Western Region Mutual Assistance Agreement (WRMAA) Annual Meeting (Nov 04-06)

Nearly 20 years ago the Western Region Mutual Assistance Agreement was adopted by many gas and electric utilities throughout Western North America to support one another in the event of emergencies affecting generation, transmission, distribution, or other business operations. Parties involved in the WRMAA twice annually to share best practices, discuss key emergency response issues, and in the fall, review the agreement itself and name the annual custodian.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • John Padilla, Emergency Event Management Coordinator, Arizona Public Service Co.

    • Program Location
    • Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix
    • 2 East Jefferson Street
      Phoenix, Arizona 85004
    • Who Should Attend
      • Parties to the Western Region Mutual Assistance Agreement
      • Emergency management coordinators
      • Disaster recovery planners
      • Directors of business continuity planning
      • Managers of emergency preparedness and response
      • Safety specialists
  • Registration Options
  • Member: $649 USD
    Regular: $1,259 USD

    Registration includes all attendee materials, reception Monday night, breakfast and lunch Tuesday, and breakfast Wednesday. Guest tickets are available for $50 and allow a personal guest (a spouse or partner who does not work in the energy industry) to accompany a registered attendee at the event. Guest registration includes all meals and receptions, and all program materials.

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


Monday, November 4, 2019

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM

WRMAG Executive Meeting

WRMAG Executive Committee Members Only

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Registration + Badge Pickup

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Welcome Reception

Come join your colleagues in a private welcome reception at the hotel.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Catered Full Breakfast

Please identify any dietary restrictions with your registration.

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Introductions and Opening Roundtable
Facilitator(s): John Padilla, Emergency Event Management Coordinator, Arizona Public Service Company

What are your current issues? Learn what others are facing and where we can work collaboratively to resolve common issues and leverage each other's experiences. Each person should be prepared to share recent successes and challenges that they and their organizations have experienced over the last year.

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Logistics = Success
Speaker(s): Lydia Mertyris, Emergency Planning & Preparedness Program Manager, Hawaiian Electric Company

Lessons learned from Hawaiian Electric’s mutual assistance assistance to PG&E during the Camp Fire restoration effort.

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM


10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Roundtable - Building a Robust Incident Command System Team
Facilitator(s): Marybeth O'Leary, Emergency Management Specialist, Bonneville Power Administration

We will discuss innovative ways to increase our readiness as it relates to and IMT and other ICS topics. Come prepared to discuss your own experiences building, leading, and maintaining an effective Incident Command System program.

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM


11:15 AM - 12:00 PM

Emergency Management Maturity Model Discussion
Speaker(s): Tony Tewelis, General Manager Transmission & Distribution Ops & Maintenance, Arizona Public Service Company

Arizona Public Service Co. welcomes the Western Region Mutual Assistance Group to Arizona to discuss leadership in Operations and how mutual assistance fits within the company - both today and where we are going in the future.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Mock It Up
Speaker(s): T.M. Sandulak, Manager, Emergency Management, FortisBC

This 90-minute discussion will talk about emergency exercises, the “why” for organizations to look at them as a way to learn, develop and test their resilience to emergencies or disasters. T.M. will run through some scenarios used by FortisBC in their 20+ annual exercises and facilitate discussion on challenges in promoting emergency exercises in your organization, and some possible strategies to overcome them. 

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Assistance from the Same Company - Alaska Earthquake
Speaker(s): John Lau, Vice President, Operations, ENSTAR Natural Gas Company

ENSTAR Natural Gas experienced a significant earthquake last November. Although they didn’t call for assistance through WRMAA, they did bring labor from their sister company SEMCO in Michigan. Our presenter provides a short synopsis of how ENSTAR handled ramifications from a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM


3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

AEIC Mutual Assistance Restoration Coordination (“MARC”) Web-Based Tool Demo
Speaker(s): Nancy Sacré, Grid Operations Program Manager, Southern California Edison

A new Mutual Assistance Restoration Coordination tool is being developed in coordination with the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies. This application may be used as a shared platform to submit rosters for responding utility contingents during mutual assistance restoration engagements and to assist management of resources and the development of accompanying work assignments.

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

2019-2020 Winter Seasonal Outlook for the Western U.S.
Facilitator(s): Ken Carrier, Industry Manager, Utilities, StormGeo, Inc.
Speaker(s): Fred Schmude, Senior Scientist for Long Range Weather Forecasting, StormGeo, Inc.

A deep analysis of the planetary teleconnections that will drive the weather patterns in the Western U.S. during this coming winter season.

