National Conference

National Conference Sessions—Tuesday A.M.

Back to National Conference Agenda

Tuesday, June 11

8 — 10 a.m
Are We Ready for the Rise of the Robots? 
Jennifer Golbeck, Director, Social Intelligence Lab, University of Maryland

Jennifer Golbeck

As we hurtle toward a society and economy powered by Artificial Intelligence and big data, are we in for future shock? Are AI, smart algorithms, big data, and the Internet of Things really taking over? See how increasingly trackable human behavior — from financial transactions to social interactions — could change the way we live, work, and do business. Explore whether AI can help the energy industry make better decisions and improve efficiencies. Learn how to recognize disruptive AI, assess its potential, and prepare for a data- and algorithm-driven future. 

Jennifer Golbeck is an associate professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, and also works in the department of computer science. Her work focuses on how to enhance the way that people interact with their own information online. Her research spans the inner workings of the Internet tools we use daily, to understand the implications of our choices and actions.


key to the icons representing conference tracks

11 a.m. — Noon
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1 / CPEs 1.2

Community & Communications Workforce Optimization  Reaching Tomorrow's Customers: Public Power in Our Schools     
Learning about energy at an early age nurtures responsible energy use and stewardship. See how you can engage with the next generation of your customers through school-based and community programs on energy efficiency and safety while raising your utility’s profile among families and the community. Get ideas from public power utilities that are reaching young people through unique educational experiences. Discover resources that you can adapt and cobrand for use in your school programs.

Chad Johnson, Senior Education Specialist, Nebraska Public Power District, Columbus, Nebraska; Mark Nibaur, General Manager, Austin Utilities, Minnesota; and Gary Swan, Vice President – Development, National Energy Foundation, Salt Lake City, Utah


Public Power Forward Winning the Rate Race for Your Utility and Community
Public power has worked hard to keep the rates low and the lights on. However, as technologies and customer lifestyles evolve, traditional utility rate design no longer meets the needs of all stakeholders. From net metering to time of use, each rate design has its pros and cons. Hear from the experts about options for your utility and learn how to set rates that are fair to all customers. Explore how to evolve rate design strategies to cover costs and be responsive to your community’s needs.

Mark Beauchamp, President, Utility Financial Solutions, Holland, Michigan; Ahmad Faruqui, Principal, The Brattle Group, San Francisco, California; and Jim Lazar, Senior Advisor, Regulatory Assistance Project, Olympia, Washington 


Legislative & Regulatory Pole Attachments: Overcoming Barriers to Local Control    
In late 2018, the Federal Communications Commission adopted sweeping regulatory changes to remove perceived local barriers to wireless broadband deployment. The new rules would subject public power utility poles and other facilities to federal regulation despite explicit exemptions currently in place. Further, Congress introduced legislation to restrict local government and public power control over utility infrastructure. Catch up on the latest technological and business information on 5G and small cell deployments. Get an update on litigation of the FCC’s order, and on state legislative activities.

Jim Baller, President, Baller Stokes & Lide, Washington, D.C.; Joanne Hovis, President, CTC Technology & Energy, Kensington, Maryland; and Andrew Wills, Government Relations Director & Counsel, American Public Power Association


Legislative & Regulatory Addressing Climate Change: The Washington Report
Where are we with a proposed new environmental rule that would allow fossil fuel-fired power plants to continue operations while addressing climate change in accordance with state rules? Learn what’s going on in Washington on air, water and solid waste rulemakings that impact your utility’s operations. Get an update on CO2 emissions regulations, efforts to amend the 2015 coal combustion residual rule, revisions to the effluent limitation guidelines, new source review reforms, and more. See what you can do to ensure compliance and keep the lights on.

Carolyn Slaughter, Director, Environmental Services, American Public Power Association


Cyber & Physical Preparedness Can Your Utility Survive a Cyber Attack?
Your utility is not immune to cyber attacks. But as in the case of a storm-related outage, a robust response plan can help you make quick decisions and restore all systems efficiently if you’re attacked. Get step-by-step guidance on building your response plan from the American Public Power Association’s Cyber Incident Response Playbook. Learn how to set up a response team, identify actions to take, and engage with industry and government partners. See how federal agencies can help you minimize the impact on utility operations and customers.

Lindsay Kishter, Director, Nexight Group, Silver Spring, Maryland; and Jordan Loyd, Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Austin, Texas

Closed to press.


Operations & Reliability R&D: Bring the Power of Innovation to Your Community    
Public power utilities around the country are implementing new programs to improve safety and reliability, become sustainable, and establish cost-effective energy systems — all with support from the American Public Power Association’s DEED research and development program. Your colleagues will share how they leveraged DEED grants and scholarships to demonstrate small wins scalable by all utilities. Hear about a range of new projects and applications — use of drones, thermal microgrids, powering indoor food production, and more. Explore the opportunities and see what you can implement in your community.  

Shannon Murfield, Energy Services Manager, Missouri River Energy Services, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and David Porter, Director, U.S. Accounts, Electric Power Research Institute, Charlotte, North Carolina


Utility Governance & Management Boards and Managers: Leading as a Team
A successful public power utility requires both effective governance and strong management. Join your peers to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the CEO/general manager and board members. Learn how utility managers and policymakers can work well together and align interests, communicate effectively, and make informed decisions. See how each can play to their strengths and avoid interference in areas that don’t require their expertise. Understand how leaders can hold one another accountable and partner to power strong communities.

Troy Adams, General Manager, Elk River Municipal Utilities, Minnesota; and David Niles, Vice President, Avant Energy, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Utility Governance & Management Bond Ratings: Straight from the Big Three
How do Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poors rate your credit and municipal bond issues? Get the inside scoop directly from all three rating agencies. Learn about trends and threats that your utility needs to watch out for. See what factors work for and against you as your utility is rated for financial strength in a competitive market. Determine steps boards and managers should take to bolster your financial position. Learn how you can leverage public power’s strengths in your ability to raise capital.

Jeffrey Panger, Director, S&P Global – Ratings, New York; Dennis Pidherny, Managing Director, Public Finance, Sector Head – U.S. Public Power, Fitch Ratings, New York; and A.J. Sabatelle, Associate Managing Director, Global Project & Infrastructure Finance Group, Moody’s Investor Service, New York


11 – 11:30 a.m.

The UMPA Peaking Plant: A Breath of Fresh Air
Utah Municipal Power Agency’s new state-of-the-art power plant in Provo, Utah is the cleanest burning natural gas-fired power plant in the state. Five Cat G3520H natural gas generators provide over 12 megawatts of peaking power to UMPA’s members, replacing the coal-fired Provo Power Plant. Learn about the project, which has garnered widespread acclaim from state and local stakeholders due to its efficiency and emission control technology. The plant provides reliable power to a growing population while minimizing the impact on local air quality. Its post combustion emissions after-treatment technology reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by 93%, carbon monoxide by 90% and formaldehyde by 90%.

Kevin Garlick, Power Reource Manager, Utah Municipal Power Agency, Spanish Fork, Utah; and Shane Minor, Utility, Governmental & International Sales, Wheeler Machinery, Salt Lake City, Utah 


11:30 a.m. – Noon

The Energy Storage Playbook: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Gear Up and Save Money
If you are curious about energy storage, this is the session for you. Energy storage is an important component of a secure, reliable, low carbon, and cost-effective electricity future. This discussion will give direction on how to develop, design and dissect an energy storage project from start to finish.

Brett Cullen, Director of Business Development, ENGIE Storage, Santa Clara, California