RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Richard Putnicki, Executive Director, RMEL

2019 RMEL Education Programs are Off and Running            

RMEL’s 2019 educational calendar began with a solid start thanks to Steve Sax and his Introduction to the Electric Utility Workshop. This was Steve’s 14th year and 16th workshop with RMEL. His program continues to be a popular choice with our membership as he has guided more than 1,000 RMEL members through the basics of this fascinating electric energy industry. Some of you may want to consider bringing this program to your organization. We have had a few member utilities do so with positive results. It is a great opportunity to promote a high-level understanding of the utility model. It is extremely helpful for showing employees how their respective functions contribute to the organization’s big picture.

Thank you for knockin’ one out of the park for us, Steve. When our attendees are happy, I’m happy. Our Education Section Committees, Board of Directors, and staff are consistently working to keep attendee and member satisfaction high. We do this through a variety of data points. Paper and online event evaluations, face-to-face conversations, member roundtables and the Call for Presentations form are all utilized during our monthly section committee meetings to keep a pulse on member and industry training needs. Please always feel free to email me or use the Call for Presentations form to let us know of any specific training needs. I always appreciate your feedback!

RMEL Conferences and Symposiums Heading to Various Member Locations in February, March & April

Your feedback and ideas are sent to RMEL Section Committees for Safety, Generation, Transmission, Distribution and Vital Issues. These folks are hard at work on a stellar lineup of upcoming events traveling to various RMEL regions, including Kansas City, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Denver. The RMEL Steam Generation Cycling Symposium, February 20-21 in Overland Park, KS, will provide an interactive forum for presentations and discussion surrounding the operational environment and the resulting impacts of increased cyclic operation of coal generation facilities. This two-day symposium will cover information pertaining to energy market conditions, and the associated impacts on plant condition and maintenance, operation, and solutions to these challenges. A free Safety Roundtable will be hosted at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association on February 22. The Transmission Planning and Operations Conference, covering new technology, asset management and data analytics, will take place March 6-7 in Denver. Then we’ll look at engineering, operations and design best practices during the Distribution Conference March 26-27,hosted by Rocky Mountain Power in Salt Lake City, Utah. To round out RMEL’s “March Madness,” the Safety and Training Conference will be held March 28-29, 2019 hosted by Evergy, in Kansas City, MO. Stay tuned for more information on the  RMEL Security Symposium scheduled for Phoenix, AZ, April 16-17.

RMEL Members are Building another Strong Spring Conference Program – Plan to Be There May 20-22 in Phoenix, AZ

Mark your calendars for RMEL’s 2019 Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference, May 20-22 (new Monday through Wednesday dates), in Phoenix, AZ. RMEL members have been working since October of last year planning 25+ relevant and timely presentations for you based on RMEL members' most urgent needs...many that were summarized in the 2018 Vital Issues Forum Recap Article. In September 2018, executive participants at RMEL's Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention discussed the future of electric energy. RMEL members at the 2019 Spring Conference Planning Session then tied those Vital Issues discussion notes with further discussion in engineering, operations and management. From there, they began pulling together topics and speakers to help address challenges in generation, transmission, distribution, safety and management. This program ties together trends, technology, operations, engineering, leadership and culture to build toward the electric energy future. More details coming soon!

Industry Promotion and Growth Through Scholarships 

As the electric energy industry continues to evolve with unprecedented new challenges and opportunities, we continue to work closely with RMEL’s sister organization, the RMEL Foundation, to grow the industry through the RMEL Foundation Scholarship Program. Please help us spread the word! The 2019 RMEL Foundation scholarship deadline is February 27, 2019. Applicants must complete the online scholarship application. Scholarship eligibility, general information and the application are available here. Over the past 18 years, 320 scholarships have been awarded totaling more than $743,500.

Recognition of Today’s Emerging Leaders

New talent is so important to the electric energy industry. RMEL’s Emerging Leader Awards Program continues to shine a light on the accomplishments of individuals with between 5-10 years of experience in the industry who are already making an impact. In addition to the award, the recipients become part of professional network with the other award winners. This select group participates in exclusive leadership sessions, which includes a special presentation from our Spring Conference Keynoter, along with other development opportunities throughout the year. Who would you like to nominate for RMEL’s Emerging Leader Award? The deadline to submit 2019 nominations is February 28, 2019. Make sure your organization and your best people are part of this group. Nominate an Emerging Leader Award Recipient before February 28th.

RMEL Welcomes it’s Newest Board of Director

Throughout my career in this great industry, I have had the pleasure of seeing emerging leaders turn into the best executives, executives like those individuals who sit on the RMEL Board of Directors. They take an active role in making the power industry a solid and reliable foundation of our country, supporting our entire way of life…not only at their individual organizations but also through the leadership of associations like RMEL. For various reasons, these Directors sometimes must pass the torch onto new Board members. Khalil Shalabi recently moved on from Austin Energy to a new opportunity at Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), and we wish him all the best. I appreciate the new insights Khalil provided the Board from his strategy and technology perspective. I am excited to welcome our new Austin Energy Board Member, Charles Dickerson, COO, Austin Energy. I can tell from my conversations with Charlies that his 29 years of experience in the utility industry in areas, including power production, transmission, distribution, customer care, human resources, strategic planning, and energy market and risk operations, will be of great value to our membership. He most recently served as President of USA Business Services with National Grid, USA, one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. Welcome, Charles!