4:00 PM - 4:45 PM

Partner Utility Details Template Working Groups
Facilitator(s): Ben Feliz, Transmission & Distribution Manager, Clark Public Utilities, David White, Manager of Line Const, Trouble, HEAT and Emergency Response, Tucson Electric Power, Robert Howell, Manager, Pipeline Safety & Compliance and Emergency Management, Southern California Gas Company, Lydia Mertyris, Emergency Planning & Preparedness Program Manager, Hawaiian Electric Company, Edgardo Estanislao, Manager, Engineering Services, Southwest Gas Corporation

We break out into facilitated groups to review the second draft "Partner Utility Details Template" that is being proposed as a new Attachment to the agreement.

4:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Day 1 Close

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Hotel Sponsored Social Hour

Location: 2nd floor, Living Room

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Catered Full Breakfast

8:00 AM - 8:45 AM

WRMAG Annual Business Meeting

Up for election is a four-year term for a position on the Executive Committee. This position is limited to publicly owned electric utility employees. Additionally, the following business items are on the agenda:
* Formally adopt updating Operating Procedures.

8:45 AM - 9:15 AM

In Case of Crisis App Demonstration
Speaker(s): Nancy Sacré, Grid Operations Program Manager, Southern California Edison

In Case of Crisis is a mobile App that Southern California Edison sponsors for the RMAG. Within the App there is a WRMAG Toolkit with information that can be accessed anytime, even without a WiFi or cellular connection.
– Access provided free to all WRMAA Attachment B Incident and Authorizing contacts
– Provides WRMAA Executive Committee and company contacts, a WRMAA parties list, and national incident contacts
– Includes WRMAA documentation
– Procedures for joint conference calls

9:15 AM - 9:30 AM


9:30 AM - 11:30 AM

WRMAA Activation Exercise and and Closing Roundtable

We will walk through all the steps in a formal WRMAA activation request, including the process and technology that is used. We will also look for ways to improve the process so that Members know what to do when help is needed.

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Day 2 Close and WRMAA Annual Business Meeting Adjourn

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at 1 (800) – KIMPTON to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) and use the discount code ‘HJV’ to receive a special rate of $219 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until October 18, 2019 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

TM Sandulak


Manager, Emergency Management

Lydia Mertyris

Hawaiian Electric Company

Emergency Planning & Preparedness Program Manager

Nancy Sacré

Southern California Edison

Grid Operations Program Manager

John Lau

ENSTAR Natural Gas Company

Vice President, Operations

Ben Feliz

Clark Public Utilities

Transmission & Distribution Manager

Robert Howell

Southern California Gas Company

Manager, Pipeline Safety & Compliance and Emergency Management

Edgardo Estanislao

Southwest Gas Corporation

Manager, Engineering Services

David White

Tucson Electric Power

Manager of Line Const, Trouble, HEAT and Emergency Response

Marybeth O’Leary

Bonneville Power Administration

Emergency Management Specialist

John Padilla

Arizona Public Service Company

Emergency Event Management Coordinator

Ken Carrier

StormGeo, Inc.

Industry Manager, Utilities

Fred Schmude

StormGeo, Inc.

Senior Scientist for Long Range Weather Forecasting
Learn More

“Long-range weather forecasting is a key element in what clients are looking for now. They are getting hit with weather and they want to make sure they’re not caught off-guard again. They also know we have this service. Clients are catching on to the idea that there’s something they can do. It’s not that they can change, divert or prevent the weather, but they can be pro-active and plan for it.”

With degrees in Meteorology and Geology, in addition to solar expertise, Fred holds a set of skills that have earned him many titles throughout his career, including: aviation meteorologist, offshore/marine meteorologist, and manager of StormGeo’s Onshore team of forecasters.

Fred’s interest in meteorology was sparked at the age of 12, when it snowed in Houston, Texas a record three times in 1973.

“This was the trigger – it ‘snowballed’ from there. I listened to the weather guys on TV, switching back and forth between all the networks, and got in the habit of watching the weather and learning the weather.”

Fred started out as an aviation meteorologist and weather map drawer for Universal Weather and Aviation in 1990, where his main duties included pilot briefings, weather map drawing over the U.S. Europe and Asia, and marine forecasting. During this time, he was also a consultant for a small group of land-based clients over the Southern U.S.

“ImpactWeather was formed in the mid-1990s to support land-based, tropical and marine clients and I became the 6th forecaster in that group. My experience expanded to include severe storm, winter storm, tropical and long-range forecasting.”

Fred worked his way up from a shift forecaster to a supervisor, and eventually to the manager of the StormWatch team. ImpactWeather then became a part of StormGeo, where Fred is currently a Senior Scientist for Long Range Forecasting, predicting temperature, precipitation and wind based on long range global weather indices and solar interactions affecting climate.

In addition to training a team of StormGeo forecasters involved in long-range weather prediction, Fred brings his geological expertise to the table by helping clients to better understand how they may be affected by phenomena such as tsunamis and earthquakes. This includes earthquake and volcanic monitoring and assessment.

Tony Tewelis

Arizona Public Service Company

General Manager Transmission & Distribution Ops & Maintenance