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November 2019

Happening Now
Happening Now
Utility Scam Awareness Week—November 17-23

Electric companies are working with partners in the natural gas and water industries through Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) to educate and protect their customers from the scammers who prey upon them. National Scam Awareness Week—November 17-23—is an advocacy and awareness campaign focused on educating customers and exposing the tactics used by scammers. This year’s theme is ‘It Happened to Me, Don’t Let it Happen to You.’

UUAS is a consortium of more than 140 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas companies and their respective trade associations. Together, UUAS and its members have helped to create awareness of common and new scam tactics and to cease operations of nearly 5,000 toll-free numbers used by scammers against utility customers.

"Scammers are becoming more sophisticated, but we are standing firm and fighting back. Working together, year-round, with communities and law enforcement on collaborative efforts like the UUAS coalition, EEI and its member companies are tireless in our resolve to help educate and protect customers from these malicious scammers," said EEI President Tom Kuhn in an op-ed in Inside Sources​

It is not uncommon for scammers to call, text, or email utility customers asking for immediate payment to avoid service disconnection. Utilities will never send a single notification to a customer within one hour of a service interruption, and they never will ask their customers to make payments with a pre-paid debit card, gift card, or any form of cryptocurrency.

"Utilities United Against Scams wants to stress that anyone, from small business owner to senior citizen, can fall victim to a utility impostor scam. In fact, roughly 60 percent of scams reported to our members are from business customers,” said UUAS Executive Director Monica Martinez, a former regulator at the Michigan Public Service Commission. "Education is the best way to stop these fraudulent scams."

Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud or who feel threatened during contact with a scammer should contact their local utility company or law enforcement authorities. The Federal Trade Commission’s website​ also provides additional information about protecting personal information and other information regarding impostor scams.

Learn tips to help keep your family safe from scammers in UUAS's factsheet and on its website. Find more information from EEI and our member companies on social media: #StopScams​.

In the News
In the News
GridEx V Sees 6,500+ Participants Test Grid Security

​On November 13-14, more than 6,500 participants, representing more than 425 organizations from across the electric power industry and federal and state governments, participated in GridEx V, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC’s) energy grid security and incident response exercise. The two-day exercise was designed to test cyber and physical security incident response protocols and coordination among industry and government stakeholders from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 

“NERC’s GridEx series offers an invaluable opportunity for industry and government officials at all levels to evaluate crisis communications and security and response plans in order to identify new risks and develop actionable mitigation strategies,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Through the CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC), GridEx also helps us to enhance cross-sector coordination and develop a more detailed understanding of interdependencies and potential impacts to other critical infrastructure sectors.”

The ESCC serves as the principal liaison between leadership in the federal government and in the electric power sector, with the mission of coordinating efforts to prepare for national-level incidents or threats to critical infrastructure. The ESCC also facilitates and supports policy- and public affairs-related activities and initiatives designed to enhance the reliability and resilience of the energy grid.

​Learn more about the electric power industry's approach to grid security​ and our national security efforts.

Industry in Action
Industry in Action
Delivering the Cleaner, Stronger Economy of the Future Via Electric Transportation

​“America has a unique opportunity to build an economy of the future that is cleaner and stronger than ever before,” EEI President Tom Kuhn writes in the Washington Times. “EEI’s member companies are leading the clean energy transformation by continuing to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) in our sector and by helping other sectors transition to clean, efficient electric energy. Today, the transportation sector is the largest domestic source of CO2 emissions and was responsible for 36 percent of all U.S. CO2 emissions in 2018. To deliver America’s clean energy future, it is critical to reduce emissions in the transportation sector.”

Expanding the use of electricity in transportation benefits customers, communities, and the nation: electric transportation saves customers money, improves the environment, and enhances quality of life for everyone. Today, more than 1.3 million electric vehicles (EVs) are on U.S. roads—representing dramatic growth, but still a small percentage of the more than 270 million vehicles registered in the United States. 

For electric transportation to achieve its full benefits for customers and communities, significantly more EV sales are needed, yet challenges remain to expanding this market. Public policies must support transportation electrification—and one of the most valuable of these to date is the EV tax credit.

“We are pleased that many lawmakers, in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, are supporting the Driving America Forward Act (S. 1094/H.R. 2256), which expands the EV tax credit to help continue to spur growth and innovation in domestic manufacturing of EVs,” Kuhn wrote. 

Read Kuhn's op-ed​. Find more about the EV tax credit from EEI Executive Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs Brian Wolff in the latest issue of Electric Perspectives.

