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As part of a broader climate action plan, President Obama yesterday said he is directing the Environmental Protection Agency to work expeditiously to complete "carbon pollution" standards for both new and existing power plants. In a separate June 25 memorandum, the president directed EPA to re-propose by Sept. 20 its proposed New Source Performance Standard to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, and to propose standards, regulations, or guidelines, as appropriate, by June 1, 2014, for existing, reconstructed and modified plants. The memo directs EPA to issue final rules or guidelines for existing plants by June 1, 2015.

APPA supports several aspects of President Obama’s proposal, but has concerns about other aspects of his plan (see story below).

The guidelines addressing existing power plants are to include a requirement that states submit to EPA the implementation plans required under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act and its implementing regulations by no later than June 30, 2016, the memo said. The memo calls for EPA to work with states, the power sector, labor leaders, non-governmental organizations, other experts, tribal officials, other stakeholders, and members of the public.

Obama directed EPA, to the extent possible, to:
  • tailor the regulations and guidelines to reduce costs;
  • allow the use of market-based instruments, performance standards, and other regulatory flexibilities;
  • ensure that the standards enable continued reliance on a range of energy sources and technologies; and
  • ensure that the standards are developed and implemented in a manner consistent with the continued provision of reliable and affordable electric power for consumers and businesses.
The president said he remains firmly committed to his 2009 pledge that by 2020, America would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels if all other major economies agreed to limit their emissions as well.

To meet a goal of doubling renewable electricity generation by 2020, the plan calls for the Interior Department to permit another 10 gigawatts of renewables on public lands by 2020, and calls for expanding and modernizing the grid as directed in a June 7 presidential memorandum. The plan sets a new goal for the federal government: to consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, more than double the current goal of 7.5 percent.

In coming weeks, the Department of Energy will issue a draft of a solicitation that would make up to $8 billion in (self-pay) loan guarantee authority available for a wide array of advanced fossil energy projects under its Section 1703 loan guarantee program, the plan said. DOE will take comments on the draft solicitation, with a plan to issue a final solicitation by this fall.

The president’s plan sets a new energy efficiency goal: "Efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings set in the [president’s] first and second terms combined will reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 – equivalent to nearly one-half of the carbon pollution from the entire U.S. energy sector for one year – while continuing to cut families’ energy bills."

"Through steady, responsible action to cut carbon pollution, we can protect our children’s health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so that we leave behind a cleaner, more stable environment," the plan said. The effects of climate change already are being felt, the plan said, noting that last year was the warmest on record for the contiguous United States.

"Cutting carbon pollution will help spark business innovation to modernize our power plants, resulting in cleaner forms of American-made energy that will create good jobs and cut our dependence on foreign oil," according to the plan. "Combined with the administration’s other actions to increase the efficiency of our cars and household appliances, the president’s plan will reduce the amount of energy consumed by American families, cutting down on their gas and utility bills."

The plan is posted on the White House’s website. —ROBERT VARELA

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APPA supports several aspects of President Obama’s plan to address climate change, including his proposals to increase energy efficiency efforts, streamline development of hydro power and other renewable resources, and increase use of nuclear power. The association yesterday said it also supports the president’s call for an "all of the above" strategy, including coal, when it comes to the fuels used to produce electricity. At the same time, APPA has significant concerns with several other aspects of the president’s proposal.

First, APPA is concerned about the potential or likely impacts of the president’s directive to the Environmental Protection Agency to expedite regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by establishing New Source Performance Standards under the Clean Air Act. APPA is encouraged that the president directed EPA "to re-propose last year’s flawed proposed rule for new power plants that effectively banned new coal-fired plants." However, APPA is concerned that the net effect of a re-proposed rule may be the same. The association urged EPA "to make substantial changes, including provisions that differentiate between fuel types and set a standard for coal that can be achieved using current commercially available technology."

Of even greater concern is how EPA will address emissions from existing power plants, APPA said. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is to set broad national guidelines, not numeric emissions requirements or limits, and allow the states to develop specific programs to implement those guidelines. Since there is no commercially available technology to control greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, "state programs will likely and appropriately vary depending on a number of factors," APPA noted. Thus, if done correctly, greenhouse gas emissions programs for existing coal plants "would not necessarily prohibit their operation." APPA said it looks forward to working with EPA on these rulemakings.

