RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

Welcome to 2018! I hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends. We are excited about the many opportunities that lie ahead in 2018!

We are kicking off our first event of the year next week, the Introduction to the Electric Utility Workshop on January 18. We have the largest crowd ever registered for this event, and I think that’s a indication of the many, many talented new people that are being drawn to our industry. Our organizations are engaging them immediately through effective and efficient onboarding processes. We are excited that RMEL can be a part of that. The member companies are sending new and non-technical employees to the RMEL community because you, the RMEL members, are a strong network and a valuable resource for each other. This is great start to a collaborative culture and long career for these employees in our industry. We are at a pivotal moment in our industry, filled with change and opportunity; and best of all, we are embracing it!

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the Introduction to the Electric Utility Workshop instructor Steve Sax. Steve has presented this class for RMEL over the past 13 years, with just under 900 attendees over the span of those years. Again, a true representation of the quality of folks we have in our industry! Thank you, Steve!  And we, and our membership,  look forward to many more. 

This is just the beginning…here are some other RMEL happenings that I think you’ll find useful. There’s something for everyone!

Who is Innovating to Move the Industry Forward?
RMEL will Honor Emerging Leaders – Nomination Deadline is February 28!

Now is a great time to start thinking about who you’d like to nominate for RMEL’s Emerging Leader Award. The deadline to submit 2018 nominations is February 28, 2018. This industry is not short on challenges, and as your team stays nimble and gets the job done – who is the person that really takes it to the next level? The RMEL Awards Program is not just about the award plaque – this program provides an important acknowledgement for your staff as you build your leadership pipeline. The esteemed group of Emerging Leader Award recipients are a valued and respected group at RMEL, and we look for opportunities to engage these folks and help them meet their potential. For example, at the Spring Management, Engineering Operations Conference the last two years, Emerging Leader Award winners had the unique opportunity to participate in strategy session with 2016 keynote speaker Mark Eaton, former NBA All Star, and 2017 keynote speaker Tom Osborne, Former Head Football Coach and Athletic Director, University of Nebraska. Make sure your organization and your best people are part of this group.

Emerging Leader Award winners participated in strategy sessions with Spring Conference keynote speakers Mark Eaton, former NBA All Star (2016 keynote), and Tom Osborne, Former Head Football Coach and Athletic Director, University of Nebraska (2017 keynote).

How Can We Add New Talent to the Industry as we Tackle the Unknown?
RMEL Foundation’s Scholarship Program – Deadline is February 8

Please help spread the word about RMEL Foundation scholarship opportunities! RMEL member companies are the primary avenue by which these scholarships are promoted. Applicants must complete the online scholarship application. Scholarship eligibility and general information are available here. The online application must be completed by February 8, 2018. Over the past 17 years, 270 scholarships have been awarded totaling more than $667,000. The RMEL Foundation is making a difference, and we thank you for your generous donations and promotion of the scholarship program, especially those who donated during the RMEL Foundation Auction at the 2017 Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention.

Where Can We Talk About What Works?
RMEL Has Technical Events for Safety, Generation, Transmission, Distribution and Vital Issues

We kick off 2018 events next week with the Introduction to the Electric Utility Workshop. This is a great event to introduce non-technical employees to this amazing industry. Join us January 30-31 down in Tempe, AZ, for the Physical and Cyber Security Conference, where we will look at proactive strategies to protect American power. A free Safety Roundtable will be held at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association on February 23. March is when we really start to get technical, starting with the Power Supply Planning and Projects Conference and Roundtable March 7-8 – this is the place to discuss and navigate the changing generation landscape. The Transmission Planning and Operations Conference and Roundtable, covering new technology, asset management and data analytics, will be March 14-15. Then we’ll look at engineering, operations and design best practices during the Distribution Overhead and Underground Operations and Maintenance Conference and Roundtable March 21-22. To round out RMEL’s "March Madness,” the Safety Conference and Roundtable will be held March 28-29, 2018.

