RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Richard Putnicki, Executive Director, RMEL

We just wrapped RMEL’s 115th Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention, and thanks to the phenomenal speakers, attendees, RMEL Champions and the RMEL Foundation, it was a huge success. I am always amazed at how this member-driven and industry-driven event helps us all innovate. Keynote Speaker Jim Carroll, Futurist, Trends and Innovation Expert, immediately put us on the fast-track with new perspectives, trends and interactive audience polling. That continued with all of our speakers, especially Day 2 Keynote Speaker Michael Webber, who provided a jam-packed presentation full of insights on how industrialization, urbanization, electrification and motorization are changing how we use energy.  

I also want to thank everyone who helped the RMEL Foundation raise more than $40,000 in the last few days alone through the Auction, Friends of RMEL Donations and and Shootout for Scholarships Putting Contest!

Look for a special 2018 Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention Recap with more details and pictures from the event in October.

Thank you again, everyone!

Important Reminders:

Upcoming 2018 Events

Planning Session: 2019 Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference
October 4, 2018 in Lone Tree, CO

The entire membership is invited to help plan the 2019 RMEL Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference. The planning session is October 4, 2018. By attending the planning session on October 4th, you help direct the education provided at the conference.

Distribution Engineers Workshop
October 10-11, 2018 in Lone Tree, CO

Distribution engineers and designers will have a unique opportunity to hear from a wide range of organizations during the Distribution Engineers Workshop. The course will cover new technology integration, load from "data center to data mining,” software - what are people using, practical applications of AMI data, Professional Practice of Overhead Distribution Line Design, small cell/general attachment issues, transformers, evolution of pad mount switching equipment & DER.

Renewable Planning and Operations Conference
October 17-18, 2018 in Lone Tree, CO

The Renewable Planning and Operations Conference is focused on generation, transmission and distribution renewable issues related to planning, integration, operations and new technologies. Presenters will discuss renewables such as wind, solar and biomass energy. The conference will also cover regulatory and policy issues.

Transmission Asset Management and Maintenance Conference
October 25, 2018 in Lone Tree, CO

As budgets continue to tighten and regulations increase, RMEL members will share asset management, health and maintenance best practices that are working to manage risks, optimize costs and maximize performance. Attendees will work together to find the highest return on new and existing asset investments. Presentations will combine emerging trends and successful case studies, including topics like: risk-based asset management decision-making, large transmission line construction, metrics (performance vs. cost), Asset Health Centers, energized line maintenance best practices, equipment diagnostics programs, power system maintenance program drivers and failure modes and effects.

November Safety Roundtable
November 2, 2018 in Fort Collins, CO

John Olaechea, Compliance Assistance Specialist, OSHA, will cover how employers are selected for inspection and the types of inspections conducted by OSHA. Procedures for accident and complaint investigations as well as emphasis program inspections and how to prepare for them will be discussed in detail. 

2019 Event Planning and Preliminary Topics

This is also the time of year when we solidify plans for next year. The full 2019 calendar will be available at www.RMEL.org soon! I’ve given a preview of offerings for each section below. RMEL Section Committees are focused on providing solution-driven conferences, workshops and roundtables based on member needs. As you prepare and finalize your education budgets for 2019, you can be sure that RMEL’s event costs are on-average much lower than other courses you’ll find in the industry.  

Safety Section Committee

The Safety Section prioritizes workplace safety at production, transmission and distribution, and management facilities in the utility industry.

  • Complimentary Safety Roundtable (February 2019; Westminster, CO)
  • Safety Conference (March 2019; Lone Tree, CO)
  •  Complimentary Safety Roundtable (August 2019; Golden, CO)
  • Complimentary Safety Roundtable (November 2019; Fort Collins, CO)

Generation Section Committee

The Generation Section is focused on energy production and supply in the utility industry, including planning and development. Topics covered include renewable generation.

  • Power Supply Planning and Projects Conference (June 2019; Lone Tree, CO)
    • Generation Vital Issues Roundtable
  • Steam Generation Symposium (February 2019)
  • Plant Management, Engineering and Operations Conference (August 2019)
    • Generation Vital Issues Roundtable
  • Renewable Planning and Operations Conference (October 2019; Lone Tree, CO)

Transmission Section Committee

The Transmission Section topics relate to planning, engineering, operating and maintaining transmission facilities in the utility industry, including substations.

  • Security Conference (January 2019)
  • Transmission Planning and Operations Conference (March 2019; Lone Tree, CO)
    • Transmission Vital Issues Roundtable
  • Transmission Symposium (June 2019)
  • Transmission Project Management Workshop (July 2019; Golden, CO)
  • Renewable Planning and Operations Conference (October 2019; Lone Tree, CO)

Distribution Section Committee

The Distribution Section is dedicated to planning, engineering, operating and maintaining distribution facilities in the utility industry, including distributed generation.

