Electric Utility Fundamentals + Insights (Oct 19)

This program provides utility and service company employees a broader understanding of how the electric utility industry works and a better awareness of their own roles within their organizations. Participants gain a broader comprehension of critical issues affecting the electric industry and the interaction between utilities and their stakeholders. The class is delivered in a one-day, eight-hour format and is delivered twice annually at the WEI office in Portland, Oregon. It is an exclusive benefit for WEI member companies to host a class for their own employees to provide a unique, individualized training experience.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Eric Christenson, Western Energy Institute

    • Program Location
    • Western Energy Institute Facilities
    • 1001 SW 5th Ave, Suite 325
      Portland, Oregon 97204
    • Who Should Attend
    • This course is designed for utility and service company employees seeking to broaden their understanding of the operations and business aspects of the electricity industry.

      • Experienced professional who are newly hired into the energy industry
      • Seasoned energy employees who have only been in one or two areas for much of their careers
      • Identified early career high performers who should fast-track their understanding of the industry
      • Service company employees who benefit from understanding the history, issues and emerging issues facing energy companies
  • Registration Options
  • Member: $499 USD
    Regular: $999 USD

    Member registration price increases $100 after September 28, 2017. Regular registration price increases $300. Registration includes all course materials, continental breakfast, and a catered lunch.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to contractual obligations, cancellations received 15 business days prior to the program will receive a full refund. Cancellations received 6 to 14 business days prior to the event will receive a refund, less a $100 administrative fee. No shows and last minute cancellations, 5 business days prior to the event or less, will be responsible for the full registration fee. 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, Senior Program Manager at (971) 303-2118.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

Registration Open

Continental breakfast provided (pastries, coffee, yogurt)

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Participant Introductions

Students share their utility industry background and define expectations for key deliverables throughout the day.

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Background and Basics of Electricity

• Key influencers in the history of electricity
• Utility definitions and electricity terms
• Electricity generation and “the Utility loop”
• Keys to power quality

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM


9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

Western North American Electricity Markets

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

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM


11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

How Utilities Make Money

• Types of utilities (IOUs, Munis, Co-Ops, etc.)
• Common organizational structures
• Balancing interests of stakeholders
• State and Provincial Regulation and rate making fundamentals

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Catered Lunch (hosted)

Please provide any dietary constraints with your registration.

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Generation Choice

• How Electricity is generated
• Fossil fuel options
• Traditional low-carbon generations
• Today’s renewables
• Grid energy storage

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM


2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Emerging Issues

• Distributed energy resources
• Net energy metering
• Carbon regulation
• Trusted energy provider business model
• The data avalanches for utilities
• Customer disintermediation

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM


3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Customer Engagement

• Types of electric customers and expectations for service
• Changes to electricity demand
• Load and demand-side management options
• Customer care regulations
• Emerging customer programs (solar, provider choice, electric vehicles, the “smart home”)

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Q&A and Wrap-Up

We circle back to the original expectations of student to ensure that expectations are met.

5:00 PM - 5:00 PM


Meet The Speakers

Jim Litchfield

Litchfield Consulting Group