Secondary Network (Sep 12-14)

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.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Daniel Honeyfield, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

    • Program Location
    • Embassy Suites - Sacramento Riverfront Promenade
    • 100 Capital Mall
      Sacramento, CA 95814
    • 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: $599 USD
    Regular: $1,199 USD

    Registration prices increase $100 after August 21, 2018. Registration price 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.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Registration + Breakfast

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Welcome and Introductions
Speaker(s): Paul Lau, Chief Grid Strategy & Operations Officer, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Redeveloping Confined Space Practices
Speaker(s): James Price, Manager, Trades, EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

This presentation is about EPCOR Distribution and Transmission’s journey towards the development of a company wide Confined Space Code of Practice that is practical and compliant to applicable acts, code & legislation, as well as the realization that confined space emergency preparedness is more than mere words in a procedure.

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Rebuilding a Network Substation
Speaker(s): David Fuke, Sr. Distribution System Engineer, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Relocating a network substation is a major effort involving relocating three 12 kV networks from the old substation to the new with minimal customer disruption all the while consolidating from three to two networks. This presentation will include information on the extensive planning and preparation that went into the proposal, taking advantage of the opportunity to consolidate networks, a discussion of the cutover work itself, protection schemes for the new network substation, and other challenges.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Dissolved Gas Analysis
Speaker(s): Maria Ly, Manager, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Maria Ly will share the PG&E process for sampling and analyzing network transformer oil, as well as trigger points of dissolved gas, di-electric and moisture for corrective actions.

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Roundtable Discussion
Facilitator(s): Tom Thode, Operations Manager, Xcel Energy Inc.

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM


3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Grounding of Secondary Networks
Speaker(s): Sheikh Nahyaan, Babak Jamali, Vice President - Operations, METSCO Energy Solutions Inc., Tony Nguyen, Control Room Supervisor, Toronto Hydro

Ensuring worker safety through proper isolation and grounding procedures must receive a high priority when maintaining distribution cables and equipment in vaults. Depending on the type of work required, studies and testing may show that “selective grounding” may be sufficient to ensure that touch and step potentials remain within allowable limits for all possible system contingencies, resulting in a reduction in the required number of visits by staff to hazardous locations. Explore Toronto Hydro’s secondary network grounding analysis through the review of current grounding and isolation procedures, a grounding model for primary feeders with network transformers, and the outcome of the model when “selective grounding” is in place.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Roundtable Discussion
Facilitator(s): Daniel Honeyfield, Manager, T&D Maintenance Planning, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Hosted dinner

Sponsored by Richards Manufacturing Company

Joe's Crab Shack
1210 Front Street
Sacramento, CA 95814 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Vault Overview + Tour

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

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Lunch with Vendor Displays

Sponsored by DIGITALGRID, INC.

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Structural Rehabilitation of Downtown Vaults & Manholes
Speaker(s): Linda Giovannoni, Senior Civil Engineer, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Tim Sholl, General Manager, Hamilton Pacific, Inc.

This presentation will provide an overview SMUD’s program for the structural rehabilitation of Downtown vaults and manholes. The presentation will discuss what common structural deficiencies are found, the assessment process, and the various rehabilitation methods utilized.

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Roundtable Discussion
Facilitator(s): Daniel Honeyfield, Manager, T&D Maintenance Planning, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Break with Vendor Displays

Sponsored by United Instruments, Inc.

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 (Dinner on your own)

Sponsored by ABB Inc.

Friday, September 14, 2018

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Safety Rescue Case Study
Speaker(s): James Price, Manager, Trades, EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

On January 10th, 2018, an underground cable fault occurred with enough energy to dislodge a manhole lid several meters from a structure located in a busy downtown sidewalk. Soon after the incident a member of the public fell into the open and unsecured manhole, requiring rescue by emergency services. The presentation will cover the lessons learned from the incident and helped re-examine our views on emergency preparedness with our confined spaces.

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Roundtable Discussion
Facilitator(s): Daniel Honeyfield, Manager, T&D Maintenance Planning, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Training for Network Personnel
Speaker(s): Matt Fisher, Cable Splicer/Electrician Foreman, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Hear how different utilities built their apprenticeship and training programs.

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Wrap Up

Discussion on future agenda, topics, and locations.

Hotel + Travel

  • Embassy Suites - Sacramento Riverfront Promenade
  • 100 Capital Mall
  • Sacramento, California 95814
  • Phone: 916 326-5000

  • Click here to make your reservation now.
  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 362-2779 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $219 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until August 21, 2018 or until the WEI room block is full.

Vendor Displays

Registration Options
Member Attendee + Vendor Display Table: $899 USD
Regular Attendee + Vendor Display Table: $1,849 USD
+ Vendor Assistant: $275

Registration prices increase $100 after August 21, 2018. 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.

Vendor Display Schedule
Thursday, September 13
6:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Set up
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Lunch available for vendors
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Lunch with vendor displays
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM: Break with vendor displays
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Vendor’s Platform
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM: Reception with vendor displays
6:30 PM – 11:00 PM: Tear down

Vendor Display Map

PPE Information

PPE Requirements for Sacramento Municipal Utility District vault tour:

1. Hard Hat Class E
2. Z87 rated safety glasses
3. Closed toe shoes (hiking or working boots preferred)
4. FR HRC2 Clothing with a minimum ATPV of 8 cals/cm2

SMUD will have a limited supply of safety glasses and hard hats to loan. Photo ID may be required to attend the tour. Please contact Beverly Jones Woolf with any questions on PPE requirements.