Let’s get started! It’s going to be a great year.

Education and Upcoming Events

Introduction to the Electric Utility Workshop --- January 18, 2018 (Lone Tree, CO)
Physical and Cyber Security Conference --- January 30-31, 2018 (Tempe, AZ)
Safety Roundtable - February 2018 --- February 23, 2018 (Westminster, CO)
Power Supply Planning and Projects Conference --- March 7-8, 2018 (Lone Tree,CO)
Transmission Planning and Operations Conference --- March 14-15, 2018 (Lone Tree, CO)
Distribution Operations and Maintenance Conference --- March 21-22, 2018 (Lone Tree, CO)
Safety Conference --- March 28-29, 2018 (Lone Tree, CO)
Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference --- May 20-22, 2018 (Keystone, CO)
Steam Generation Cycling Symposium --- June 14, 2018 (Omaha, NE)
2018 RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament --- June 27, 2018 (Littleton, CO)
Plant Management, Engineering Operations Conference --- August 1-2, 2018  
Safety Roundtable - August 2018 --- August 24, 2018 (Golden, CO)
Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention --- September 16-18, 2018 (San Antonio, TX)
Planning Session: 2019 Spring Conference --- October 4, 2018 (Lone Tree, CO)
Distribution Engineers Workshop --- October 10-11, 2018 (Lone Tree, CO)
Renewable Planning and Operations Conference --- October 18, 2018 (Lone Tree, CO)
Safety Roundtable - November 2018 --- November 2, 2018 (Fort Collins, CO)

   
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Conversion from type 'DBNull' to type 'String' is not valid.

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.InvalidCastException: Conversion from type 'DBNull' to type 'String' is not valid.

Source Error:

The source code that generated this unhandled exception can only be shown when compiled in debug mode. To enable this, please follow one of the below steps, then request the URL:

1. Add a "Debug=true" directive at the top of the file that generated the error. Example:

  <%@ Page Language="C#" Debug="true" %>

or:

2) Add the following section to the configuration file of your application:

<configuration>
   <system.web>
       <compilation debug="true"/>
   </system.web>
</configuration>

Note that this second technique will cause all files within a given application to be compiled in debug mode. The first technique will cause only that particular file to be compiled in debug mode.

Important: Running applications in debug mode does incur a memory/performance overhead. You should make sure that an application has debugging disabled before deploying into production scenario.

Stack Trace:


[InvalidCastException: Conversion from type 'DBNull' to type 'String' is not valid.]
   Microsoft.VisualBasic.CompilerServices.Conversions.ToString(Object Value) +452712
   ASP.ABMBanner.getbanner() +3579
   ASP.abmip_ssl_aspx.page_load() +626
   System.Web.Util.CalliHelper.ArglessFunctionCaller(IntPtr fp, Object o) +8
   System.Web.Util.CalliEventHandlerDelegateProxy.Callback(Object sender, EventArgs e) +8772915
   System.Web.UI.Control.OnLoad(EventArgs e) +99
   System.Web.UI.Control.LoadRecursive() +50
   System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain(Boolean includeStagesBeforeAsyncPoint, Boolean includeStagesAfterAsyncPoint) +627


Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:2.0.50727.8813; ASP.NET Version:2.0.50727.8951
      
Conversion from type 'DBNull' to type 'String' is not valid.

Server Error in '/absolutebm' Application.

Conversion from type 'DBNull' to type 'String' is not valid.

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.InvalidCastException: Conversion from type 'DBNull' to type 'String' is not valid.

Source Error:

The source code that generated this unhandled exception can only be shown when compiled in debug mode. To enable this, please follow one of the below steps, then request the URL:

1. Add a "Debug=true" directive at the top of the file that generated the error. Example:

  <%@ Page Language="C#" Debug="true" %>

or:

2) Add the following section to the configuration file of your application:

<configuration>
   <system.web>
       <compilation debug="true"/>
   </system.web>
</configuration>

Note that this second technique will cause all files within a given application to be compiled in debug mode. The first technique will cause only that particular file to be compiled in debug mode.

