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Highlighting the Industry’s Transformation at EEI’s Annual Convention

Through their investments in smarter energy infrastructure and new technologies, America’s electric companies are driving efficiency, improving sustainability, spurring economic development, and enhancing the quality of life for citizens in cities and communities across the country.

The 2018 EEI Annual Convention, held June 4-7 in San Diego, focused on how EEI’s member companies are delivering this transformation to benefit customers. Jeff Martin, CEO of Sempra Energy, parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), opened the meeting and welcomed attendees to his company’s hometown: “At Sempra, we share EEI's commitment to service. We take pride in the opportunity to serve our customers every day.” He introduced San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who hailed the industry’s commitment to innovation and pointed to the city’s partnership with SDG&E to create a smart community with innovative technologies like smart street lights and digital sensors.

Throughout the Convention, insightful speakers and compelling programs focused on how electric companies are delivering innovations that unlock value; integrating diversity and inclusion into every part of their businesses; and creating the energy future customers want. See photos and highlights from the Convention. Read the stories below for more about EEI’s new leadership, the 2018 Edison Award winners, electric companies' strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, EEI’s salute to mutual assistance workers, and more.

Photo: EEI President Tom Kuhn welcomes attendees to the 2018 EEI Annual Convention.

In the News
EEI Elects New Leadership

​During the 2018 EEI Annual Convention, EEI’s Board of Directors elected Duke Energy Chairman, President, and CEO Lynn Good to serve as EEI Chairman for the 2018-2019 cycle. The Board also elected two Vice Chairmen: Exelon Corporation President and CEO Chris Crane and Xcel Energy Chairman, President, and CEO Ben Fowke.

“Lynn has been an invaluable member of the EEI leadership team while serving as vice chairman, and we look forward to her continued leadership as we work to deliver on our commitment to meeting our customers’ needs by building and using smarter energy infrastructure, by providing even cleaner energy, and by creating the energy solutions customers want and expect,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. 

Kuhn praised the vice chairs who will support Good as part of the EEI leadership team. “Chris is a tremendous leader for our industry, and we are fortunate to have him continue serving as vice chairman,” said Kuhn. “We are also excited for Ben to join EEI’s leadership team, and we look forward to drawing upon his wealth of industry experience.”

Kuhn also praised outgoing EEI Chairman Pat Vincent-Collawn, chairman, president, and CEO, PNM Resources. "During her chairmanship, Pat has worked tirelessly to advance EEI's policy goals, while also bringing our industry's commitment to diversity and inclusion into the spotlight," said Kuhn. "Pat also is a thought leader on how electric companies can best work with customers and policymakers to develop the smart communities of the future, and, thanks to Pat's efforts, more electric companies are now engaging with their communities about ‘smart initiatives.’”

“Today's environment provides an incredible opportunity for our industry to innovate,” said Good. “As EEI chairman, I look forward to collaborating with leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders to meet the changing needs of our customers and deliver the experience they expect from their energy provider.” 

Read EEI’s press release for more about EEI’s new leadership team.

Photo (L to R): EEI Vice Chairman Chris Crane, EEI Chairman Lynn Good, EEI Vice Chairman Ben Fowke, EEI President Tom Kuhn. 
News From the Hill
EEI Supports Critical Infrastructure Permitting Provision

​The electric power industry invests more than $100 billion each year to build smarter energy infrastructure and to transition to even cleaner generation sources. These investments benefit customers by enhancing electric reliability, reinforcing resiliency, and creating the innovative energy solutions they want. Obtaining permits from federal and state agencies under federal law remains one of the most significant obstacles to maintaining existing infrastructure and to siting and building the new infrastructure electric companies need to deliver safe, reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy to customers. 

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on June 6, includes a key provision that makes permanent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ current temporary authority to use funding provided by electric and natural gas companies and railroads to cover the cost of independent third-party project managers within the Corps to review and process permit applications submitted by these companies. Making this authority permanent would provide greater regulatory certainty for companies investing in critical infrastructure and would ensure that the Corps has the necessary resources to advance specialized permits.

Industry in Action
Edison Award Winners Exemplify Innovation

​At the EEI Annual Convention, EEI Chairman Lynn Good introduced the winners of the 2018 Edison Award, which recognizes distinguished leadership, innovation, and contributions to the advancement of the electric power industry. “All the finalists had groundbreaking projects across the industry, and the tremendous spectrum of innovation accomplishments made it a difficult task for the judges to decide,” said Good. The Edison Award is the electric power industry's most prestigious honor and has been awarded since 1922.

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) received the Edison Award for its investments to enhance grid resiliency and to reduce climate-related and weather-related vulnerabilities, like wildfires, to ensure the reliable operation of the region's energy grid for generations to come. SDG&E has developed, and continues to improve u​pon, a comprehensive fire risk mitigation program designed to prevent the ignition of wildfires, improve grid resiliency, and enhance public safety. This includes significant strategic investments to fire-harden the energy grid, increase situational awareness, update operating protocols, and improve its region’s ability to respond to wildfires.

State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) received the International Edison Award for its robust, integrated, and flexible charging network that is essential for electric vehicle (EV) growth and deployment in China. SGCC developed the Smart Internet of Vehicles EV Charging Network, which allows the company to expand its EV capacity. In the process, SGCC overcame significant barriers to success, including a lack of standards for manufacturers, to build the largest EV charging network in the world.

