership between D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI) and Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC). Under a new agreement, NOVEC will purchase approximately 300 megawatts of electrical energy output from solar facilities owned by DESRI. The agreement formalizes a partnership to develop and construct solar-electric generation facilities within the Dominion/PJM footprint. The agreement will help NOVEC power nearly 73,000 homes, and is also expected to create 250 jobs during construction with an emphasis on hiring from local communities.  

Hy Martin, Vice President, D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments, New York