Electric Utility Fundamentals + Insights – Open Course – Virtual (May 21-22)

Electric Utility Fundamentals + Insights provides utility and service company employees with a broad understanding of how the electric utility industry works and a better awareness of their own roles within their organizations. This course is delivered through seven distinct instruction modules: (1) Fundamentals of Electricity; (2) Generation Choices; (3) Transmission + Electricity Markets; (4) Distributed Energy Resources; (5) Electric Utility Customers; (6) Emerging Issues; and (7) How Utilities Make Money. Modules 1-6 are delivered in-person through a one-day discussion format or scheduled virtually in two four-hour sessions scheduled over two days. Module 7 is delivered virtually to all attendees once they have completed Modules 1-6. The class is provided virtually over two half-days or in a one-day format at the WEI office in Portland, Oregon. WEI member companies may also host a customized on-line or in-person course exclusively for their own employees to provide a unique, individualized training experience. Contact WEI for more information.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Eric Christenson, Director of Program Curriculum + Engagement

    • Program Location
    • Virtual Event
    • No travel required. All agenda times are in Pacific time. Instructions to access the virtual event will be provided to the attendee before the program.
    • Who Should Attend
    • Wondering if this course is right for you or your staff…

      • Are you new to the energy industry?
      • Have you worked in just one or two areas of the organization?
      • Are you looking for a broader perspective of the business of electricity and emerging issues?
      • Do you work for a service provider to the energy industry who wants to learn more about your customer?

      If the answer is yes to any of these, this course was designed for you.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $399 USD
    Regular: $599 USD

    Registration prices increase $100 after May 3, 2024. Registration includes a course binder mailed directly to participant if requested and registered 14 calendar days before the course. This interactive course is two half-days (virtual) or one day (in-person). Registration also includes complimentary registration to any of WEI’s “How Utilities Make Money” webinars.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to the uniqueness of this course, registration cancellations received within nine business days prior to the first day of class will be ineligible for refunds. Substitutions from your organization for the same event are always welcome.
  • Participation Policy
  • Western Energy Institute programs and events are open to energy companies (including gas production and electric generation, gas and electric transmission and gas and electric distribution utilities). Select programs and events are open to energy industry product and service suppliers. Programs and events are closed to all media representatives and to the general public.
  • For more information contact Eric Christenson, Director of Program Curriculum + Engagement at (971) 303-2118.


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

Virtual Help Desk + Technology Check

The room will open early with optional time for participants to get familiar with the virtual platform, test their audio and webcam, or ask questions about the agenda before we begin.

Please join early as we will start the class promptly at 9:00 AM.

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Participant Introductions

Students share their own backgrounds within and outside the energy industry and what they hope to learn throughout the day. Please be prepared to share at least three questions you hope to answer during the course.

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Module 1: Fundamentals of Electricity

– Key influencers in the history of electricity
– Utility definitions and electricity terms
– Basics of how electricity is generated
– Electricity generation and “the Utility loop”
– Keys to power quality

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM


9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

Module 2: Generation Choices

– Number ONE rule of the electric grid
– Fossil fuel options
– Traditional low-carbon generation
– Today's renewables

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM


11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Module 3: Western NA Transmission + Electricity Markets

– Service territories
– Federal regulators and departments
– NERC regions and the WECC
– Energy balancing and imbalance markets

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

Virtual Classroom Open for Participants

Join early to ask questions, give feedback, or just enjoy a cup of coffee with the WEI team.

8:00 AM - 8:15 AM

Day 1 Review

8:15 AM - 9:15 AM

Module 4: Distributed Energy Resources

– Energy storage
– Energy efficiency
– Transportation electrification
– Distributed generation
– Demand response

9:15 AM - 9:30 AM


9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Module 5: Electric Utility Customers

– Types and expectations of electricity customers
– Customer care regulations
– Customer journey and satisfaction measures

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM


10:45 AM - 11:45 AM

Module 6: Emerging Issues

– Grid Resiliency, Hardening, and Modernization
– Customer and Grid Impacts from solar PV
– Integrated resource planning

11:45 AM - 12:00 PM


We circle back to the original expectations of students to ensure that expectations were met.

Meet The Speakers

Eric Christenson

Western Energy Institute

Director of Program Curriculum + Engagement

Traci Pepper

Western Energy Institute

Program Manager