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Electric Companies Empower Young Women

To better reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, electric companies are working with many organizations to increase the representation of women in the workforce, with an emphasis on connecting women to energy careers in STEM fields. Electric companies are empowering women to succeed in STEM fields by offering scholarships and by participating in or creating programs that help them excel as future business and technology leaders.

Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, is among the electric companies leading this trend. ComEd supported 30 Chicago-area young women ages 13-18 participating in the 2018 Icebox Derby. Each July, participants in the program work in teams to transform recycled refrigerators into electric-powered race cars. They then square off in a race at Chicago’s Daley Plaza. The winning team receives the Icebox Derby STEM Cup, and all participants receive a $1,500 scholarship. ComEd has supported the Icebox Derby for five years, providing 120 young women learning opportunities and exposure to professionals in STEM.

“This is an opportunity for these teens to gain exposure to STEM fields while having a fun experience racing the cars—and for us at ComEd to work with up-and-coming innovators who may be our future colleagues,” said Terence R. Donnelly, president and COO of ComEd. “This year’s Icebox Derby competitors are a strong and talented group of young women from diverse backgrounds.”

In Connecticut and Massachusetts, Eversource Energy has announced a partnership with Girls With Impact, the nation's only entrepreneurship program just for teen girls. As part of the partnership, Beth M. Foley, vice president of strategic communications for Eversource, is joining the Girls With Impact board of advisors. “Given Eversource’s tremendous commitment to our industry’s future leaders, it’s a natural fit for the company to support this worthwhile organization,” said Foley. “Eversource has a proud record of serving the neighborhoods where we work and live. Together, with Girls With Impact, we are in good company in shaping our future female leaders.”

With innovative programs and partnerships like these, EEI’s member companies are helping to prepare young women to be America’s energy leaders.​

Photo: Terence Donnelly, president and COO of ComEd (left), and Anne Pramaggiore, senior executive vice president and CEO of Exelon Utilities (right), join the winning team of the 2018 Icebox Derby.
Sustainability
EEI Releases ESG Reporting Template

​EEI has released the first and only industry-focused and investor-driven environmental, social, governance, and sustainability-related (ESG/sustainability) reporting template to benefit electricity customers and help provide the financial sector with more uniform and consistent ESG/sustainability data and information.

Twenty EEI member companies, representing about 65 percent of the industry's market capitalization, participated in a pilot last year for the EEI ESG template, and EEI anticipates that all members will participate in the newly-released Version 1 of the template. Electric companies may incorporate the template into an existing report and/or post it on their investor relations web page or existing ESG/sustainability web page. 

The electric power industry is the most capital-intensive industry in the nation, with $113.6 billion of capital expenditures invested by EEI member companies in 2017. Investors and other stakeholders require ESG data that is accurate, specific, and timely. The EEI ESG template helps electric companies to present their ESG and sustainability-related efforts comprehensively and concisely.

​Read more on EEI's website​ and in EEI's press release.​
News From the Hill
LIHEAP Action Month Encourages Lawmakers to Prioritize Energy Assistance

Access to affordable energy is a matter of health and safety for everyone, but millions of Americans struggle to afford basic necessities including electricity. For these citizens, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) delivers critical short-term aid that helps them pay their energy bills and avoid having to choose between energy and other essentials, like food or medicine.

LIHEAP is an essential, widely supported federal program that distributes funding to states, territories, and tribal governments, which in turn use the funds to help low-income households in their jurisdictions with home heating and cooling costs. Although approximately 35 million households across the nation are eligible for LIHEAP assistance, inadequate funding for the program means that only 6.8 million—less than one out of five eligible households—receive basic help to pay their energy bills.

Each year, electric companies contribute millions of dollars to energy assistance programs for vulnerable customers and provide access to home weatherization programs, but the need for LIHEAP remains critical nationwide. Unlike entitlement programs such as Social Security, funding for LIHEAP does not automatically increase with need and must be appropriated annually by Congress. The electric power industry and the National Energy & Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) have designated August as LIHEAP Action Month and are working together to advocate that Congress maintain—and increase—LIHEAP funding.