Thank you to our session sponsors!


Meet The Speakers

Tom Thode

Xcel Energy Inc.

Operations Manager

Paul Lau

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Chief Grid Strategy & Operations Officer
Learn More

As Chief Grid Strategy & Operations Officer, Paul Lau is responsible for the operations of SMUD’s power markets, transmission and distribution grids, including the Balancing Authority of Northern California (BANC), the development of a holistic smart grid strategy and SMUD’s research & development programs. Departments under his direction include Energy Trading & Contracts, Grid Operations, Grid Planning, Energy Strategy, Research & Development, Distribution System Operations, and Resources & New Business Strategy. He is the executive sponsor for SMUD’s deployment of advanced metering infrastructure and smart grid initiatives.

Lau is an Executive Board Member & Commissioner of the Transmission Agency of Northern California and the Balancing Authority of Northern California. He also serves on the board for the Smart Electric Power Alliance. Locally, he is the Past Chair of the Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce.

Active in international energy issues, Lau serves as a delegate with the United States Energy Association, where he has helped with electrification, operations, and demand-side management in countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Jordan.

A registered professional electrical engineer in the state of California, Lau has more than 30 years of utility experience. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical power engineering from California State University, Sacramento. He also is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum.

James Price

EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

Manager, Trades
Learn More

James is an Operations Manager at EPCOR Distribution & Transmission Inc., the municipal owned utility for the City of Edmonton, responsible for the operations of underground distribution and secondary network trades personnel. James has been with EPCOR since 1999 and has held many roles in multiple lines of business within the parent company of EPCOR Utilities Inc., such as electrical technologist, project manager, operations manager, and plant maintenance manager. Prior to EPCOR Distribution and Transmission, James worked in EPCOR Water as the electrical maintenance manager at the wastewater treatment plant, and at EPCOR Technologies in the areas of streetlighting, traffic signals, and Light Rail Transit. James makes his home in Edmonton, with his wife Janelle and his daughters Kennedy and Sarah.

David Fuke

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Sr. Distribution System Engineer
Learn More

David Fuke is a Senior Distribution System Engineer in Distribution Planning currently responsible for network planning, a role he has fulfilled for almost 15 years. Prior to that he oversaw system planning for the Natomas region in Sacramento and also worked in Substation Design and System Protection. He joined SMUD in 1996 as a student and has lived in Sacramento since 1980. Prior to that, he traveled the world following his Air Force father around, including living in Germany for six years.

Maria Ly

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Learn More

Maria is the Manager of the Distribution Networks which serve downtown San Francisco and Oakland in Northern California. She has been with Pacific Gas & Electric for over 28 years, in various technical and leadership roles. Maria has an Electrical Engineering degree from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, and is a registered PE in California. She is a native San Franciscan and enjoys spending time with family and friends and serving the community.

Linda Giovannoni

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Senior Civil Engineer
Learn More

Linda Giovannoni is a Senior Civil Engineer at Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) who began her career at SMUD in 2011, when she joined the Civil Engineering Group in Grid Assets. Over the last seven years, Linda has been involved in the design and construction of substations, transmission and distribution overhead line projects, and underground network projects. In 2017, Linda became the PM for SMUD’s manhole and vault structural rehabilitation program. Before coming to SMUD, Linda worked at a structural engineering firm for three years. Linda received her BS in Civil engineering from California State University, Chico in 2008 and professional engineering license (PE) in 2010. Linda is married and has two young sons.

Matt Fisher

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Cable Splicer/Electrician Foreman

Babak Jamali

METSCO Energy Solutions Inc.

Vice President - Operations
Learn More

Mr. Jamali a professional engineer with about 20 years of experience in power systems. He specializes in system planning studies, power system modeling and analysis, substation design, protection and controls, and ground grid investigations. He has significant hands-on experience in conducting power system static and dynamic simulation studies with power industry’s standard software tools.

Daniel Honeyfield

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Manager, T&D Maintenance Planning
Learn More

Daniel Honeyfield joined Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in August 2015 as a Principal Electrical Engineer. In January 2017, he was promoted into his current role as the Engineering Manager of Transmission & Distribution Maintenance Planning where he oversees the development of yearly Operation & Maintenance (O&M) and Capital plans for all SMUD-owned substations and transmission & distribution lines that ensure SMUD’s compliance with Federal & State regulations.

With over 14 years in the utility industry, Daniel’s experience combines both private business and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining SMUD, Daniel worked for the City of Riverside Public Utilities from 2007 – 2015 with increasing responsibilities. His last role there was utilities senior electric engineer where he supervised professional and technical personnel in their Electric System Planning Department. His previous employment also includes engineering roles at Jacobs Engineering from 2006 – 2007 and Verizon from 2004 – 2006. Daniel received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and his MBA, with emphasis in Technology Management, from the University of Phoenix. He also holds a PE license with the state of California. He is married and has two children, Leah and Nolan.

Tony Nguyen

Toronto Hydro

Control Room Supervisor
Learn More

Mr. Nguyen is a Control Room supervisor at Toronto Hydro. In his more than 20-year career at Toronto Hydro, he has held variety professional engineering and supervisory roles in the areas of project management, design engineering and operations. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering & registered with Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario.

Tim Sholl

Hamilton Pacific, Inc.

General Manager