APPA wants to keep electricity affordable, "but this becomes a challenge under the president’s proposal." The shift from coal to natural gas for electric generation is already creating several cost and operational issues, including fuel price volatility for utilities and their customers, the need for additional pipeline capacity and storage, lack of flexibility in pipeline rate schedules to accommodate the needs of electric generation, and misalignment of the gas and electric days, APPA said. "With respect to increased use of renewable energy sources – a goal strongly supported by APPA and its members – it is not clear that the President’s proposal includes a recognition that the predominant renewables, wind and solar, must be backed up on a one-for-one basis by another source of electricity, usually natural gas."

Finally, APPA said, the administration’s repeated proposals to severely limit the ability of state and local governments to issue tax-exempt bonds is inconsistent with the president’s call for increased investments by public power utilities, the hardening of public infrastructure against the effects of climate change, and lowering consumers’ utility bills.

APPA’s statement is posted in the Newsroom of its website. —ROBERT VARELA

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Testo, Inc.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should adopt the North American Electric Reliability Corp.’s latest version of cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure (the CIP Version 5 standards) "without modifications, conditions or directives," APPA said. NERC’s proposal and in particular the "identify, assess and correct" (IAC) framework represents a paradigm shift away from the so-called "zero defect" compliance approach and toward more effective risk management, APPA said in June 24 comments on FERC’s proposal to adopt the CIP Version 5 standards.

Adopting programmatic controls, rather than specific cyber controls, for low-impact cyber assets is critical, APPA told the commission. Imposing specific cyber controls on low-impact assets would hurt reliability by significantly increasing the administrative burden of compliance on utilities and siphoning resources away from actual reliability tasks that would secure those assets, APPA said. APPA cited the example of a Midwestern utility that has fewer than 30 medium-impact relays that provide protection to three 345-kV transmission substations, but more than 150 low-impact relays located in 50 separate 115-kV substations. Requiring specific cyber controls for low-impact assets also "would be an inflexible strategy for assets that require more responsiveness and adaptability."

APPA said it is willing to forego a legal challenge to the commission’s deficient Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis and certification that the standards would have no significant impact on small entities, if FERC approves NERC’s proposal without modification. The NERC drafting team responded to the comments and concerns expressed by small entities during the standard development process, and attempted to minimize the regulatory burden imposed on such entities, while still ensuring the reliability of the bulk electricity system, APPA said.

However, each of the principal changes that the commission proposes to the Version 5 standards "would clearly invalidate the commission’s already deeply flawed proposed RFA analysis by substantially increasing the already heavy regulatory burden imposed on small entities, without commensurately increasing the associated benefits," APPA said. If the commission modifies NERC’s proposed CIP Version 5 standards in its final rule, it "must go back to the drawing board and conduct a full RFA analysis," APPA said. APPA expects the commission to correct the errors in its RFA calculations in the final rule on the Version 5 standards.

APPA urged the commission to accept NERC’s proposed implementation plan, including the 24-month and 36-month periods provided for responsible entities to develop and implement these standards. —ROBERT VARELA

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Based on its experience with the Department of Energy’s cybersecurity maturity model for utilities, Snohomish County Public Utility District in Washington recommends all utilities use the model. Even utilities with a mature information security program should use it, said Benjamin Beberness, chief information officer for the utility.

Snohomish PUD is one of 17 utilities in the nation that have used DOE’s Electricity Subsector Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model (known to users as "ES-C2M2"). DOE released the model in May 2012. Since then, 77 utilities, including 32 public power utilities, have downloaded the model.

Beberness and Sam Merrell of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University described the model and how utilities can use it at a June 18 breakout session at APPA’s National Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

The model offers a logical framework for utilities to examine and rate cybersecurity practices in 10 "domains."  Its use is voluntary and it is separate from cybersecurity bulk electric system mandates administered by the North American Electric Reliability Corp., said Merrell. It identifies key cybersecurity practices that utilities should be doing.  The 10 domains addressed in the model are:
  1. Risk management
  2. Assets
  3. Access
  4. Threats
  5. Situation
  6. Sharing
  7. Response
  8. Dependencies
  9. Workforce
  10. Cyber
Within each domain, the model prescribes best practices. Utilities using the model score their practices on a 0 to 3 scale, with 0 representing a practice that is not performed, 1 representing a practice that has been initiated, 2 a practice that is performed and 3 a practice that is managed.

