Secondary Network (Sep 23-25)

Secondary networks are vital to systems that support power needs in urban areas. These interconnected pathways improve reliability, but are also complex to inspect and maintain. This annual forum addresses the reliability, safety and protection challenges of spot networks and grid systems that comprise the secondary network. Designed as an open forum, attendees are encouraged to bring their challenges and opportunities for discussion and to share best practices. Attendees also get the chance to tour the local vaults of the host organization.

Register Now

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Ryan Bradeen, Avista

    • Program Location
    • The Historic Davenport, Autograph Collection
    • 10 South Post Street Spokane, WA 99201
    • Who Should Attend
    • Utility professionals involved with power distribution reliability planning, engineering, operation, standardization, protection & control, and power quality analysis of secondary spot network and grid systems will gain valuable insights and networking from attending this annual program. In addition, service company professionals who offer support to any aspect of the secondary network system are welcome to attend. 

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $649 USD
    Regular: $999 USD

    Registration prices increase $100 after August 24, 2020. Registration includes conference materials and food events.

    For vendor registration options, please see the Vendor Displays tab.

  • 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. Recording is not permitted for any portion of the event.
  • For more information contact Traci Pepper, Program Manager at (503) 688-2798.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Registration + Networking Breakfast

8:00 AM - 8:15 AM

Keynote Speaker
Speaker(s): Heather Rosentrater, Senior Vice President, Energy Delivery and Shared Services, Avista Utilities

Join us as Heather Rosentrater, Senior Vice President, Energy Delivery and Shared Services with Avista Utilities opens the Secondary Network Conference.

8:15 AM - 8:45 AM

Welcome and Introductions

8:45 AM - 10:45 AM

A Collaborative Approach to Energy Emergencies

Energy emergencies are on the rise across the US.  It is often our National First Responders who are asked to operate in this invisible and lethal environment…and they are dangerously unprepared.   This class will highlight the importance of bringing Energy and First Responders together long before there is a problem. The presentation will showcase the relationship formed between Seattle City Light and the Seattle Fire Department and the creation the nation's first Fire Department Energy Response Team. 

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Networking Break

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Infrastructure failures and warning signs

Many network systems date back 130 years and they were built with brick and mortar. Some network systems are taking an aggressive approach to proactive replacements of manholes, vaults, and duct banks. In network systems, it can be difficult at best to build new or rebuild in place. This has not stopped some utilities in the downtown cores. Civil engineers like Landen Grant from Avista, or utilities like Eugene Water and Electric and Alabama Power are taking action. Their enthusiasm and ability to think outside the box is invigorating while replacing the tired old infrastructure. These perspectives are some of the best in regard to network systems and how to build infrastructure while keeping the lights on in the city. Join us and see in this unique and informative three-way presentation

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Networking Lunch

1:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Helicopters to the rescue

Join Rick Kernan, a Network specialist with Xcel Energy, as he reviews how Colorado was able to be strategic and think outside the box for solutions during a recent network protector replacement project. Xcel has taken a stance against safety and is on a path of destruction to replace all live front breakers with dead front designs. This is a heavy task given that much of the network system is built into the design of the downtown Denver high rises and are many stories off the ground. Learn how network crews recently replaced several network protectors with the help of helicopters and their ingenuity. The project was a perfect safety success and set a high standard for coordination and replacements in the future.

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Networking Break

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Building Community Vitality within the Downtown Core

In this day and age, as infrastructure is failing, the importance of working together with businesses, customers and government agencies is exuberantly important. In the heart of most cities lies a network system that serves its customers on an old but redundant footprint. With many utilities, and cities, taking a collaborative approach to building community vitality, we see that this approach has proven to be effective and less impactful to business and communities. We will hear from both Avista and SMUD on how they engage with their community through multiple channels and see presentation that will touch on several of these channels, specifically with their secondary-network customers. The panel discussion after, will allow attendees the opportunity to learn tricks, common practices and ways to work together for the greater good

6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Hosted Networking Dinner

Thursday, September 24, 2020

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Networking Breakfast

8:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Tour of Avista’s New Network Operations Headquarters

Avista staff will lead a guided tour of their new state of the art Network Operations Headquarters to include:
Mock vault (mock rescues)
Equipment/ materials
ARC GIS network mapping

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Networking Lunch with Vendor Displays

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Vault Tours

Avista staff will lead a guided vault tour 0f 5 vaults and be available to answer questions. Appropriate PPE is required to go into the vaults so each person needs to bring their own gear as detailed on the PPE Information tab on the WEI website.

1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Industry Topic/Roundtable

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Networking Break with Vendor Displays

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Vendor's Platform

Learn about new products, issues, and major product changes during the vendor platform. Each vendor will give a brief presentation.

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Reception with Vendors

Friday, September 25, 2020

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Outage restoration for network system

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM


10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Impacts of COVID-19 Outbreak on the Electric Utility System Lead

We will be discussing how the COVID-19 Corona Virus outbreak affected the Electric Utility System and our employees. The group will discuss varies issues around preparedness, how it affected emergency response, how work was staged or put off, how it affected employees, meeting locations, and even budgets. The panel will consist of leaders from across the United States in various regions to see how similarly and how differently we dealt with the same pandemic response.

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Wrap Up

Discussion on future agenda, topics, and locations.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 228-9290 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) to receive a special rate of $169 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until August 31, 2020 or until the WEI room block is full.

Vendor Displays

Registration Options
Member Attendee + Vendor Display Table: $949 USD
Regular Attendee + Vendor Display Table: $1,849 USD
+ Vendor Assistant: $275

Registration prices increase $100 after August 24, 2020. Registration Includes materials and food events for the full conference in addition to one skirted display table for Thursday only and an invitation to participate in the Vendor’s Platform presentation.

Vendor assistant passes are available for $275 once the main vendor registration is complete and includes attendance and meals on Thursday only.

Meet The Speakers

Heather Rosentrater

Avista Utilities

Senior Vice President, Energy Delivery and Shared Services