Western Region Mutual Assistance Agreement (WRMAA) Annual Meeting (Nov 06-07)

Nearly 15 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)
  • Robert Howell, Southern California Gas Company

    • Program Location
    • Miramonte Resort and Spa
    • 45000 Indian Wells Lane
      Indian Wells, California 92210
    • 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 Tuesday night, and breakfast and lunch on Wednesday. Guest tickets are available for $100 an allow for 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, Senior Program Manager at (971) 303-2118.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Registration + Check-In

Location: Ocotillo II Foyer

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Opening Keynote: 2017/18 Hurricane and Nor’easter Strategic and Policy Review
Speaker(s): Mike Menges, Senior Manager, Industry Response & Distribution Operations, Edison Electric Institute

We will discuss the process and outcome for an After Action Review (AAR) that looked at Strategic and Policy improvement opportunities for the 2017 Hurricanes and 2018 Nor’easter’s that impacted Edison Electric Institute (EEI), American Public Power Association (APPA) and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) member companies.

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM


2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Hot Topics Round Table Discussion
Facilitator(s): Robert Howell, Emergency Services Manager, Southern California Gas Company

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

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM


3:15 PM - 4:00 PM

2018 NRE Lessons Learned and Plans for 2019 NRE
Speaker(s): Mike Menges, Senior Manager, Industry Response & Distribution Operations, Edison Electric Institute

This will provide an overview of the 2018 National Response Event (NRE) exercise and review of the lessons learned for that event. And using the lessons learned, we will discuss how the design team will prepare for the 2019 NRE exercise

4:00 PM - 4:15 PM

WEI Support for AGA National Exercise Lessons Learned

WEI will provide a brief update on the role that WEI has leading the efforts for AGA's national exercise lessons learned.

4:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Wrap-Up and Close

4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Opening Reception

Location: Miramonte Terrace

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Catered Breakfast

Location: Ocotillo I

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Pre-Staging and Planning for Anticipated Events
Speaker(s): Lydia Mertyris, Program Coordinator, Emergency Planning and Preparedness, Hawaiian Electric Company, Michael Ho, Director, Hawaiian Electric Company, Bob Krekel, Director, Enterprise Performance Excellence - Execution, Hawaiian Electric Company

  • Pre-staging for an event
  • How do we send teams without equipment
  • Transporting equipment long distances (i.e. Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Hurricane Sandy)
  • Planning for physical resources in an expected storm
  • Lessons learned from Hawaii's hurricane preparation
  • How can responding utilities prepare for the event?

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM


9:15 AM - 10:15 AM

International Cross-Border Equipment Moving
Speaker(s): Greg Ryley, Emergency Manager, BC Hydro, Nick Labadie, Senior Distribution Line Manager, BC Hydro

BC leads with a presentation based on their own efforts and research, and then will facilitate a discussion on best practices/resources with the group.

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Good Coordination of Contracted Resources in Mutual Assistance Engagements
Facilitator(s): Dan Barnes, Electrical Service Manager, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Walter Rodriguez, Electrical Services Manager, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Mutual Assistance engagements are getting larger and more diversified. Response teams now include public utilities and contracted resources. Effective coordination of these resources is a key input to managing emergency response. We will have a discussion on best practices.

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

RAMP-up Tool and WRMAA (Part 1)
Speaker(s): Gail Royster, Senior Manager, Preparedness + Business Continuity, Edison Electric Institute, Mike Menges, Senior Manager, Industry Response & Distribution Operations, Edison Electric Institute

EEI shares a historical roadmap view of the RAMP-UP tool and how it is being used.  This presentation will be followed by an interactive discussion on how the tool is being used in the Western Region Mutual Assistance group and explore future opportunities.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

WEI-Hosted Lunch

Please indicate dietary restrictions with your registration.

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

RAMP-up Tool and WRMAA (Part 2)

We continue the discussion on future use of RAMP-up for WRMAA Members in incidents.

1:30 PM - 2:15 PM

WRMAA Annual Business Meeting

  • History of WRMAA and the WRMAG
  • Active WRMAA Members
  • WRMAA Custodian Role
  • Supporting Technologies – RAMP-up Discussion
  • Attachment B Update Process
  • WRMAA + WRMAG Executive Committee Elections

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM


2:30 PM - 3:15 PM

WRMAA Activation Exercise Part 1

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.

For the example, we preview a National Mock Drill exercise that WEI is leading for AGA's members.

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM


3:30 PM - 4:15 PM

WRMAA Activation Exercise Part 2

Part 2 of the Activation Exercise will be an open discussion for process improvements.

4:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Wrap-Up and Close

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Women in Energy Symposium Welcome Reception

RSVP required.

WRMAA participants are invited to join colleagues from other utilities at the Women in Energy Symposium welcome reception. Discounted registration for the Symposium is provided to WRMAA participants.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 237-2926 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $179 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until October 16, 2018 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Nick Labadie

BC Hydro

Senior Distribution Line Manager

Greg Ryley

BC Hydro

Emergency Manager

Mike Menges

Edison Electric Institute

Senior Manager, Industry Response & Distribution Operations

Lydia Mertyris

Hawaiian Electric Company

Program Coordinator, Emergency Planning and Preparedness
Learn More

Lydia serves as the Program Manager for the Hawaiian Electric Companies Emergency Planning and Preparedness Department. In her role, she is tasked with boosting the Companies’ capabilities and readiness to respond to emergency situations and help her local communities get back on their feet. She is also responsible for the development and implementation of ICS training programs and curriculum for all employees to ensure appropriate actions and responses during emergency situations.

Gail Royster

Edison Electric Institute

Senior Manager, Preparedness + Business Continuity

Michael Ho

Hawaiian Electric Company


Robert Howell

Southern California Gas Company

Emergency Services Manager

Robert Krekel

Hawaiian Electric Company

Director, Enterprise Performance Excellence - Execution

Dan Barnes

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Electrical Service Manager

Walter Rodriguez

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Electrical Services Manager