Taking Care of Business: Distribution Economics

Learn about the fiduciary responsibilities of a public power system and its governing body with respect to the distribution system.
May 20, 2020
2:00pm EDT - 3:00pm EDT

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Webinar Description

Learn about the fiduciary responsibilities of a public power system and its governing body with respect to the distribution system.  This includes consideration of the current business imperatives for a robust distribution system based on sound planning, design, and operations. Review the basic concepts of engineering economics and their application to commonly encountered distribution system decisions (loss evaluation, component and equipment investment alternatives, financial risk management, customer contributions, etc.). Learn about the methods most often used to pay for distribution system investments.


  • Fiduciary responsibilities for management of distribution assets 
  • Business imperatives for a robust distribution system
  • Engineering economics (time value of money, cash flow, choices among economic alternatives)
  • Engineering economics applied to electrical distribution decision-making
    • Component and equipment investment alternatives
    • Investment timing and risk management
  • Methods for financing system investment

Recommended for

Utility executive managers and governing board members, mid-level managers (engineering, operations, financial, customer) distribution personnel (engineers, planners, and crew leaders), and consultants.


  • R. John Miner, P.E., President, Collaborative Learning, Inc., Austin, Texas
  • Tom Black, P.E., Management Consultant, Collaborative Learning, Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado

Guest presenters

  • Joni Batson, P.E., VP System Planning, Protection & Consulting, Leidos
  • John Cerulli, P.E., Senior Distribution Planning and Analysis Engineer, Leidos 

Series Description

Join this four-part webinar series  to learn the latest on distribution economics, planning and performance. Hear about the business imperatives that are driving distribution system performance and improvements and discuss the evolving, broader mission of the distribution system in the context of “smart” components, increasing customer expectations for reliable service, and the connection of Distributed Energy Resources. Hear best practices and actionable tips for improving your distribution system.  

Contact Us

Have questions? Contact 202/467-2997 or [email protected]

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R. John Miner, P.E.  is an accomplished executive manager and educator with over 45 years of experience in the electric utility industry.  He is president of Collaborative Learning, Inc. of Austin and San Antonio, Texas, a firm that presents management and technical education programs and, through Collaboration Unlimited, provides management consulting services to the electric utility industry. He has been an APPA instructor for more than 30 years and an instructor for the University of Wisconsin Engineering Professional Development Department for 15 years. 

Before forming his own company, he served as chief operating officer for the Austin, Texas, Electric Utility Department (now Austin Energy), as general manager of Rochester Public Utilities in Minnesota, and was an assistant professor on the faculty of the University of Houston’s College of Technology. John earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering (with honors), and a Master of Science degree in engineering science, both from the University of Toledo. John is a Senior Life Member of the IEEE and is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Texas and Minnesota.

Tom Black, P.E. is an accomplished executive manager, consultant and continuing education course instructor with more than 30 years of experience in the electric and gas utility industries.  In addition to working with Collaborative Learning, Tom’s experience includes working for both municipal and investor owned utilities across Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Tom teaches courses on electrical distribution principles, overhead and underground distribution systems, the NESC, electric system planning, construction, operations, and maintenance. 

Tom has served on the boards of RMEL and the Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities CAMU and is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis (with honors) and is a registered professional engineer in the states of Colorado and Arizona. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Guest presenters

Joni Batson, P.E., leads the System Planning and Protection services for Leidos. She has 40 years of project management experience working both as a consultant and directly for utilities. For public and investor-owned utilities nationwide, Joni develops master plans and construction plans for project implementation. She earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University, and an M.S. in Engineering Administration from the University of Tennessee.

John Cerulli, P.E., is Principal Engineer, System Planning and Protection with Leidos.  At Leidos, John performs Distributed Energy Resources (DER) interconnection impact studies and distribution planning services for utilities across the United States. He is a registered professional engineer with 29 years of experience in electric utility distribution engineering. John obtained a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University at Buffalo, and a Master of Science in Power System Management from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  

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Registration/Fee Information

Registration is for one person (individuals receive unique log in credentials that cannot be shared). Discounted group pricing is available.

Individual webinars:  $109 for members; $209 for nonmembers. Click on a webinar title to register individually:

The 4-part series (discounted price): $400 for APPA members; $800 for nonmembers

  • Register for the series.
  • Webinars are recorded, in case you miss the live version (registrants automatically receive the recording within 24 hours). Continuing education credits are not available for recorded events.

Group Pricing

Save 50% when registering a group of 10 or more people. Contact [email protected] for details.

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  • You will need a username and password to register through our website. If you need assistance, please contact our web services staff.

How to Join a Webinar

  • Log-in information will be sent out the morning of each event (around 10:30 a.m. Eastern). If you do not receive the reminder email, please email [email protected]
  • Registration is for one person (individual logins are unique and cannot be shared). If you have multiple employees participating from one designated location (e.g., a conference room), all can listen and watch, though the completion certificate is only available to registered individuals.

Technology Tips

  • We encourage you to use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) instead of a phone line, if possible. This option provides the best audio quality and allows you to listen to the webinar through your computer’s microphone and speakers.
  • For best results, we recommend using Google Chrome to log into the ClickMeeting platform.


  • Each webinar is worth 1 CEU / 1 PDH / 1.2 CPE credits; CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
  • Registrants are required to log in via the individual web link provided by email before the webinar and participate for at least 45 minutes of the event, in order to receive a completion certificate.
  • The completion certificate is only available to the person who registered for the webinar. Attendance is confirmed by the webinar report log. Certificates are emailed within a day of the event.
  • Links to all handouts and an audio recording will be sent out within 24 hours of the webinar.

Speaker Questions

We encourage you to submit questions for the speaker(s) in advance by emailing [email protected]. You may also ask questions through a chat feature during the webinar.

Contact Us

Have questions? Contact [email protected].