Apr

19-22

Operations Conference – Virtual (Apr 19-22)

The WEI Operations Conference brings together over 600 electric and natural gas energy operations senior leaders, managers, supervisors, and front-line employees for three days of education and networking, with breakout discussions for specific operations functions, including DUAL TRACKS: (1) Operational Leadership, (2) Workforce Development, (3) Safety + Health, (4) Safety Management Systems (SMS), and (5) Asset Management; GAS OPERATIONS TRACKS: (6) Damage Prevention, (7) NG Green Future, (8) NG D&T Emergency Response + Restoration, (9) NG D&T Integrity Management, and (10) NG Operational Excellence; and ELECTRIC OPERATIONS TRACKS: (11) Grid Hardening, (12) Electric Distribution, (13) Evolving Grid Operations, (14) Electric Substation, and (15) Electric Transmission. Track breakout sessions are complemented by thought-provoking general sessions with industry leaders and keynote speakers. This conference is a must for any professional in the energy business. Limited sponsorship opportunities are available.

Register Now

General Details

Program Chair
Andrew Kendall, Senior Assistant General Manager Power System Construction, Maintenance and Operations, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

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
Electric and Natural Gas Energy Operations:

• Vice Presidents
• Directors
• Managers
• Supervisors
• Front line employees
• Control professionals
• Engineering professionals
• Planning personnel
• Substation professionals
• Electric transmission professionals
• Asset Management professionals
• Renewable Gas engineering and policy leaders
• Electric personnel responsible for wildfire mitigation, planning, and response

Registration Options
Member: $249 USD
Regular: $349 USD
Special Member Promotion: $199 USD (see details below)

Registration prices increase $100 after April 6, 2021. Registration includes virtual access to all agenda items and digital program materials through the conference app.

WEI Member Promotion
Registering five or more people from your organization? Learn more about special bundled pricing, available to WEI Members through Friday, February 26, 2021.

Cancellation Policy for WEI Member Promotion
The promotional registration rate of $199 per person for 5 or more from the same company is non-refundable, but registrations can be transferred to another person from within the company up to the day before the program begins.

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 Eric Christenson, Director of Program Curriculum + Analytics at (971) 303-2118.

Agenda

All session times are listed in Pacific time.

Monday, April 19, 2021

1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Technology Help Desk
WEI will host a virtual registration and help desk before the conference begins and throughout the day. Stop in for a visit if you have questions about the agenda, want more information on how to use the app, or need assistance accessing GoTo Webinar or any of the GoTo Meeting breakout rooms.

Event app sponsored by:

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM
PDT + First-Time Meetup

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Conference Registration Room Open
WEI will host a virtual registration and help desk before the conference begins and throughout the day. Stop in for a visit if you have questions about the agenda, want more information on how to use the app, or need assistance accessing GoTo Webinar or any of the GoTo Meeting breakout rooms.

8:00 AM – 8:45 AM
Conference Welcome

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM
Break

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 1
Operational Leadership – Cultivating from Within: Improving Safety Culture and Performance
NG Operational Excellence – Digital Transformation of Utilities
Grid Hardening – High Tech Hardening: Aligning Fire Risk Mitigation with Grid Operations
Electric Distribution – Everything Outage

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM
Break

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 2
Safety + Health – Mental Health and Well-Being in Light of New Stressors and Maintaining Work/Life
Damage Prevention – Digging into the Numbers: The Power of Analytics and Power Reduction
NG Green Future – Implementing Hydrogen: Moving from Theoretical to Operational
Grid Hardening – Innovation and Technology: Managing Risk Using Advanced Technology
Electric Substation – Aging Equipment: Innovative Circuit Breaker Restoration Program

12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Break

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 3
Operational Leadership – How To Turn Silos Into Bridges With Effective Change Management
NG Operational Excellence – Best Value Contractor Evaluations
Electric Distribution – Evolutions of Aging Infrastructure Programs in Response to New Challenges and Opportunities

1:45 PM – 2:15 PM
Break

2:15 PM – 3:30 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 4
Safety + Health – Overcoming Training Barriers Using Innovation and Technology
Damage Prevention – What Makes an Effective State Damage Prevention Program
NG Green Future – System Impacts of Injecting Lower BTU Gas
Grid Hardening – Get the Most Out of Your Wildfire Mitigation, and Prove It, too!
Electric Substation – Using Technology for Virtual Site Visits

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Conference Registration Room Open
WEI will host a virtual registration and help desk before the conference begins and throughout the day. Stop in for a visit if you have questions about the agenda, want more information on how to use the app, or need assistance accessing GoTo Webinar or any of the GoTo Meeting breakout rooms.

