Electric Distribution Planning, Design, and Construction

Wednesday, April 19

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Great Expectations: Management and Construction Challenges
Speakers: Steve Schmitt, NorthWestern Energy
Cliff Rains, Salt River Project
Gregg Kludgian, Asplundh Construction Corporation
Major Infrastructure Initiatives involve challenges for all parties involved. From customers, utilities, and contractors, how do we accomplish the work with the least pain possible while also meeting all other workload challenges? How these large projects come to fruition often depends on a number of constraints including existing obligations with contractors, a union versus non-union workforce, and the existing resources of the utility. This topic explores a few infrastructure projects from different utilities and the challenges involved from a few points of view.

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Challenges with Permitting and Environmental Issues
Speakers: Reed Reisner, Southern California Edison
Jennifer Leung, Southern California Edison
Kerry Kriner, Puget Sound Energy
Construction projects are often times delayed when an encroachment, excavation, or environmental permit is not secured. Local, State, and Federal agencies have the authority to govern the time, place, and manner of work that occurs within their jurisdiction during the construction of a project to ensure the health and safety of the general public and workers; and to protect and preserve the environment. Preservation of protected species of plants and animals is a subject that must be addressed during the design process for any planned activity. Other requirements and compliance such as ADA, street moratoriums, outage information, permit costs, handling of hazardous materials, avian and wildlife protection, and Endangered Species Act have to be complied to acquire the appropriate permits from the various agencies. This session provides an overview and awareness of the many requirements and challenges of a permit acquisition.

Thursday, April 20

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Outage Fatigue
Speakers: Terry Ohanian, Southern California Edison
Jennifer Boyer, Puget Sound Energy
This session explores the total customer experience associated with “blue-sky” and storm-driven power outages. We will evaluate outage management processes and tools that are used to track outage progress and inform customers during planned and un-planned power outage events. When these tools and processes are not effectively utilized our customers feel varying degrees of outage fatigue. We acknowledge that even when we under-perform on SAIFI and SAIDI operation metrics, delivering on new levels of communication can help reduce customer outage fatigue. Lastly, we will discuss the importance of follow-up system repairs, reliability-based system investments, and the critical integration with internal Distribution Planning departments.

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Accelerated Implementation of Emerging Technology
Speakers: Roger Salas, Southern California Edison
Troy Nergaard, Doosan Grid
Cory Schaeffer, Senior Consultant, Conventional and Emerging Technologies, Leidos
How do utilities and industry work together to evolve planning standards, long term forecasts, and construction of emerging technologies such as renewables and smart grid devices? What are examples of experiences and opportunities for both utility, regulator and industry?

The introduction of new technologies into the arsenal of assets available to utilities, regulators and industry presents an array of new opportunity but brings with it fresh challenges.  Utilities, vendors and industry are striving to incorporate these technologies to the maximal benefit of the ratepayer.  This demands an environment of standardization, collaboration & learning that enables utilities, asset owners and operators to optimize these new deployments while minimizing risk and cost. This discussion will explore the challenges of developing standards and methods in a rapidly changing environment, examine contemporary examples such as the deployment of energy storage and smart inverter technology, and identify not only the importance but ultimately opportunities for stronger cooperation across utilities, regulatory bodies and industry to join together in the accelerated creation of standards.