Snohomish PUD encountered "no surprises" about areas where it needed to improve its practices, said Beberness. The utility has program elements in place for asset management, access control, threat/vulnerability management, sharing and managing information, threat response, dependencies, workforce management and cyber management, he said. It is focusing on improving risk management, log management, access management and asset management, he said.

DOE will provide an outside facilitator for utilities that opt to use the model. Snohomish PUD used a facilitator and Beberness and Merrell recommended that utilities take advantage of the facilitation service.

The model is available for download on the DOE website.

Utilities with questions about the model can email ES-C2M2@doe.gov. Merrell, a DOE contractor for the model, can be reached at smerrell@cert.org.

Beberness and Merrell discussed the model with APPA Director of Electric Reliability Standards and Compliance Nathan Mitchell in a video segment at the conclusion of the June 19 conference session.

The paper from the conference session is posted on publicpower.org. —JEANNE LABELLA

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Crux Subsurface Inc

APPA’s Business & Financial Conference will offer many topics specifically for public power professionals in the area of human resources and training. 

Topics covered at the conference, to be held Sept. 22-25 in Orlando, Fla., will include:

•    Communicating and Motivating to Reach Across the Generations
•    Best Practices in Utility Recruiting
•    Customer Service Training: Giving the Best to Your Internal and External Customers
•    HR Legal Update
•    Health Care Reform: What Does it Mean to Your Utility?
•    Positioning Your Utility to Succeed in a Sellout Evaluation
•    HR as a Strategic Partner
•    Emotional Intelligence: Is It the Solution to Effective Communication and Management?
•    How HR Managers Survive an Enterprise-Wide Technology Conversion
•    Keys to an Effective External Auditor-Client Relationship
•    Getting the Most Out of Your Enterprise Risk Management Program

The program includes roundtable discussions, networking breakfasts, receptions and other opportunities for networking and information exchange.

The conference also offers educational sessions and networking opportunities for utility professionals in the areas of accounting, finance, customer accounting, customer services, information technology, pricing and market analysis.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to attend in-depth pre-conference seminars on Sunday, Sept. 22. Topics include "Performing a Utility Financial Check-up," "Building an Internal Control Framework for NERC Compliance," "Understanding and Maximizing AMI Benefits for Utilities," and "Organization and Workforce Planning for Public Power."

Visit www.publicpower.org/BandF for complete program information and to register. —MEGHAN RILEY

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The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold an oversight hearing today at 2 p.m., Eastern time, entitled "The Power Marketing Administrations: A Ratepayer Perspective. A live video stream will be broadcast at http://naturalresources.house.gov/live. —J.A.

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Webinar – Regional Transmission Organizations: RTO 101
June 26

Webinar – Using Regulatory Accounting in Developing Rate Structures
June 27

Webinar – The Basics of Filing Electric Quarterly Reports
July 1

Webinar – Regional Transmission Organizations: RTO 201
July 10

Webinar – Utility Governance: Strategic Planning for Utility Boards and City Councils
July 16

Webinar – Information Technology Governance for Auditors and Accounting & Finance Personnel
July 23

Policy Makers Council Summer Meeting 2013
Washington, D.C.
July 29-31

Webinar – Pole Attachment Issues
July 30

Webinar – Electric Rate Designs: Rate Structures that Reflect Utility Costs
August 20

Safety Webinar – Fall Protection: Methods, Programs and Policies
August 27

Safety Webinar – Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), First Aid, Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and Rescue
September 4

Webinar – GASB 68: Pension Accounting
September 10

Webinar – Utility Governance: Performance Monitoring and Accountability for Boards
September 17

APPA Business & Financial Conference
Orlando, Fla.
September 22-25

For a full APPA Events Calendar, visit Publicpower.org.

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AVO Training Institute, Inc.

Utility regulatory planner—Austin Energy in Austin, Texas, is hiring a utility regulatory planner. This position provides expertise in economic analysis regarding the development and implementation of electric rates at cost of service, particularly cost classification and allocation to customers and rate design, and providing expert testimony at rate proceedings. It also provides research and monitoring trends in customers’ bills to benchmark the utility’s performance. Posting closes on June 28. Interested candidates can apply at https://www.austincityjobs.org/postings/search.