See photos of the Edison Award winners and read about all the 2018 Edison Award finalists.​

​​Photo: Officials from SDG&E, recipient of the 2018 Edison Award, and SGCC, recipient of the 2018 International Edison Award, with EEI President Tom Kuhn.​
Driving Diversity
Creating a Multiplier Effect With Diversity and Inclusion

Energy companies are committed to integrating diversity and inclusion (D&I) into every part of their businesses. This commitment was on display at the EEI Annual Convention, where Dr. Tony Byers, former head of D&I for Starbucks, delivered a keynote address that offered a compelling vision for how businesses can create a multiplier effect on performance by embracing inclusion. He joined outgoing EEI Chairman Pat Vincent-Collawn, chairman, president, and CEO, PNM Resources, for a breakout session exploring how management can exercise its responsibility for setting the tone for D&I in the workplace and how to encourage positive behaviors that reinforce a culture of inclusion.

EEI’s Board of Directors also endorsed a new EEI D&I Commitment at the Convention, building on D&I programs and work already underway at electric companies across the country. By supporting the commitment, EEI member companies have agreed to develop a 3-year D&I plan, which incorporates initiatives and metrics to improve overall D&I results, and have pledged to take specific actions to advance this important initiative or to confirm that they already have taken these actions.

“Having a diverse and inclusive workforce that mirrors the communities we serve benefits our customers, our employees, and our businesses,” said Vincent-Collawn. “As an industry, we have made great progress, and I believe we’re ready to raise the bar even higher. Adoption of this commitment is a positive step forward in enhancing and advancing D&I in our companies and throughout our industry.”

To help increase awareness of the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce and to reinforce best practices within the industry and others, EEI will be creating a D&I online resource center of best practices, projects, and successful strategies for member companies to continue their outreach and education efforts. Additionally, EEI will work with the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) to develop tools and resources for member companies that feature strategies focused on retention programs, as well as pipeline projects in K-12, post-secondary education partnerships, and accelerated learning programs (boot camps) to facilitate a diverse talent pipeline. EEI also will facilitate information sharing among member companies and industry partners through CEWD.

Learn more in EEI’s press release.​

​​Photo: Outgoing EEI Chairman Pat Vincent-Collawn introduces Dr. Tony Byers, former head of D&I for Starbucks.​
Energy Matters
Key Takeaways from EEI’s Convention

During the 2018 EEI Annual Convention, 12 breakout sessions explored a myriad of emerging topics for electric companies leading the transformation of energy. Click here​ to read more and see photos from each session.

Photo (L to R): Adam Umanoff, general counsel, Edison International; Margaret Hopkins, senior vice president and chief information officer, Puget Sound Energy; Richard Mroz, former president, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities; and Benjamin Waldrep, senior vice president and chief security officer, Duke Energy, participate in a panel discussion on cybersecurity at the distribution level.

Saluting Service
EEI Honors Puerto Rico Power Restoration Workers

One of the most memorable moments of the EEI Annual Convention was EEI’s tribute to the men and women involved in the industry’s effort to restore power to the people of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. Lineworkers and support personnel from EEI member companies across the country spent weeks away from their homes and families to work long days, nights, and holidays to support their fellow citizens. Nearly 200 personnel who worked in Puerto Rico participated in the Convention’s Opening General Session and received a standing ovation from attendees following a video that highlighted the challenges they faced and the courage, ingenuity, and determination with which they overcame those obstacles.

EEI also hosted a special event to honor these men and women at the San Diego Padres home game against the Atlanta Braves. EEI member company lineworkers and support personnel lined Petco Park's baselines, and San Diego Gas & Electric President Scott Drury rang the Padres’ ceremonial Mission Bell. EEI consultant and Puerto Rico Power Restoration Coordinator Carlos D. Torres threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the Padres’ 11-4 victory.​

What We’re Watching
One Team, One Mission

​Nearly 60 investor-owned electric companies and public power utilities committed crews, equipment, and/or materials to the Puerto Rico power restoration mission. Overall, approximately 3,000 industry lineworkers and support personnel were involved in the restoration effort on the island. See their work to restore power to their fellow citizens in Puerto Rico in this video.​

In Case You Missed It
SDG&E's Scott Drury on a Clean Energy Future

​“SDG&E was the first investor-owned electric company in California to source 33 percent of its energy from renewable resources—well ahead of the 2020 mandate,” writes Scott Drury, president of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), in the current issue of Electric Perspectives

“And, our company is on track to deliver 50 percent by 2030, as required by law. Renewable generation connected to SDG&E’s system reaches as high as 75 percent of our energy demand in the early afternoon, and it frequently exceeds 50 percent of energy demand during the spring when demand is lighter. These levels of renewable generation would have been impossible to accommodate were it not for the construction of a 117-mile transmission line that carries renewable energy from inland valleys to San Diego, benefiting our customers and supporting a cleaner, more reliable energy grid.”

Read more​.

Company Spotlight
Ameren Accelerates Energy Grid Investments

A new law in Missouri will enable Ameren to accelerate investing an additional $1 billion in the state’s energy grid over the next five years, all while capping costs for customers. The recently enacted Missouri Senate Bill 564, a bipartisan law that was widely supported by customers, business groups, and organized labor, also will return more than $160 million in federal tax savings to Ameren customers each year, supporting economic growth, creating jobs, and improving grid reliability and resiliency. 

“For years, our customers have expressed a desire for more stable and predictable energy bills, as well as a modernized energy grid that is smarter and more resilient,” said Michael Moehn, president, Ameren Missouri. “The new law delivers on this important task.”

Ameren plans to submit the full details of its $1-billion smart grid investment plan to state regulators by early next year.

What We’re Reading
PPL’s Bill Spence on Resilient Communications

​In the current issue of Electric Perspectives, Bill Spence, chairman, president, and CEO of PPL Corporation, writes: “Resilient communications are critical for how we operate the energy grid and how we serve our customers. By working together across the industry and with our government partners, we are developing and deploying capabilities that can be tested and refined during future preparedness exercises. More important, we’ll be able to use those capabilities during real-world incidents when our customers are counting on us.”

Read more​.

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