Electric Utility Fundamentals + Insights – WEI Hosted (Nov 03)

This program 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. Topics include (1) Fundamentals of Electricity, (2) Generation Choices, (3) How Utilities Make Money, (4) Transmission + Electricity Markets, (5) Distributed Energy Resources, (6) Electric Utility Customers, and (7) Emerging Issues. The class is delivered 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.

Register Now

General Details

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

    • Program Location
    • Western Energy Institute Facilities
    • 1050 SW 6th Ave, Suite 325, Portland, Oregon 97204
    • 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: $499 USD
    Regular: $699 USD

    The member registration price increases $100 after October 21, 2022 and regular registration price increases $200. Registration includes all course materials, continental breakfast, and a catered lunch.

  • 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.


Thursday, November 3, 2022

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

Registration + Continental Breakfast

Doors will be open at 7:30 AM. The course will begin promptly at 8:00 AM with introductions.

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Participant Introductions and Roundtable

Students share their utility industry background and what they hope to learn throughout the day. Please be prepared to share at least one thing you hope to learn by taking this class.

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Module 1: Fundamentals of Electricity

– How an electric Generator works
– AC vs DC power
– Transformers and power poles
– 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
– Future sources

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM


11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Module 3: How Utilities Make Money

– Types of utilities
– Regulatory bodies
– Financial terms and definitions
– How companies set rates
– Rate-making exercise

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Hosted Lunch

Full lunch provided. Please indicate any dietary restrictions with your registration.

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Module 4: Transmission + Electricity Markets

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

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM


2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Module 5: Distributed Energy Resources

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

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM


3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

Module 6: Electric Utility Customers

– Types and expectations of electricity customers
– Evolution of the energy customer
– Customer touch points and the Trusted Energy Advisor goal

3:45 PM - 4:00 PM


4:00 PM - 4:45 PM

Module 7: Emerging Issues

– Grid hardening and resiliency
– Greenhouse gas emission reductions
– Operational and financial impacts from variable energy resources (solar + wind)
– Integrated Resource Planning

4:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Q&A and Wrap-Up

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

Hotel + Travel

Meet The Speakers

Eric Christenson

Western Energy Institute

Director of Program Curriculum + Engagement
Learn More

In his role as Director of Program Curriculum + Engagement, Eric’s primary roles are working with WEI Board Committees to ensure key issues are addressed through program curriculum and leading Utility Fundamentals + Insights courses.

Eric also supports overall Member engagement and his teammates with his twenty-plus years’ database marketing experience and skills in data analytics.

Eric joined WEI after seven great years at Portland General Electric. At PGE he developed and managed the company’s Enterprise Risk Management program and worked in several other areas including operations benchmarking, regulatory affairs, fleet services, AMI, and finance.

Prior to joining PGE, Eric developed his skills in a leading internet marketing company and as Manager of Strategy and Analysis at a finance and lending organization.

Eric earned his Bachelors in Mathematics, and Economics, from the University of Oregon. He has served the community as a past President of the Oregon Society of Association Management and Vice President of the Greater Portland Soccer District.

Kristin Stathis

Ernst and Young LLP

Learn More

Kristin Stathis has over 32 years of experience in the electric utility industry, including 27 years with Portland General Electric where she served in a variety of roles throughout the organization.

As Vice President of Operations Services for PGE, Kristin led teams responsible for supply chain, company fleet, property and facilities, corporate resiliency, security, safety and health, project management, change management and environmental services programs.

She previously served as VP of Customer Service Operations, where she oversaw metering, billing, payments, credit and collections, and the contact center. Kristin led PGE’s Customer Engagement Transformation program which culminated in the replacement of PGE’s customer information and meter data management systems. Other notable roles at PGE included assistant treasurer and manager of Corporate Finance and general manager of Power Supply Risk Management. She also served as PGE’s representative Board Member at the Western Energy Institute.

Currently, Kristin is serving as a contract subject matter resource for EY Consulting and enjoys part-time retirement.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University and a certificate in accounting from Portland State University.