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 5
Operational Leadership – Building Your Leadership Bench Strength, with Insight from the Coach’s Corner
Safety Management Systems (SMS) – What’s Your Knowledge Playbook?
NG D&T Integrity Management – The Mega Rule, Our Story so Far
NG Operational Excellence – Leading with Innovation
Grid Hardening – The Importance of Customer Communication + How To Do It
Electric Distribution – Distribution Engineering Innovations + Paradigms
Electric Transmission – Technological Innovations

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM
Break

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 6
Workforce Development – Growing and Leading through Change
Safety + Health – When No One Is Looking
Asset Management – AM Data – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly!
Damage Prevention – Fostering Good Relationships Between Locators and Excavators
NG Green Future – Power to Gas (P2G) – Case Study
NG D&T Emergency Response + Restoration – Edge Intelligence and Automation for Emergency Response
Grid Hardening – Risk-based Asset Management
Evolving Grid Operations – Evolution of the Control Room: ADMS Impacts to Technology and Personnel
Electric Substation – Ground Grid Integrity Testing and Safety Practices

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Lunchtime Keynote
Sponsored by:

1:00 PM – 2:15 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 7
Operational Leadership – Leading On Purpose: The Power of Intentionality
Safety Management Systems (SMS) – Synergy Between Human Behavior and Safety Management System (SMS)
NG D&T Integrity Management – Common DIMP Problems
NG Operational Excellence – Innovative Approaches to Gas Odorization
Electric Distribution – How Does Your Utility Stack up to Other Utilities When it Comes to COVID Response and What Innovations Came from the New Normal?
Electric Transmission – Designing Resiliency: Best Engineering Practices for the Unexpected

2:15 PM – 2:45 PM
Break

2:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 8
Workforce Development – Beyond COVID-19 – Transitioning to the New Normal
Safety + Health – Clearing the Air
Asset Management – Building Blocks to AM Strategies
Damage Prevention – Bridging the Gap: In Depth Look at Damage Prevention from Excavators Perspective
NG Green Future – RNG Sleight of Hand – Lessons Learned Operating an RNG Interconnect Facility
NG D&T Emergency Response + Restoration – Protecting Facilities and Employees Against Vandalism During Civil Unrest
Grid Hardening – Portfolio + Program Management: Successfully Herding Cats
Evolving Grid Operations – Artificial Intelligence in Utility Operations – Here Today and into the Future
Electric Substation – Latest Best Practices for Substation Entry

Thursday, April 22, 2021

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Conference Registration Room Open
WEI will host a virtual registration and help desk before the conference begins and throughout the day. Stop in for a visit if you have questions about the agenda, want more information on how to use the app, or need assistance accessing GoTo Webinar or any of the GoTo Meeting breakout rooms.

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 9
Safety Management Systems (SMS) – Assessing the Status and Health of Your Safety Management System
NG D&T Integrity Management – What a Difference a Decade Makes
Electric Transmission – Recent Transmission Projects: Conquering Urban Design + Construction Constraints

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM
Break

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 10
Workforce Development – Gamification and Augmented Reality – How Technology is Changing the Way We Train
Asset Management – Building the AM-Centric Culture
NG D&T Emergency Response + Restoration – Great Balls of Fire!
Evolving Grid Operations – Microgrids: Grid Operation Impacts Both Now and in the Future

12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Break

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 11
Safety Management Systems (SMS) – Integration of SMS with Current Business Processes
NG D&T Integrity Management – Education vs. Experience: Engineering a New Future for Integrity Management
Electric Transmission – Old Equipment – New Needs

1:45 PM – 2:15 PM
Break

2:15 PM – 3:30 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 12
Workforce Development – Knowledge Delivery/Transfer + Management
Asset Management – Asset Management is Easy – When You Know Your Risks
NG D&T Emergency Response + Restoration – Superheroes Drive Gas Trucks
Evolving Grid Operations – Effective from Afar: Overcoming Challenges to People, Processes, and Technology Involved in Keeping the Lights on in the New Normal

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Conference Close + Celebration

Track Details

DUAL TRACKS

Operational Leadership
The Operations Leadership track will focus on how we can continue to improve by investing in our people. Session topics will include developing our bench strength from within the organization, practices that support our work through safety leadership, and using change management to cross silos and get buy-in. We will explore ways to lead through both industry disruption and daily challenges by tapping into our greatest asset, our people.

Workforce Development
With the solid presence of three generations in the workforce today, it is more important now than ever to step up your game in developing your workforce. The Workforce Development track is a combination track that speaks to all audiences, both gas and electric. This track will dive into an array of topics such as Growing and Leading Through Change, looking Beyond COVID – Transitioning to the New Normal, exploring how New Technology is Changing the Way We Train, as well as a session that offers some insights into Knowledge Delivery, and Transfer and Management.

Safety + Health
Safety + Health is the track for everyone! Whether you work with electricity or gas, in the field or in the office, safety and health are of paramount importance to our industry. Our topics and presenters offer something for everyone.