News From the Hill
News From the Hill
Critical Infrastructure Industries Oppose Unlicensed 6 GHz Use

​Public safety providers and critical infrastructure industries (CII)—including electric companies, electric cooperatives, public power utilities, natural gas companies, water utilities, railroads, petroleum companies, and others—have filed a joint letter at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing unlicensed use of the 6 gigahertz (GHz) band. 

To provide customers with the energy they need, electric companies depend on licensed private wireless radio networks that perform several mission-critical tasks, including carrying data to operate critical energy infrastructure; promoting situational awareness by collecting data from smart sensors and smart meters; and enabling communications between electric company personnel in the field during natural disasters and other emergencies. 

The letter states: "Given the significant risk that the proposed unlicensed operations could have on mission-critical networks that are used to protect the safety of life, health, and property, and to provide essential services to individuals, businesses, governments, and others across the nation, unlicensed operations should only be permitted in the 6 GHz band if the FCC adopts more stringent interference protections for co-channel and adjacent channel microwave systems, including proven technology to mitigate the risk of interference by prior coordination of unlicensed operations."

"As the FCC pursues creative programs to ensure our nation’s spectrum policies accommodate advances in technology and consumer growth, the critical public safety and CII services our nation relies upon must be protected," it concludes.

EEI joins a broad coalition of partners in urging the FCC to uphold public safety and critical infrastructure. Learn more about how reliable, secure communications networks are critical for the energy grid in EEI's factsheet​.


What We're Reading
What We're Reading
FirstEnergy's Chuck Jones on Delivering the Energy Grid of the Future

​"In the past few decades, electric companies have been directed by grid operators to complete enhancements needed to accommodate growth and keep electricity flowing to customers," writes Chuck Jones, president and CEO of FirstEnergy, in the latest issue of Electric Perspectives

"At the same time, our industry is undergoing a transformation that will require even more from our electric infrastructure. This includes enabling microgrids, renewables, and distributed energy resources; widespread electrification of transportation, industrial equipment, and home products; continued development of smart cities; and increasingly advanced energy management tools and data. We’ll need to contend simultaneously with an increased risk of extreme weather, as well as more frequent and sophisticated cyber threats. All of this requires a much more complex, integrated, secure, and technologically advanced energy grid."


Regulatory Affairs
Regulatory Affairs
EEI Weighs In on Critical Discussions at NARUC Annual Meeting 

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Annual Meeting and Education Conference (held November 17-20 in San Antonio) featured top leadership from EEI and our member companies, who weighed in on several critical issues affecting electric companies and their customers. Resilience was the key topic of discussion at the meeting, with several panel discussions and workshops concentrating on this issue. NARUC represents the public utility commissioners who regulate energy, telecommunications, and water, ensuring reliable service at fair, just, and reasonable rates.

Phil Moeller, EEI executive vice president, business operations group and regulatory affairs, participated in a panel discussion on the need to reform the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). (Learn more about the need to reform PURPA to benefit all electricity customers in this Energy Talk story.) Other discussions at NARUC covered electric companies' ESG/sustainability (environmental, social, governance, and sustainability) efforts and companies' initiatives to further improve energy grid resilience through innovative investments, partnerships, and technology.  

At the meeting, ​NARUC members elected Mississippi Public Service Commission Chair Brandon Presley as the association’s next president. And, NARUC's board of directors adopted a resolution on the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) proposal to allow unlicensed operations in the 6 GHz spectrum band. The resolution, "recognizing the criticality of utility and other CII communications in the 6 GHz spectrum band," recommends that the FCC modify its proposal to allow unlicensed use, in order to protect electric companies and other critical infrastructure industries that depend upon interference-free wireless spectrum. 

Future Workforce
Future Workforce
CEWD Summit Highlights Successful Workforce Strategies; New Executive Director Announced

During the Center for Energy Workforce Development's (CEWD's) 2019 Summit, held November 12-14 in Arlington, VA, members shared winning strategies to develop the skilled workforce pipeline to meet future energy industry needs. Also at the meeting, it was announced that Missy Henrikson has been named executive director of CEWD, effective December 9. Henrikson will replace Ann Randazzo, who announced her retirement earlier this year after more than 13 years of service. 

"We are excited to welcome Missy as the new leader of this critical industry initiative," said John Bruckner, chairman of CEWD and president of National Grid New York. "The energy industry is undergoing a major transformation and developing a highly qualified workforce is critical to the success of this transformation." Read more in CEWD's press release​.

