EEI Energy Talk  
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November 2021

Top Story
Top Story
EEI Applauds Passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal
On November 15, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This $1-trillion bipartisan bill provides investments that will support electric transportation; further protect critical energy infrastructure from physical and cyber threats; advance research and development of advanced carbon-free technologies; and help EEI’s member companies advance their clean energy commitment. 

EEI President Tom Kuhn commented, “On behalf of America’s investor-owned electric companies, EEI congratulates Congress for passing a broad, bipartisan infrastructure bill that will make significant investments in the critical energy infrastructure and new carbon-free technologies our industry needs to deliver a 100-percent clean energy future to the customers and communities we serve.”

“This legislation also provides an important down payment on the electric vehicle charging infrastructure and low/no-emission buses that will help to accelerate the electrification of the transportation sector, which currently is the largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S. economy, and strongly supports the transition to a carbon-free economy,” Kuhn added.

The bipartisan legislation also provides critical investments in middle-mile broadband infrastructure. “Customers and communities across the country will benefit from this legislation’s support for investments in middle-mile broadband infrastructure, which will help to bridge the digital divide for underserved and unserved areas,” Kuhn said. (Learn how EEI’s member companies are helping to extend broadband infrastructure in Electric Perspectives.)

In the News
In the News
Demonstrating Global Clean Energy Leadership at COP26
The UN Climate Change Conference, or COP26, was held October 31-November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. World leaders, together with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, business leaders, and citizens, convened to devise a global plan to fight climate change.

Executives from EEI’s member companies, along with EEI Executive Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs Brian Wolff, joined the U.S. delegation to highlight the leadership of U.S. electric companies in reducing carbon emissions and the vital role that reliable, affordable, secure, and resilient clean energy plays in achieving net-zero emissions across the U.S. economy.

The track record of America’s electric companies over the past decade, together with our trajectory of continuing emissions reductions, shows that we truly are committed to getting the energy we provide as clean as we can as fast as we can, without compromising the reliability and affordability that are essential to the customers and communities we serve. 

Read the COP26 issue of Energy Talk In Depth to learn more about our participation in COP26 and how EEI’s member companies continue to demonstrate their global clean energy leadership.

Photo (L to R): EEI Executive Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs Brian Wolff; EEI Vice Chairman Pedro J. Pizarro, president and CEO, Edison International; National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy; John Pettigrew, CEO, National Grid; Ralph Izzo, chairman, president, and CEO, Public Service Enterprise Group.​

News From the Hill
News From the Hill
EEI Welcomes House Passage of the Build Back Better Act
On November 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act. EEI President Tom Kuhn commented, “On behalf of America’s investor-owned electric companies, EEI welcomes House passage of the Build Back Better Act. The bill’s clean energy tax incentives will benefit electricity customers, create jobs, provide long-term certainty to our industry, and create a level playing field that recognizes the role of electric companies in deploying more clean energy.

“While we are pleased that the House-passed bill includes a robust clean energy tax package, we continue to have significant concerns with the inclusion of a 15-percent corporate minimum tax on book income. Such a provision will negatively impact the capital investments electric companies make to provide their customers with safe, reliable, affordable, and resilient clean energy.

“EEI’s member companies are leading a clean energy transformation and are working to get the energy we provide as clean as we can as fast as we can, without compromising the reliability and affordability that our customers value. We plan to make major capital investments over the next several years to achieve our clean energy and carbon reduction goals. It is important to our customers that these investments be made cost-effectively. Congress should not undermine the Act’s climate goals—and raise costs for electricity customers—by imposing a minimum tax on the capital that needs to be deployed to achieve them.” 

In Case You Missed It
In Case You Missed It
Saluting Military Veterans
On November 11—Veterans Day—EEI and our member companies joined the rest of America in honoring current and former members of the armed forces for their many sacrifices. And, we saluted veterans for the deep contributions that they continue to make as a vital part of America’s energy industry workforce.