Important: Running applications in debug mode does incur a memory/performance overhead. You should make sure that an application has debugging disabled before deploying into production scenario.

Stack Trace:


[InvalidCastException: Conversion from type 'DBNull' to type 'String' is not valid.]
   Microsoft.VisualBasic.CompilerServices.Conversions.ToString(Object Value) +452712
   ASP.ABMBanner.getbanner() +3579
   ASP.abmip_ssl_aspx.page_load() +626
   System.Web.Util.CalliHelper.ArglessFunctionCaller(IntPtr fp, Object o) +8
   System.Web.Util.CalliEventHandlerDelegateProxy.Callback(Object sender, EventArgs e) +8772915
   System.Web.UI.Control.OnLoad(EventArgs e) +99
   System.Web.UI.Control.LoadRecursive() +50
   System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain(Boolean includeStagesBeforeAsyncPoint, Boolean includeStagesAfterAsyncPoint) +627


Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:2.0.50727.8813; ASP.NET Version:2.0.50727.8951
   
Industry Information

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is introducing a new electric time-of-use rate plan to promote more efficient energy usage and provide customers with additional rate plan options. Starting in April 2018, approximately 150,000 residential electric customers across PG&E’s service area will transition into the new rate plan, unless they choose another rate plan. This is the first phase of a multi-year, statewide effort to create a smarter energy future and healthier environment while balancing the need to keep customer rates affordable.

 

This edition of the Short-Term Energy Outlook is the first to include forecasts for 2019. Benchmark North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $64 per barrel (b) in December, an almost $2/b increase from the November average and the highest monthly average since November 2014.

A decision by an independent energy agency to reject the Trump administration's plan to bolster the coal and nuclear power industries could lead to more closures of coal-fired power plants and the loss of thousands of jobs, a top coal executive said Tuesday. Robert Murray, CEO of Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp., called the action by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission "a bureaucratic cop-out" that will raise the cost of electricity and jeopardize the reliability and security of the nation's electric grid.

The U.S. Forest Service announced Friday it will issue a special issue permit for Northern Pass to bury 11 miles of power line within the White Mountain National Forest. The permit allows Northern Pass “to construct, operate, and maintain an electric power transmission line crossing portions of the White Mountain National Forest,” according to Clare Mendelsohn, forest supervisor at the White Mountain National Forest.

Georgia Power and PulteGroup, Inc. announced a new partnership to develop Atlanta's first Smart Neighborhood at Pulte's Altus at the Quarter development. The new, state-of-the art Pulte Homes community is located in Atlanta's Upper West Side, one of the city's most vibrant and popular areas. Each technology-enhanced home in the Georgia Power Smart Neighborhood will be served by Georgia Power with power supplemented by individual rooftop solar installations and in-home battery energy storage. Homes will also be equipped with the latest energy technologies such as optimal insulation for maximum efficiency, advanced heating and cooling systems and LED lighting, and home automation featuring smart thermostats, smart locks and voice control.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the selection of six projects to receive approximately $30 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development in unconventional oil and natural gas recovery. The projects, selected under the Office of Fossil Energy’s (FE’s) Advanced Technology Solutions for Unconventional Oil and Gas Development funding opportunity, will address critical gaps in our understanding of reservoir behavior and optimal well-completion strategies, next-generation subsurface diagnostic technologies, and advanced offshore technologies.

The record-cold temperatures late last week resulted in a New York state utility setting a record for natural gas use. Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. said customers in the eight eastern New York counties it serves used a record amount of natural gas last Friday. Then customers broke that day-old record on Saturday by using 141,183 thousand cubic feet of gas.

Member Announcements

Austin Energy has begun taking applications for a special program that helps low-income customers purchase locally produced solar power at a discounted rate. The program enables roughly 200 Customer Assistance Program (CAP) participants to subscribe to 100 percent solar energy at a rate slightly below their current power supply rate. They do not have to install solar panels.