  • Distribution Overhead and Underground Operations and Maintenance Conference (March 2019; Lone Tree, CO)
    • Distribution Vital Issues Roundtable
  • Distribution Engineers Workshop (October 2019; Lone Tree, CO)
  • Renewable Planning and Operations Conference (October 2019; Lone Tree, CO)

Vital Issues Section Committee

The RMEL Management Section is now the RMEL Vital Issues Section and is focused on the management of assets, planning, operations and workforce of the utility industry, including corporatewide critical issues and topics that affect different management levels. Discussion may be technical but in general maintains perspective from a higher management level. This section includes demand-side management, energy efficiency and sustainability. This section also incorporates miscellaneous industry areas and fringe topics not covered in other sections.

  • Introduction to the Electric Utility Workshop (January; Lone Tree, CO)
  • Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference (May 2019; Phoenix, AZ)
  • Leadership Workshop (August 2019; Lone Tree, CO)
  • Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention (September 2019; Kansas City, MO)

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Education and Upcoming Events

Don''t Miss These Upcoming RMEL Events
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 17-18, 2018 (Lone Tree, CO)
Transmission Asset Management and Maintenance ConferenceOctober 25, 2018 (Lone Tree, CO)
Safety Roundtable - November 2018 — November 2, 2018 (Fort Collins, CO)

WEBINAR: How to Address Your Aging URD Cable
Circuit owners across the region are faced with increased electrical faults in their aging, underground XLPE cable. Utilities often ask, “What is the best approach to address the problem?” Learn how to implement a balanced, cost effective, asset management strategy to solve the issue.
RMEL Member Information

RMEL’s trusted network is now accessible on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter. These are forums intended for RMEL members only. Working side by side in a cooperative manner, RMEL members band together for the common goal of bettering the industry and improving service for utility customers. For more than 100 years, these key principles have proven successful, and more importantly, are tried and true methods for building strong business relationships.

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Industry Information

In June, journeymen linemen for Bluestem Electric Cooperative built a new electric service as part of the Rural Development investment.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated in their latest Short-Term Energy Outlook that the United States is now the largest global crude oil producer, likely surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. 

Locating the source of a power outage without service crews physically inspecting electric lines and equipment can be difficult, especially during stormy weather and in darkness. 

We need to start deliberately linking the building blocks of the grid together.


As the UK vision for nuclear energy comes into question, Janet Wood gives an update on recent developments at the Hinkley, Moorside and Horizon projects. 


Consumers who flip on lights and power up the ever-growing number of devices in their living rooms are receiving electricity from a grid that has to generate two Watts of electricity for every one Watt delivered. 

Danish offshore wind farm developer Ørsted is making a big move onshore by acquiring a major U.S. renewable energy company.


The lack of broadband access for 6.3 million electric co-op households results in more than $68 billion in lost economic value, according to new research by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).



EIA forecasts that U.S. natural gas inventories will total 3.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) at the end of October. This level would be 13% lower than the 2017 end-of-October level and 14% below the five-year (2013–17) average for the end of October, while also marking the lowest level for that time of year since 2005.

Naylor Association Solutions
Naylor Association Solutions
Member Announcements

Three new APS programs incentivize customers to adopt advanced technologies in their homes and businesses to help harness an abundance of midday solar energy.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative is voicing its support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to replace the Clean Power Plan.

Black Hills Corp. announced that its South Dakota electric utility subsidiary, Black Hills Energy, will provide $7.7 million in federal tax reform benefits to its customers in South Dakota for calendar year 2018 and an ongoing benefit in 2019 and beyond.

Downtown Wichita development plans got a major boost thanks to a $1.4 million commitment from Evergy, which is KCP&L and Westar Energy’s parent company, to transform Naftzger Park.

Upgrading of electric meters in Bassett and Long Pine by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) are scheduled to take place in early September.

Omaha Public Power District strives for a high level of customer satisfaction, which is measured through nationally syndicated studies. The OPPD board monitors the utility’s efforts through Board Policy: Strategic Directive-5.


Pacific Power, along with federal and state natural resource agencies, will host a public tour of the fish enhancement projects at the North Umpqua Hydroelectric Project.


Salt River Project has issued an All Source Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to 650 megawatts (MW) of capacity to meet future peak-hour demand requirements.

After recent approval by the Missouri Public Service Commission, Liberty Utilities has finalized the acquisition of Ozark International Water & Sewer.


A high-level report by the environmental advocacy group Rocky Mountain Institute on future resource scenarios for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association cannot accurately forecast the association’s future costs, said the not-for-profit power supplier to 43 member systems in four western states.

On a plot of land next to Tucson Electric Power’s H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station, green-waste compost from tree trimmings forms neat dark-brown rows.

Following the results of a year-long trial of a pilot demand rate, the United Power Board of Directors agreed to a phase-in plan of a residential demand rate to replace the current rate structure.


McPherson Board of Public Utilities expanded its commitment Wednesday to purchase Kansas wind energy from Westar Energy. 


“Be curious, learn more, do better. Repeat.” This is the core value that most resonates with me on a personal level, and it has been a fundamental blueprint for me during my 33 years with WAPA.

In one of the most significant advancements of unmanned aircraft under development by a U.S. utility, Xcel Energy is operating drones beyond visual line of sight during ongoing inspections of transmission lines near Denver. 

White Paper

Kansas City Power & Light has partnered with Tendril Orchestrated Energy to pilot its leading smart thermostat demand management solution.