EEI’s member companies recognize that military veterans are uniquely suited for our industry, and our members have developed and participated in programs to attract, train, and retain them in their workforces. Veterans now make up about 10 percent of the industry’s workforce, working in technical, engineering, support, and leadership roles. Read this Energy News story to learn more about the programs that EEI supports to help veterans find rewarding careers in the energy industry.

Jeffrey Guldner, chairman, president, and CEO of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, the parent corporation of Arizona Public Service, is a United States Navy veteran. In the latest issue of Electric Perspectives, he reflects on his experience in the military and how the skills learned during military service make veterans suitable for a career in the energy industry.

“Many of the qualities the Navy instilled in me—the focus and can-do attitude, the understanding of true teamwork and leadership—are the same traits we look for at APS. Hiring veterans makes good business sense and has been a longstanding practice at our company,” Guldner wrote.

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Stop Scams
Stop Scams
UUAS Recognizes Scam Awareness Day
Together with Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), EEI and our member companies observed the sixth annual Utility Scam Awareness Day on November 17. Utility Scam Awareness Day is part of International Fraud Awareness Week (November 14-20), an advocacy and awareness campaign focused on educating customers and exposing the tactics used by scammers. This year’s theme was ‘End the Call. End the Scam.’

UUAS, a consortium of nearly 150 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations, continues to raise customer awareness of common scams and new scam tactics being used by utility impostors. Through its work and with the help of customer reporting, UUAS has successfully helped to take nearly 12,000 toll-free numbers used by scammers out of operation.

“Scammers have not shown compassion for small businesses and private citizens enduring the trying circumstances of the last two years,” said Jared Lawrence, UUAS founder and Duke Energy vice president of metering services and customer service transformation. “In fact, they have intensified their criminal activity with high pressure tactics and increasing use of technology. For that reason, utilities continue to unite to combat scammers by spreading awareness and are working with telecom partners to remove access to phone lines and encouraging policymakers to adopt stronger public protections.”

Lawrence and UUAS Executive Director Monica Martinez joined the Electric Perspectives Podcast to discuss utility impostor scams in November. Listen now.

What We're Reading
What We're Reading
Investing In A Resilient Clean Energy Future
EEI’s member companies are making significant investments to make the energy grid smarter, stronger, cleaner, more dynamic, and more secure. They must raise capital in a way that helps keep electricity affordable. Rising interest rates, supply chain disruptions, and other challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic have a real impact on companies and their customers. In September, Electric Perspectives sat down with three electric company chief financial officers to discuss these issues and more.

Participants were Daniel J. Cregg, executive vice president and CFO, Public Service Enterprise Group; Xia Liu, executive vice president and CFO and Office of the Chair member, WEC Energy Group; and Steve Young, executive vice president and CFO, Duke Energy.

Happening Now
Happening Now
EEI, Electric Company, Government Officials Participate in GridEx
On November 16 and 17, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) convened the sixth installment of GridEx. Participants representing more than 700 organizations from across the electric power industry and federal and state governments participated in this biennial 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. Every two years, government officials, electric company executives, and energy grid operators from across the United States and Canada collaborate through the GridEx series of exercises to test how our industry and our partners would respond to, and recover from, cyber and physical attacks on critical energy infrastructure.

“Protecting the energy grid from all hazards is a top priority for EEI and our member companies, and it is a shared responsibility between the entire electric power industry and our government partners,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “By participating in NERC's GridEx series, we are able to test both our individual and our collective security, response, and crisis communications plans against possible energy grid threats. It also allows us to strengthen our coordination through our time-tested partnership, the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC), to ensure that we stay connected should a real-world emergency occur.”

The CEO-led ESCC serves as the principal liaison between leadership in the federal government and in the electric power industry, with the mission of coordinating efforts to prepare for national-level incidents or threats to critical infrastructure. 