Since 2006, CEWD has helped electric, natural gas, and nuclear companies and their trade associations partner with educational institutions, public workforce systems, organized labor, and other stakeholders to attract, educate, hire, and retain the talent the industry needs to build America's energy future. At the summit, speakers addressed how energy companies are creating programs tailored to the needs of diverse audiences of prospective employees, including military veterans, women, youth, and transitioning workers. 

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, outlined the changing dynamics of today's workforce in his keynote address: "We know the world of work is changing. And, what many of us think is truth is changing, in ways we can’t even imagine. The idea that [employees are] going to do it your way is gone."

Learn more about the electric power industry's workforce and how the industry is creating long-term solutions and driving employment for a skilled, diverse workforce in the future.​

Financial Focus
Financial Focus
EEI's 2019 Financial Conference Drives Dialogue on Industry Issues
More than 1,200 delegates gathered earlier this month in Orlando for EEI’s 54th Financial Conference. Discussions focused on critical issues affecting the electric power industry, as EEI's member companies lead a profound transformation of America's energy.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush delivered the event's keynote address, and was joined for a fireside chat by Jim Robo, president and CEO of NextEra Energy, Inc., the parent company of Florida Power & Light. Panel discussions included an all-women group of chief financial officers who focused on their strategic approaches to leading growth in a transformative industry; an exploration of why and how customer demands and changing expectations have shaped evolving business models; and the Natural Gas Sustainability Initiative, an initiative led by EEI and the American Gas Association that focuses on the measurement and disclosure of methane emissions throughout the entire natural gas supply chain.  
Each year, EEI's Financial Conference highlights key electric power industry trends for the financial community and facilitates dialogue among company executives, investors, and other key stakeholders. The meeting also includes breakout visits with companies and live-webcast company presentations. Learn more​ about the 2019 conference. 
Photo (L to R): Jim Robo and Governor Jeb Bush.

Customer Connections
Customer Connections
EEI's National Key Accounts Workshop Fosters Corporate Customer-Electric Company Partnerships
As EEI’s member companies lead a transformation of America's energy, they strive to provide their corporate customers with innovative solutions that they want and need. EEI’s National Key Accounts program brings together leading national corporate customers and electric company representatives to engage on the latest public policies and trends and to develop valuable partnerships. 
More than 800 attendees gathered in Las Vegas for EEI’s Fall National Key Accounts Workshop, including more than 100 representatives from national customer organizations and more than 200 representatives from EEI member companies. EEI’s semi-annual workshop provides an opportunity for companies to build relationships and to lay the foundation for mutually beneficial collaborations with national corporate customers. 
Sustainability and partnerships were themes during the opening general session. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Katarina Tesarova, Las Vegas Sands vice president, global sustainability, noted that their strong relationships with NV Energy are critical for supporting corporate and community sustainability goals. 
NV Energy President and CEO Doug Cannon delivered keynote remarks and emphasized the importance of collaborating with customers on sustainability goals and other solutions. 
During the event, EEI also announced its electric company carbon emissions and electricity mix reporting template for customers and the release of its guidance document​ for customers considering electrifying their corporate fleets.  
Stay tuned: registration for EEI's Spring 2020 National Key Accounts Workshop (March 29-April 1 in Atlanta), will be open soon.
Photo: Doug Cannon, president and CEO, NV Energy (at right), with corporate customer representatives.​

Global Perspectives
Global Perspectives
Highlights From the 2019 International Electricity Summit

In the latest issue of Electric Perspectives, read highlights from the 2019 International Electricity Summit (IES), which convened top electric power industry leaders from Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United States in Fukuoka, Japan, in October. Since its first meeting in 1993, the IES has brought CEOs together to explore the major issues, challenges, and opportunities facing the industry worldwide.

EEI President Tom Kuhn led a delegation of senior executives from EEI’s U.S. member companies, which included Nick Akins, chairman, president, and CEO, American Electric Power; Mark Crosswhite, chairman, president, and CEO, Alabama Power; Joe Householder, president and COO, Sempra Energy; Ralph Izzo, chairman, president, and CEO, Public Service Enterprise Group; Constance Lau, president and CEO, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.; Barry Perry, president and CEO, Fortis Inc.; and Pat Vincent-Collawn, chairman, president, and CEO, PNM Resources. The leaders joined counterparts from the Australian Energy Council, the Canadian Electricity Association, Energy Networks Australia, Eurelectric, and the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, finding considerable common ground and value from their dialogue and diverse perspectives.

Find highlights from the 2019 IES here.

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