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RMEL Report

RMEL Report
From the Desk of Richard Putnicki, Executive Director, RMEL

From March Madness to Opening Day – Welcome to Spring

Welcome to Spring! As you are aware, the season did not start out well for everyone. Unfortunately for those in our Midwest, Spring arrived with fury. Please continue your support for the folks in the Midwest that have been devastated by the floods. The silver lining drawn from events like this, as we have witnessed from recent years, is how refreshing it is to see the strength of the American public rally in times of need. Please continue that support. Their recovery will be a slow and arduous process. Please contact our member utilities in the region to find out more information about how you can help. 

Along with Spring comes the opening day of the baseball season. We at RMEL enjoyed our own doubleheader of sorts with two road trips in March. RMEL went "split squad” as we held the Distribution Conference in Salt Lake City and the Safety & Training Conference in Kansas City during the same week. Both events were home runs! The Distribution Conference featured a high quality program of content gathered by the Distribution Committee. Also, the outreach to those member and non-member utilities in the region by our host utility, PacifiCorp, resulted new Utah utility members. And thank you to our Safety Committee for relevant content and a quality program. Special thanks also goes out to Evergy for hosting the conference at their facility in Kansas City. Once again, our audience had representatives from many non-member and new member companies alike! RMEL will be looking at continuing this model at other RMEL member facilities. We are finding education and information sharing is paramount, and RMEL is an excellent resource to provide that for our industry. I would be remiss if I did not mention how we got the month off to a great start with a our Transmission Planning and Operations Conference in South Denver. That event also received high marks for the relevant content and speakers that the Transmission Committee brought together for the Conference. 

In April, we will be traveling to Arizona for RMEL’s most comprehensive security event yet April 17-18   

From Agency to Utility: Protecting the U.S. Grid Together 
2019 RMEL Security Symposium Features Government Agency and Utility Speakers – April 17-18

There is less than one week until the 2019 Security Symposium, and you won’t want to miss this! Register and check out the brochure and online conference grid to get full details. Day 1 will feature government agency officials providing an overview of the relationships between critical infrastructure sector specific agencies, the intelligence community, and the Electric Subsector Coordinating Council. Once this foundation is set, they will provide an unclassified threat briefing. There will also be presentations from other agencies covering the various critical infrastructure issues the agencies are dealing with, along with opportunities for collaboration, capped off with physical and cyber security roundtable discussions to dig deeper into the shared content. On Day 2, electric utilities will share their utility specific experiences, issues and best practices through a series of short presentations.   

Featured Government Agency Speakers:

  • Dr. Anthony Montoya, Senior Subject Matter Expert – Grid Operations, Integrity Applications Inc. Contractor for US Department of Energy
  • Christine Figueroa, Protective Security Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Michael Lettman, Cyber Security Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Joseph Hooper, Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigations
  • Brian Keith, Protective Security Advisor (PSA) Los Angeles District, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

RMEL Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference
Making It Happen – Putting the Pieces Together
RMEL’s Spring Conference is Headed to Phoenix, Arizona, May 20-22 (New Monday-Wednesday Dates)

The 2019 Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference theme is Making it Happen – Putting the Pieces Together. This is the event where we look at the engineering and operations from all facets of the industry and get into the details of how everything pieces together with an eye on the big picture.

Whether its large-scale changes or very small tweaks, RMEL members are sharing best practices and experiences that are making an impact on our industry’s future.

The Spring Conference program of 25 sessions is designed from the very start by RMEL members collectively discussing the biggest engineering and operations questions and struggles they are facing at all levels of their utility. The best ideas make the cut, and from there members find the people who have the answers. After the conference, attendees will have a playbook of new ideas to run with. We’re kicking off the Spring Conference with someone who knows about taking the ball and running with it…

Retired NFL Running Back Merril Hoge to Keynote Spring Conference

Find. A. Way. Three simple words, yet when composed in a sentence, Merril Hoge has proven that these can be the most powerful words in the English language. "Find. A. Way.” helped Merril beat cancer, overcome family tragedies, triumph childhood traumas and conquer his personal demons.

A retired NFL running back and former ESPN analyst, Merril inspires audiences with his story of prevailing over life''s hurdles through strength and determination while achieving success through hard work and perseverance. He began his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, eventually joining the Chicago Bears before retiring due to post-concussion syndrome. During his tenure as an ESPN analyst and host, he was well-known for his sharp insights and knowledge of the game.

In 2003, Merril was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin''s lymphoma, which he fought – and beat – using the same tenacity he demonstrated on the field. He shares his moving story in his memoir Find a Way: Three Words That Changed My Life.

Merril’s empowering message provides people with strategies to "find a way” as they pursue their own goals.

I hope to see you in Phoenix May 20-22!

Education and Upcoming Events

Don't Miss These Upcoming RMEL Events
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.

RMEL Champions is a prestigious group of RMEL supporters with access to useful and beneficial promotional opportunities. Become a 2019 RMEL Champion, and see a list of 2018 RMEL Champions.