Phil Moeller, EEI executive vice president of the business operations group and regulatory affairs, wrote about these important security exercises in the latest issue of Electric Perspectives:

“Since the most recent GridEx, only two years ago, several threats to critical energy infrastructure have made headlines,” Moeller wrote. “These have included numerous historic and record-breaking storms, many of which came in the recent hurricane seasons that impacted the East Coast and Gulf Coast regions, last winter’s snow and ice storms in the Midwest and Southwest regions, a derecho in the Midwest, and wildfires in the West; cybersecurity attacks such as SolarWinds, the Colonial Pipeline hack, and the Kaseya ransomware incident; and, of course, the COVID-19 global pandemic.”
Sponsored Content
How to Unlock Electric Transportation
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Delivering the Future
Photo courtesy ComEd.
Delivering the Future
DHS, DOE Join ComEd to Spotlight Grid Enhancing Technology
Protecting the nation’s energy grid and providing reliable electricity to customers are top priorities for EEI’s member companies. As physical and cyber threats to the grid increase, electric companies are taking action and are working with their federal partners to enhance the grid’s resiliency and reliability.

Recently, Chicago-based ComEd—a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation—was joined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to spotlight new technology that will enhance energy grid reliability for ComEd customers and reduce the impact of cyber and physical security threats, as well as more frequent and more severe storms. 

Developed by the American Superconductor Company and funded in part by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, the Resilient Electric Grid system uses a high-temperature superconductor wire that can carry 200 times the voltage of standard copper wire. 

ComEd is the first electric company in the nation to install this system permanently into the energy grid. Terence R. Donnelly, ComEd president and chief operations officer, commented: “ComEd is providing our customers record levels of reliability, but we need to embrace innovation to continue to enhance the grid and deliver the results families and businesses depend on. We are grateful to DHS for its investment in this technology, and we are proud to be the first utility in the nation to permanently install it into the grid.”

Regulatory Affairs
Regulatory Affairs
EEI Congratulates Newly Confirmed FERC Commissioner Willie Phillips
EEI President Tom Kuhn and EEI Executive Vice President Business Operations Group and Regulatory Affairs Phil Moeller commented on the Senate confirmation of Willie Phillips as Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) commissioner on November 16.

“EEI and our member companies congratulate Willie Phillips on his confirmation as FERC commissioner,” Kuhn said. “Commissioner Phillips brings valuable experience to FERC and is exceptionally qualified to serve in this role. I commend him for his continued dedication to public service and look forward to working with him. I also commend Senate Majority Leader Schumer and the Senate for recognizing the importance of having a full Commission and for moving quickly on his nomination.”

“I have known and worked with Commissioner Phillips for several years. He is an exceptional leader who will bring a wealth of experience to the Commission, which today may be busier than it ever has been before,” Moeller said. “I look forward to our work together on the many issues impacting EEI’s member companies, including enhancing energy grid reliability and security and developing the critical infrastructure needed to deliver more clean energy to the customers and communities that we are so proud to serve.”

Numbers to Know
Numbers to Know
Key Facts About America’s Electric Companies
We rely on electricity for nearly everything we do, and the energy grid is vital to our nation’s security and economy. Every day, EEI’s member companies are working to provide the reliable, affordable, secure, and resilient clean energy customers need. We are committed to delivering America’s energy future. 

Here are five facts to know about America’s electric companies from EEI’s recently published Key Facts report.
  1. Today, 40 percent of all U.S. power generation comes from clean, carbon-free sources, including nuclear energy, hydropower, and solar energy.
  2. Electric companies are investing more than $3 billion in new electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  3. Since 2010, electric companies have invested more than $1 trillion in critical energy infrastructure.
  4. Through year-end 2020, more than 107 million smart meters have been installed in the United States.
  5. The electric power industry contributes $865 billion to the U.S. GDP each year. That’s 5 percent of the total U.S. GDP. 
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