Read EEI’s LIHEAP factsheet. Learn more about this vital program and its impact on American families in NEUAC’s LIHEAP Action Toolkit, which includes LIHEAP talking points and social media posts.​

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In the News
DC Residents Support Advancing Electric Charging Infrastructure

​A survey conducted by Morning Consult finds that an overwhelming majority of residents of the District of Columbia—approximately four out of five—​support advancing an electric vehicle (EV) charging network in Washington, DC.

Additionally, the survey found that:

  • ​45 percent of DC residents believe vehicles of the future will be powered by electricity;
  • 57 percent believe DC vehicles should be powered by electricity;
  • 61 percent believe EVs are practical for everyday use; and
  • 72 percent believe an EV charging network would have positive impacts on the environment. 

“This survey clearly indicates that Washingtonians have a great interest in EV adoption and strongly support advancing an EV charging network in the District,” said EEI Executive Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs Brian Wolff. “As demand for EVs continues to grow, local electric companies will play a critical role in making necessary investments to deploy, own, and operate charging infrastructure for the benefit of customers. Investing in EV infrastructure is a win for customers, the economy, and our environment.” 

According to an EEI report, EVs are becoming more popular across the country: sales in the first half of 2018 were up 40 percent from the same period last year. Electric companies are partnering with varied stakeholders to support the growth of EVs and to provide the needed charging infrastructure in America’s cities and communities. 


Delivering Innovation
Electric Companies Deliver a Smart Future for Customers and Communities
Across America, communities and electric companies are partnering to create the smart, data-optimized, more efficient, more resilient, and sustainable communities of the future. EEI President Tom Kuhn (right) explores electric company leadership on smart communities at the 2018 Exelon Innovation Expo.​

In Case You Missed It
Consumers Energy’s Patti Poppe on the Bright Road Ahead for EVs

​“We’re excited about the electrification of the automotive industry. We also must be determined to help get it right for our customers,” writes Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy, in Electric Perspectives. “The decisions Consumers Energy and other electric companies make in the coming years will help determine the pace of customer adoption of EVs.

“EVs have the potential to be a tremendous benefit to the energy grid, the environment, and customers. Vehicles that are plugged in when a driver gets home from work can be programmed to start charging later in the evening, when energy grid use is low. Not only does this avoid adding to the peak, this helps fill in the ‘troughs,’ which makes the energy grid run better for all customers.”

Read more​.

Innovative Partnerships
SCE Helps Builders Achieve Home Energy Goals

​Electric companies are committed to helping customers reach their energy efficiency targets, and they offer numerous programs to help customers save energy in their homes and businesses. As California plans to adopt zero net energy standards for new homes in 2020, Southern California Edison (SCE) is working to help educate architects, engineers, and builders on materials and techniques to improve home energy efficiency performance.

The company has built eight full-scale cutaway displays of attic and wall assemblies at its Energy Education Center, each featuring innovative construction methods and materials that help to save energy. The displays are open to visitors at the Energy Education Center and are used for energy modeling classes and other zero-net-energy-focused courses taught there.

“SCE is committed to helping industry and customers meet state energy-efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals by providing tools and programs such as this exhibit,” said Mike Marelli, SCE vice president, business customer division. “We created this display as a teaching tool so the [construction] industry can have a one-stop place to learn about the new state residential construction standards.”

According to a report​ from the Institute for Electric Innovation, electric companies’ energy efficiency programs saved 183 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in 2016 (up from 169 TWh in 2015)—enough electricity to power 20 million U.S. homes for a year.

Community Connection
Electric Companies Remind Customers to Dial 811 Before Digging

​Safety is the electric power industry’s top priority. Each year, electric companies observe 8-1-1 Awareness day on August 11, but they remind customers all year long of the importance of dialing 811 before beginning landscaping or other projects that require digging. When customers dial 811, they are connected to state “one call” centers that dispatch professional locators to mark the locations of underground power lines, wires, and pipes.

For more information on safe digging practices and procedures, visit call811.com​.

What We're Reading
AEP’s Nick Akins on Strengthening Partnerships With State Government Leaders

​“In addition to sharing information among our companies, the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) has a close partnership with the federal government,” writes Nick Akins, chairman, president, and CEO of American Electric Power (AEP), in Electric Perspectives.

“The ESCC now is building on that model to engage more directly with governors and other state and local leaders. We all have a shared responsibility to prepare for and respond to threats facing the critical infrastructure we operate.”

Read more​.

