Operations Business Strategies – Electric – Virtual (Mar 24-25)

Designed for electric utility executives, participants engage in best practice roundtables to address electric distribution system and substation reliability and safety. Members share benchmarking and performance study results spanning safety, workforce management, infrastructure improvements and overall performance excellence. The small size of this program provides a unique environment for collaborative thinking, open discourse and building long-term relationships.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Lanny Sawchuck, Director, Line Field Operations, BC Hydro

    • Program Location
    • Virtual Event
    • No travel required. All agenda times are in Pacific time. Instructions to access the virtual event will be provided before the program.
    • Who Should Attend
    • Participation is restricted to senior leaders of WEI energy member companies. This strategic forum is designed for vice presidents, directors of electric operations and general managers responsible for maintaining system reliability. 

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $199 USD

    Registration includes virtual access to all agenda items and digital program materials.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • To best serve WEI members and program participants during the COVID-19 pandemic, WEI will be waiving its standard cancellation policy for this program and all virtual programs through July 2021. Registrants can now receive a full refund should they need to cancel their registration up to the day before the program begins. This applies to both new and existing registrations for virtual programs.
  • 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. Recording is not permitted for any portion of the event.
  • For more information contact Jessica Grant, Program Manager at (971) 255-4970.


All session times are listed in Pacific time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

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.

12:30 PM - 1:15 PM

Welcome + Introductions

1:15 PM - 1:45 PM

Safety Spotlight: Driving Complaints
Speaker(s): Kevin Lalonde, Director, Operations and Maintenance, SaskPower

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM


2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Roundtable Discussion: Successes, Challenges + Opportunities
Speaker(s): Lanny Sawchuck, Director, Line Field Operations, BC Hydro

This time is designated for roundtable discussion on current challenges and emerging issues.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Safety Spotlight: Rules + Revision Process of Safety Manual at PGE
Speaker(s): Scott Dearth, Senior Manager Distribution Line Operations, Portland General Electric

9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Metrics + Data Driven Decisions
Speaker(s): Kevin Putnam, Director, Utility Operations, Portland General Electric, Tina Yanitski, Director, Distribution, EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Safety Spotlight: System 1 + 2 Thinking

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Outage Management Systems + Customer Outage Journey
Speaker(s): David Howell, Director of Electrical Operations, Avista Corp.

12:15 PM - 12:30 PM

Wrap Up + Planning for Fall

Share your thoughts on the forum and help to generate topics for future agendas.

Meet The Speakers

Lanny Sawchuck

BC Hydro

Director, Line Field Operations

Kevin Lalonde


Director, Operations and Maintenance

Scott Dearth

Portland General Electric

Senior Manager Distribution Line Operations

Kevin Putnam

Portland General Electric

Director, Utility Operations

Tina Yanitski

EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

Director, Distribution

David Howell

Avista Corp.

Director of Electrical Operations