I am excited as we begin our venture into one of RMEL’s busiest times of the year, and I hope we get to see you as we make our way around RMEL’s various member regions over the next few months.

I wish everyone a fun and safe Super bowl weekend! See you soon!

Education and Upcoming Events

Don't Miss These Upcoming RMEL Events
Steam Generation Cycling Symposium — February 20-21, 2019 (Overland Park, KS)
Safety Roundtable — February 22, 2019 (Westminster, CO)
Transmission Conference — March 6-7, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
Distribution Conference — March 26-27, 2019 (Salt Lake City, UT)
Safety  Conference — March 27-28, 2019 (Kansas City, MO)
Security Symposium — April 17-18, 2019 (Phoenix, AZ)
Spring Management, Engineering & Operations Conference — May 20-22, 2019 *NEW MONDAY-WEDNESDAY DATES* (Phoenix, AZ)
Transmission Symposium — June 12, 2019
Power Supply Planning for Modern Energy Solutions — June 19-20, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament — June 26, 2019 (Littleton, CO)
Project Management Workshop — July 10-11, 2019 (Golden, CO)
Plant Management, Engineering and Operations Conference — August 7-8, 2019
Leadership Workshop — August 14-15, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
Safety Roundtable — August 23, 2019 (Golden, CO)
Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention — September 16-18, 2019 *NEW MONDAY-WEDNESDAY DATES* (Kansas City, MO)
2020 Spring Conference Planning Session — October 3, 2019
Distribution Engineers Workshop — October 9-10, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
Renewable Planning & Operations Conference — October 16-17, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
Safety Roundtable — November 1, 2019 (Fort Collins, CO)

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
The electric power industry is increasingly having to evaluate the growing penetration of distributed energy resources.
The board of Southwest Power Pool (SPP) took several actions this week, including approving new rate schedules and endorsing transmission projects estimated to cost nearly $1.8 billion, which the grid operator says will be constructed over the next five years.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur will not seek a third term at the agency and will depart later in 2019, she announced on Twitter Thursday.
Pacific Gas & Electric filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Tuesday in the wake of alleged liabilities for a variety of deadly and hugely expensive wildfires in northern California over the past two years.
NEC Energy Solutions announced today the completion of an energy storage system for Consumers Energy. 
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $42 million in project selections to support early-stage research and development (R&D) of innovative residential and commercial building technologies for energy efficiency.
In EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2019 (AEO2019) Reference case, natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) production grows by 32% between 2018 and 2050 to 5.8 million barrels per day (b/d). 
Energy Northwest’s nuclear-powered Columbia Generating Station had its most productive year ever in 2018, generating more than 9.7 million MWh of electricity, the company reported this week.
Most transmission projects of any significance face risks to schedules and budgets at every step—from feasibility, siting, permitting and design to construction and operation.
Member Announcements
CPS Energy kicked off the year with its Customer Program Fairs that are designed to help customers become more energy efficient and save money. 
El Paso Electric (EPE) has identified generation resource additions needed by the 2022-2023 summer peak season. 
When Great Plains Energy (the parent company of KCP&L) and Westar Energy merged in June 2018 to form Evergy, the new company promised multiple benefits to customers. 
Lincoln Electric System’s Sustainable Energy Program returns this year with $1.5 million in incentive funds. 
It has been 20 months since the 128-kilowatt solar array, located at Nebraska Public Power District’s office in Scottsbluff, went into operation sending renewable energy created on to the electric grid.
NextEra Energy, Inc. announced that Armando Pimentel, president and Chief Executive Officer, NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the company's competitive power generation subsidiary, will be retiring on March 1, 2019. John Ketchum, currently Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of NextEra Energy, will replace Pimentel as President and CEO at NextEra Energy Resources.
Safety of the public and employees is paramount to Omaha Public Power District, and 2018 proved to be the safest year on record for the utility in terms of employee injuries.
Managing energy bills during the frigid winter months is often top of mind for customers. Rocky Mountain Power is now making it easier to stay on top of your energy usage year round.
As more drivers invest in electric vehicles (EVs), companies are looking for ways to provide perks to employees who are driving low- and zero-emission modes of transportation.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the nation’s leading generation and transmission cooperative for solar energy, will more than double its emissions-free renewable energy from the sun through a new project announced today with Boulder, Colorado-based juwi Inc.
Tucson Electric Power has partnered with Arizona-based businesses to install more than 20,000 LED bulbs to local schools this school year.
Spectrum management—regulating the use of radio frequencies to promote efficient allocation—is critical to WAPA’s core mission.
When Xcel Energy’s Soncy Substation was built in 1962 at the intersection of what is now West Interstate 40 and Coulter Street, there was no Westgate Mall, no car dealerships or restaurants, not even an Interstate 40 to crowd the view.
White Paper
Researchers at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST) have developed nano-catalysts that can reduce the overall cost of clean energy fuel cells, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Catalysis B: Environmental.