  

Arizona is blessed with a number of educators who inspire students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). APS and the Phoenix Suns are teaming up to help these teachers bring innovative hands-on STEM learning to 6,000-plus students through financial grants totaling $50,000.     
The grants were recently awarded to 25 elementary and high school teachers across Arizona – including Phoenix, Flagstaff, Yuma, Prescott Valley, Casa Grande and many others. These grants will be used by teachers to provide a wide range of STEM-related content, including robotics, gardening, water harvesting, computer coding and even designing and building classroom furniture. The intent of the grants is to spark the next generation of STEM professionals.    

CPS Energy recently earned another top award.  The 157 year-old energy company was recently named “Customer Champion” in South Region of the United States, relative to all combined utilities.  As a combined utility, CPS Energy provides both electric and gas energy services. The designation was determined through an extensive residential customer survey program, conducted by Market Strategies International (MSI) and was included in its recent set of Cogent Reports, focused on its 2017 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer EngagementTM work.  The award assessed multiple key performance categories such as Brand Trust, Product Experience and Service Satisfaction.

Lincoln Electric System invites customers to view the 2018 construction projects taking place in and around Lincoln online at LES.com. “Several of the construction projects LES has planned for this year are new, but some are continued from previous years, like our Duct Installation Project,” said Jason Smith, LES system planning senior engineer. “The projects are needed to renew, upgrade or expand our system so customer-owners continue receiving reliable low-cost energy.”

Interest by consumers in electric vehicles is gaining momentum. The push for miles per gallon has been joined by the push for greater mileage per charge. Nebraska Public Power District and its wholesale customers are interested in what could be a potential increase in electric load by more and more electric vehicles being charged. With that comes NPPD’s Energy Wise TM Electric Vehicle Charging Station Incentive.

On December 22, 2017, changes to the tax code were passed into law that will lower federal taxes on corporations. Rocky Mountain Power is committed to passing the benefit of this tax cut on to customers. "We strive to provide our customers reliable service while keeping rates low," said Cindy Crane, President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power. "The benefit of this tax cut should be passed on to our customers — and we will work with our regulators and stakeholders on the best way to do that."

Platte River Power Authority is pleased to announce that, for the third consecutive year, the Roy J. Rohla Memorial Scholarship will be offered through the RMEL Foundation. The $3,000 scholarship aims to support a qualified student pursuing a career in the electric utility industry. Applications can be found at http://www.rmelfoundation.org/scholarships and the deadline for submittal is Feb. 8, 2018.

  

As more drivers invest in electric vehicles (EVs), energy consumption due to vehicle charging is expected to increase as well. With an eye on this upward trend, Salt River Project is working with the Electric Power Research Institute on a study to determine how this will impact the grid in the future.
SRP is one of the first utilities in the country to commission a study of the charging habits of EV drivers. The goal is to determine what impact the increase in energy consumption will have on the grid as more chargers are installed in homes and businesses to meet demand.

The Arizona Corporation Commission has approved a REST surcharge of $0.013 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for 2018. The commission also approved caps that limit the amount customers pay each month for this usage-based fee. For residential customers, the monthly cap is $5.50. For Small General Service commercial customers, the monthly cap is $165. For Large General Service customers, the monthly cap is $1,600. For Large Power Service customers, the monthly cap is $16,650.

Electricity utility Xcel Energy is sending 65 employees to Puerto Rico to help restore power to the thousands of residents there who have been without power since Hurricane Maria hit in September, the Minneapolis-based company announced Wednesday. The call for help came to Xcel last month. In response, the company is sending about 50 line workers from the Upper Midwest, Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico as well as some safety and support staff, according to the company.

  

Steve Johnson was named Western Area Power Administration’s Senior Vice President and Colorado River Storage Project Management Center Manager. “Steve’s extensive knowledge of power system operatio​ns will greatly aid CRSP MC and all of WAPA as we face changes in the way energy is dispatched locally, regionally and nationally,” said Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel.

 

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