Director of operations—Willmar Municipal Utilities (WMU), in Willmar, Minn., is accepting applications (resumes) for the position of director of operations. WMU serves electric, water and district hot water heat to the city of Willmar, Minn., which has a population of 18,000. Willmar is a regional center in West Central Minnesota and is the southern anchor of "where the Minnesota lakes begin." Under the direction of the general manager, the director of operations will perform a variety of complex supervisory, professional, administrative and technical duties in the Operations area of the utility, including planning, directing and coordinating construction activities, and supervising the Electric, Water and District Heating departments. The position works closely with the director of finance to ensure the financial strength is maintained in the Operations department. Minimum qualifications: Graduate from an accredited four-year college or university with a degree in electrical, mechanical engineering, or a closely related field. A minimum of 10 years' experience in the utility industry with proven technical and administrative ability in positions of progressively greater responsibilities is required. Compensation: WMU offers a competitive benefit package with salary commensurate with experience and qualifications. Apply: Please submit resumes by email to bmattheisen@wmu.willmar.mn.us through June 28. WMU is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Finance director—Austin Energy in Austin, Texas, has a vacancy for an Austin Energy finance director. This position is responsible for the management and operations of an Austin Energy financial services division with the following functions: general accounting, external audit coordination, grant accounting, financial reporting, joint project financial oversight, revenue accounting, accounts receivable, joint-use billing, accounts payable, debt management, accounting for derivatives, contractor invoicing system and operations accounting. Posting closes June 28. For more information and to apply, please visit our website at http://www.austincityjobs.org and refer to job posting No. AE500392.

Key accounts manager—
Danville Department of Utilities in Virginia is seeking a qualified professional to manage major accounts, administer energy efficiency programs, coordinate customer information and education activities, promote service offerings and participate in budgetary, accounting and utility rate computations. The position coordinates modifications of existing services, products and rates, and serves as primary point of contact for major industrial accounts. Qualifications: The candidate must possess: a thorough knowledge of utility ratemaking, management, policies, trends, programs and services; a demonstrated ability to effectively manage projects, market utility services and to prepare and present financial reports and energy efficient programs; an ability to communicate in a clear and professional manner in both writing and speaking; an ability to work in a variety of commercial and industrial environments; education and experience equivalent to a bachelor's degree in engineering, business marketing or other related field. Extensive experience is preferred in marketing, business retention, economic development or utility industry experience with large customers. Compensation: Pay range is $50,377 to $58,150/ DOQ. Position will remain open until filled. Apply: Visit our website at www.danville-va.gov to apply online. Equal Opportunity Employer.

Director of corporate services & CFO—
Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA) in Edmond, Okla., seeks a director of corporate services & CFO. OMPA is a wholesale electric provider to 41 retail public power utilities in Oklahoma and Arkansas. OMPA is governed by an 11-member board of directors, and employs 62 personnel, and generates approximately $163 million in annual revenues. Fitch and Standard & Poor’s each rate OMPA "A". Edmond is located in the center of the state and borders Oklahoma City on the south, and has a population of over 83,000. Edmond’s cost-of-living index is 87.5 percent of the national average. Description: The director of corporate services & CFO will direct a staff of eight, will report to the general manager and will be responsible for planning, implementing and overseeing all facets of finance, accounting and information technology activities. Qualifications: Broad experience is needed in all of the described functions, but it is essential candidates bring expertise in financial forecasting, financial planning and finance, including debt issuance, investment management and rates. Candidates should possess significant electric industry experience, including a history of progressively responsible assignments. Demonstrating successful performance resulting in advancement to the executive level is preferred. Contact: Pat Prouse, Mycoff, Fry & Prouse, LLC: mail: 12935 US Highway 285, Conifer, CO, 80433; phone: 800/525-9082; email: pprouse@mfpllc.us; website: www.mfpllc.us.