Burns & McDonnell
Industry Information
Despite the fact that electricity is such a critical commodity for every aspect of our lives, its importance is often overlooked. From school children watching educational videos, to the working adult using computers to national leaders taking selfies with their electorate, the electricity that enables it all is given little thought.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) on Monday announced sweeping leadership changes, selecting Bill Johnson, who led the Tennessee Valley Authority for six years, to take over as president and CEO and lead the embattled California utility through a bankruptcy-driven restructuring and wildfire-related issues.
The reality of America's skilled jobs gap is getting “pixelated” these days, Mike Rowe said, and it’s obscuring the real workforce needs in our nation.

The National Hydropower Association (NHA) and Chelan County Public Utility District have released a report looking at public policy areas that can unleash the capabilities of hydropower for the next 30 years. Entitled “Reinvigorating Hydropower: A cornerstone of our clean, affordable, reliable electric future,” the report describes the value hydropower provides to the grid and the recommended governmental and industry policies necessary to fully realize hydropower’s value.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $20 million in federal funding for cooperative agreements that will help accelerate the deployment of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). The selected projects will support the Office of Fossil Energy’s (FE) Carbon Storage Program.
The California Independent System Operator (ISO) announced that Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), part of the Balancing Authority of Northern California (BANC), successfully began full participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM).
Electricity routinely flows among the Lower 48 states and, to a lesser extent, between the United States and Canada and Mexico. From 2013 to 2017, Pennsylvania was the largest net exporter of electricity, sending an annual average of 59 million megawatthours (MWh) outside the state. California was the largest net importer, receiving an average of 77 million MWh annually.
Just weeks after winning a key regulatory approval, one the nation's largest wind energy projects is facing a new obstacle from Missouri legislation that could prevent the proposed high-voltage power line from being strung across the property of uncooperative landowners.

The Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, California, houses 4,000 inmates and has an electric load of about 3 MW, partly served via a smart microgrid, installed as a field demonstration of an autonomous and decentralized control concept.
Ameren Corporation and Opus One Solutions recently announced their decision to work together to test a transactive energy marketplace (TEM) and evaluate the use of Blockchain ledger systems. The marketplace will build on the technologically advanced, utility-scale microgrid in Illinois and Opus One’s GridOS platform. 
Member Announcements
After announcing nearly a gigawatt of new clean-energy projects in February, APS is now seeking proposals to build two of them in different parts of the state.
As of Mar. 28, the Member Investment Program held $291.9 million, the highest amount in the history of the program. The last time a record was set was in September 2018, when the program held $291.6 million.
CPS Energy’s President & CEO Paula-Gold Williams was honored by the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE), a national organization focused on women, energy and the environment, at their 38th Annual Woman of the Year Reception and Dinner Gala in Washington, D.C., for her leadership in mentoring women in the energy and/or environmental fields.
On March 28, 2019, El Paso Electric Company (EPE) filed with the City of El Paso, other municipalities incorporated in its Texas service territory and the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) to implement a Distribution Cost Recovery Factor (DCRF) surcharge for its Texas customers.
KCP&L hosted a public informational meeting to review its five-year capital plan on March 27. KCP&L representatives provided a brief presentation on how the utility is expanding efforts to modernize the electrical grid. Communities and customers will benefit from initiatives to improve reliability, utilize smart technology, upgrade aging infrastructure and provide greater and easier access to renewable generation sources.
Join Lincoln Electric System, other electric utilities and residents across Nebraska in recognizing April 8, 2019, as National Lineworker Appreciation Day.
Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has contracted with Smith Mountain Investments to inspect wood poles on its distribution, sub transmission and transmission facilities during the calendar year 2019.  Crews from the contractors are expected to begin inspections in April and completing the work in June.
The city of Tempe, Ariz. will be safer and greener thanks to a partnership between the city and Salt River Project. As part of the Right Tree Right Place program, SRP contractors removed 171 trees that are encroaching on power lines in the city and replacing them with more than 450 trees more suitable for the area. Tempe is turning the removed trees into nutrient-rich compost that residents can pick up for free.
Liberty Utilities and Mid Central Contractors invite you to celebrate the return of the Osprey to Stockton Lake. View the birds through the live video stream as they prepare for the nesting season. The live stream can be accessed from https://mclivetech.com/ospreycam/.
Tucson Electric Power (TEP) is seeking updated rates beginning in May 2020 to support investments in a more reliable and sustainable electric system. TEP’s current rates do not reflect approximately $1.2 billion the company has invested since June 2015 to maintain and improve its service while transitioning to a cleaner, more flexible and resilient energy portfolio.
Do what is right. Do what is safe. This core value has particular resonance with one of the riskier tasks that WAPA’s linemen undertake: live-line maintenance. Live-line maintenance refers to work on energized lines, which is required when a line is unable to be de-energized for upkeep or repair.
Xcel Energy customers in Wisconsin now have a new option to power their homes and businesses with clean wind and solar energy. The Renewable*Connect® Wisconsin program has launched and will allow customers to subscribe to the full renewable energy benefits of low-cost wind and solar energy, giving them the flexibility to choose how much and for how long.
White Paper
Although we're still a long way from commercial airplanes powered by a combination of fossil fuel and batteries, a recent feasibility study explored fuel/battery configurations and the energy lifecycle to learn the trade-offs needed to yield the greatest reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.