Safety Management Systems (SMS)
Effective Safety Management Systems (SMS) are people oriented, integrated with work processes, and assessed periodically to ensure continued improvement and progress towards system maturity. Join us to discuss real world examples on knowledge management, use of SMS to drive a safety culture, how SMS can be integrated into work process to accelerate adoption and the need to conduct ongoing assessments to ensure your SMS is effective and continually improved.

Asset Management
The US federal government defines asset management as “the practice of managing infrastructure capital assets to minimize the total cost of owning and operating these assets while delivering the desired service levels.”

For most organizations asset management is simply driven by a cost-benefit analysis. But for gas and electric utilities, the service levels we strive for are 100% reliability and zero tolerance for safety incidents involving employees, contractors, or members of the public. These constraints have led to an entire new profession of Utility Asset Manager – they understand utility operations, the people who do the work, codes and standards, and a commitment to customers.

The WEI Operations Conference Asset Management Track has led this new profession for nearly a decade, bringing together key influencers and employees who do the work for yearlong conversations leading up to the annual WEI Operations Conference. Join this track in 2021 to learn about Asset Management strategies, decision making and new definitions of risk, as we will discussions of world class best practices through presentations and roundtable discussions.

GAS TRACKS

Damage Prevention
This track will explore best practices in reducing excavation damage to underground utility infrastructure utilizing risk analytic software and strategies that create an effective state damage prevention program. It will also look at how to foster good relationships between utilities and excavators and bridge communication gaps to reduce damages.

NG Green Future
Natural Gas Green Future will delve into how natural gas is key to our environmentally focused future. Session topics cover new industry focuses such as how to incorporate new pipeline fuels such as Renewable Natural Gas and Renewable Hydrogen in your pipeline system. Come join us as we explore the exciting future of our natural gas industry.

NG D&T Emergency Response + Restoration
Emergency response and restoration is of vital importance for any natural gas company. Learn how the industry handled some of the unique challenges of 2020 including wildfire response and civil unrest. Industry experts will also share some of the latest tools for Emergency Operations and Emergency Response.

NG D&T Integrity Management
This year’s Natural Gas Distribution & Transmission Integrity Management track will share lessons learned from operators on the Mega Rule, from multiple parties specific to material traceability, discuss current DIMP issues and how utilities are addressing them and strategies for retaining a developed workforce to reduce the potential integrity management risk associated with knowledge transfer.

NG Operational Excellence
This year’s Natural Gas Operational Excellence track focuses on technology, the latest innovations and trends to enhance gas delivery, quality assurance and safety.

ELECTRIC TRACKS

Grid Hardening
WEI’s Members see Grid Hardening as the new area for infrastructure improvements, upgrades to communications, and service to customers. Wildfires are not the only risk to the grid. The WEI Grid Hardening Track will address a variety of risks to the grid plus tools and solutions in what has become the largest Track in the history of the Operations Conference.

With twenty-five Members supporting the development of the 2021 Grid Hardening agenda, nearly 40 guest expert speakers, electric utility professionals involved in assessing and managing wildfire risk and other major events will find these six sessions impossible to miss.

Electric Distribution
Electric utility professionals meet to discuss current standards, materials and maintenance for distribution operations. Agendas include roundtable discussion so that each attendee has an opportunity to submit questions and receive feedback from their peers. Presentations focus on new technologies, applications, and specifications available for designing, building and maintaining overhead and underground lines. Attendees leave with the practical knowledge to improve efficiency, safety and reduce costs.

Evolving Grid Operations
Are you looking for ways to aid in evolving the grid and landscape of the operating room? Whether it is through leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and Energy loT platforms to reshape operational solutions, overcoming the hurdles that come with customer-owned microgrids, or how to do all this from afar, you will walk away with some great information. Join us as we tackle these issues and learn from each other during roundtable discussions.

Electric Substation
This track focuses on sharing experiences, solutions and current best practices in substation workforce development, new technology and its implementation, aging infrastructure, and changing security concerns.

Electric Transmission
This track focuses on sharing experiences, innovative solutions, and current best practices in meeting various challenges in the Transmission Sector. Sessions will cover workforce development, new technology and its implementation, aging infrastructure, wildfire prevention, changing security concerns, and compliance with safety and security regulations.

Program Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors
Black + Veatch-01Booz-01Burns + McDonnell-01Copperleaf-01 HDR-01Henkels + McCoy-01Honeywell-01Itron-01-01KPMG-01

Potelco-01Rokstad-01-01SAP-01Sheffield-01

Gold Sponsors
ActiveTelesource-01Acros-01Asplundh-01 Barnard-01HGCA-01      snelson_300dpiTDW-03-01The HDD Company-01vertexone logo w-tagline NEWWilson Construction-01