General manager—
Menasha Utilities is seeking a strong leader to fill the general manager position and revitalize the relationships with the city of Menasha, Wis., customers and employees. For over 100 years, Menasha Utilities has served the residents and businesses of the city of Menasha, providing reliable services at favorable rates. In our search for a general manager, Menasha Utilities is seeking a change agent as the city and utility move toward a more collaborative relationship. As municipal utilities, we are governed by a five-member commission appointed by the Menasha City Council. The general manager reports to this body at monthly and occasional special purpose meetings. Menasha Utilities serves approximately 9,000 electric customers and 5,000 water customers. Menasha Utilities also operates a telecommunications utility, which provides services to utility facilities, city and some major customers. The general manager functions as the chief executive officer of Menasha Utilities. The general manager oversees the financial health, operations and maintenance of the electric, water and telecommunications utilities, including power purchase and distribution for all residential, commercial and industrial customers. Responsibilities include oversight of strategic planning, budget development and adherence, personnel, operations and maintenance, regulatory compliance, project development, customer relations, safety and a variety of computerized systems. Required education and experience:
  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in engineering, accounting, business administration or public administration from an accredited university or college;
  • At least 10 years electric and/or water utility experience, five of which must be at senior management level, preferably in a municipal utility;
  • Experience in utility budgeting, finance, personnel, utility operations or related work; and
  • A demonstrated ability to lead others, plan ahead, manage, prioritize, problem solve, communicate effectively, maintain effective working relationships, maintain adequate attendance and have a strong customer orientation.
Menasha Utilities is an equal opportunity employer. For more information, go to www.menashautilities.com. If you would like to explore this opportunity, please contact Ms. Kristin Hubertus by email at khubertus@wppienergy.org for further information.

General manager—
Clatskanie People's Utility District in Oregon seeks a general manager. The general manager (GM) is responsible for the overall management of the People’s Utility District (PUD). The GM is expected to provide leadership, direct senior management and to develop and implement strategic plans while reporting to the elected board of directors. Qualifications: Qualified applicants will be innovative and excel in communication, delegation and leadership skills. Successful applicants must have the ability to deal effectively with employees, the public, news media, civic groups, organizations, government agencies and other utilities. A bachelor’s degree in business, public administration, electrical engineering, or a related, equivalent field or proven work performance and experience, plus certain required knowledge, skills and abilities required to carry out the duties of a GM, are required. At least 10 years of progressively responsible management experience, preferably utility related, is also required. Generation experience, a community service record, an innovative background, experience working with BPA, TVA, WAPA or other federal power agencies, is desired. Compensation: Clatskanie PUD offers great benefits and a competitive salary that will be based upon the selected candidate's qualifications and experience. Apply: Information on how to apply can be found on our website at www.clatskaniepud.com or by contacting Human Resources at mkorsmo@clatskaniepud.com or 503/728-2163. This position will remain posted until filled. Clatskanie PUD is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Director of economic and financial policy—
The American Public Power Association Policy Analysis department is seeking a director of economic and financial policy to manage APPA's advocacy and policy formation efforts on risk management and economic and financial issues, as well as to perform analyses and studies of related issues affecting the public power sector of the electric utility industry. Qualified candidates should possess the ability to perform quantitative analysis and to supervise consultants doing such work; work independently to analyze public policy issues and develop association positions; present ideas, issues and policy positions clearly, concisely and accurately, both orally and in writing; act as an advocate for public power policy positions on issues; establish and maintain working relationships with personnel of member utilities, federal agencies and industry organizations; and be recognized internally and externally as an expert in his/her field. Required education and experience:
  • Undergraduate degree in finance, business, economics, statistics or related field from a four-year college or university, plus a master’s degree or equivalent graduate course work in economics, finance or related discipline.
  • Eight or more years of experience in utility regulation or closely allied field.
  • Experience in working with legislatures and regulatory agencies on utility policy issues.
The American Public Power Association is an equal opportunity employer. For more information, go to www.publicpower.org. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to humanresources@publicpower.org, with "Director of Economic and Financial Policy" in the subject line.

Check out APPA's career services on the Web

Visit the Career Center at PublicPower.org. Our career center allows job seekers to upload resumes, and recruiters to obtain resumes from job seekers. Classified ads in Public Power Daily and Public Power Weekly cost 70 cents per word for APPA members, and 80 cents per word for nonmembers, for a one-week run. Job posting subscriptions are available in packages of five, 10, or unlimited for a full year. The weekly deadline for placing a classified ad is every Thursday at 12 p.m. (Eastern time). If you have questions about classified ads, please write to jobs@publicpower.org, or call 202/467-2958.

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