Smarter Energy Infrastructure
Alliant Energy Plans Smart Grid and Renewable Energy Investments

​Alliant Energy has announced plans to invest $5.4 billion through 2021 in cleaner and renewable energy resources and in smarter energy infrastructure to benefit customers. The company expects to invest more than $10 billion through 2026 to implement its strategic plan.

“Alliant Energy is acting today to create a better tomorrow for our customers and communities,” said Patricia Kampling, Alliant Energy chairman and CEO. “We are transforming our energy fleet with an eye on customer cost, carbon reduction, and providing cleaner reliable power to the communities we serve.”

Alliant Energy plans to build six new wind energy sites, adding more than 1,000 megawatts, by the end of 2020, in addition to expanding its solar energy resources. The company also will invest in smart grid technologies that enable greater customer control, enhance reliability and resiliency, promote community growth, and integrate new technologies. As a result, Alliant Energy expects to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and its water supply needs by 75 percent.

Alliant Energy also is participating in EEI’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting initiative, which helps electric companies report qualitative and quantitative information in the focus areas of governance, strategy, portfolio, emissions, and resources.

EEI’s member companies invested $113.6 billion in 2017, a sixth-straight year of record-high capital expenditures, 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. Learn more in EEI’s infographic​.

Photo: Alliant Energy's Whispering Willow Wind Farm, Franklin County, IA.

What We're Watching
PSEG Offers Veterans Pathways to Energy Careers
Company Spotlight
Dominion Energy Launches Grid Transformation Program in Virginia

​Dominion Energy will increase the amount of clean energy it provides to customers, reduce their costs, and improve energy grid resiliency under the company’s new Grid Transformation Program. The company is committing to add 3,000 megawatts (MW) of new solar and wind energy to the energy grid by the beginning of 2022, beginning with 240 MW of solar energy in Virginia. Dominion also has proposed the state's first offshore wind energy facility, two 6-MW wind turbines and related energy grid infrastructure to be built approximately 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach in partnership with the Danish-based company Ørsted. 

“Today’s announcement further affirms our commitment to a new era of clean, renewable energy for the Commonwealth,” said Thomas F. Farrell, II, chairman, president, and CEO of Dominion Energy. “We are truly excited to bring offshore wind to Virginians for the first time.”

Dominion’s energy grid transformation plan also includes: 

  • $200 million in credits to customers and $125 million in annual rate cuts thanks to federal tax reform;
  • $450 million to install 2.1 million smart meters, together with a new customer information platform, that will give customers more information and tools to better manage their energy use and bills;
  • $870 million in energy efficiency programs over the next decade to save energy and money for customers; and
  • at least $13 million in shareholder funds each year through 2028 for bill assistance and weatherization services for seniors, veterans, low-income customers, and people with disabilities.

​Dominion also will invest in automated control sensors, hardened substations, and other new intelligent devices that, together with smart meters and other smarter energy infrastructure, will help protect the energy grid against natural disasters and physical and cyber attacks.

Dominion's Grid Transformation Program exemplifies how electric companies are working to deliver the safe, reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy their customers need.
EEI Analysis
Electric Companies Exhibit Strong Financial Performance

​According to EEI's 2017 Financial Review, electric companies are building on a strong financial foundation to deliver the smarter energy infrastructure that powers America.

Among the report's key findings:

  • America’s electric companies invested $113.6 billion in 2017 to build smarter energy infrastructure and to transition to even cleaner energy sources—the sixth consecutive year of record-high capital expenditures for the industry.
  • The industry added to its long-term trend of widespread dividend increases during 2017, while the EEI Index returned 11.7 percent, posting a second consecutive year of double-digit gains after 2016’s 17.4-percent return. 
  • All but one of the EEI Index companies paid a dividend in 2017, and strong dividend yields continue to support electric company stocks. The industry’s dividend yield at the end of 2017 was 3.4 percent, and 38 electric companies (or 88 percent of the industry) increased their dividend last year, the second largest percentage on record.
Find more financial facts and analysis in EEI's 2017 Financial Review. In addition, EEI's Statistical Yearbook of the Electric Power Industry​ provides a wealth of data and information data for 2016 and 2017, as well as historical data on the electric power industry, including generating capacity, generation, energy sales, customers, revenues, and finance.

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