Western Utilities Financial Forum (Aug 30-31)

The Western Utilities Financial Forum, formerly known as the NW Utilities Financial Forum, is a place for senior accounting and finance leaders from around western North America to gather and share best practices related to working in the energy industry. Our leaders play a pivotal role in the strategic direction and growth of their utilities and this forum provides a unique opportunity to come together in an exclusive peer to peer environment to address challenges and explore best practices in all issues related to accounting and financial management.

Register Now

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Veronica Wittig, Accounting Officer, Bonneville Power Administration

    • Program Location
    • Hilton Portland Downtown
    • 921 SW 6th Ave Portland, OR 97204
    • Who Should Attend
      • Chief Financial Officers
      • Controllers
      • Senior leaders in accounting and finance
  • Registration Options
  • Member: $399 USD
    Regular: $499 USD

    Registration provides access to all Western Utilities Financial Forum agenda items and meeting materials. Registration includes a networking reception on Tuesday evening as well as catered breakfast, lunch, light snacks, and beverages at the meeting.

  • 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 Amy Nye, Program Manager at (971) 303-2119.


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Welcome Reception

Join us for a WEI hosted networking reception within walking distance from the Hilton. Enjoy a taco bar, drinks, bowling, and more!

Punch Bowl Social
340 SW Morrison Street
Suite #4305
Portland, OR 97204
(503) 334-0360

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Registration + Networking Breakfast

Arrive early to register and network with peers over continental breakfast.

9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Welcome + Industry Address
Facilitator(s): Veronica Wittig, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Bonneville Power Administration
Speaker(s): Joel Cook, Chief Operating Officer, Bonneville Power Administration

The host utility will welcome the group to Portland, followed by an industry address from Joel Cook, Chief Operating Officer at Bonneville Power Administration.

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM

Networking Break

10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Roundtable Breakout Sessions

This time is designated for attendees to get to know their peers through introductions and self-faciliated roundtable discussion. Come prepared to discuss “top of mind” issues and challenges that you and your team are currently experiencing. There will be three breakout sessions to choose from based on your role at your utility:

  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Controllers + Directors
  • Finance + Accounting Managers/Supervisors

11:45 AM - 12:45 PM

Networking Lunch

A hot lunch will be provided onsite.

12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Speaker(s): Jonathan Steinberg, Director, PwC

This interactive session will give attendees the opportunity to interact with peers and gain deeper insight into current accounting and reporting hot topics in the industry. This session will cover items relevant to companies in the Power & Utilities sector, including the FASBs projects on sustainability linked financing and regulatory credits, investments in tax credit structures and current areas of focus for the SEC, in addition to an overview of upcoming GASB Standards.

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM

Networking Break

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

CFO Panel
Moderator(s): Jeffrey Miller, Principal | Strategy and Transactions, EY
Panelist(s): Marcus Harris, Acting Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Bonneville Power Administration, Kelly Boyd, CFO / CRO, Chelan County PUD, Brian Buckham, Chief Financial Officer, Idaho Power Company

Hear from a dynamic panel of CFOs on the current challenges and opportunities in finance and the energy industry.

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Networking Break

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Multi-Year Rate Plans
Speaker(s): Kyle McNamara, Director Advisory, Finance Transformation, KPMG LLP, Ken Wiegand, Director, Infrastructure & Projects Advisory, KPMG LLP

As utilities increasingly look to fund large investments in grid modernization, renewables integration, and responses to catastrophic events, more and more states are looking at adopting forward-looking, multi-year rate plans (MYRP). Regulators see forward-looking MYRP test years as an efficient way to set rates and avoid a continuous stream of rate cases to fund these initiatives, and the investment community sees them favorably as they reduce regulatory lag. Forward-looking ratemaking demands a higher level of forecasting accuracy and better visibility and insights into portfolio and pipeline management. We will discuss key areas to consider as utilities evolve their planning operating models to meet MYRP requirements in this changing regulatory environment.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (503) 226-1611 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) to receive a special rate of $225 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until August 10, 2022 or until the WEI room block is full.

Onsite Safety + Health Info

Effective August 18, 2022, proof of vaccination status or results of a negative COVID-19 test will not be required for admittance into most WEI-hosted programs.

WEI continues to monitor all federal level CDC, Canadian government and public health agency recommendations, as well as local ordinances, as a policy baseline for in-person programs. We encourage all attendees to review the current guidelines related to isolation and precautions prior to traveling to a WEI event, as well as guidance for traveling to and from Canada, which may differ from guidance for traveling to or from the United States.

Some WEI-hosted programs may require proof of vaccination status, if essential for participation, in which case WEI will communicate this requirement in advance of the program start date.

Please refer to WEI’s Safety + Health Code of Conduct for other important considerations.

Meet The Speakers

Veronica Wittig

Bonneville Power Administration

Deputy Chief Financial Officer

Marcus Harris

Bonneville Power Administration

Acting Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Kyle McNamara


Director Advisory, Finance Transformation

Kelly Boyd

Chelan County PUD


Ken Wiegand


Director, Infrastructure & Projects Advisory

Jeffrey Miller


Principal | Strategy and Transactions
Learn More

Jeff Miller leads EY-Parthenon’s Americas Power & Utilities (P&U) Strategy practice. During his 25 years consulting to energy and utility companies, Jeff has helped his clients execute on transformation efforts addressing generation transition and deployment of renewable assets, cost and operational performance improvement, Energy Delivery capability development, innovation, advanced analytics, and electric vehicle infrastructure.

He has published articles and has spoken at numerous industry conference on topics ranging from energy industry transition, the levers of long-term value, and the capabilities required of the future distribution utility.

Jeff received his MBA from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jonathan Steinberg


Learn More

Jon Steinberg is a Director in PwC’s National office, primarily serving clients in the Utilities and sustainable energy practice. Jon’s experiences include; advising on mergers, acquisitions, capital raising transactions and SEC reporting issues, performing audits under US GAAS and PCAOB guidelines for companies applying various accounting frameworks including US GAAP, GASB, IFRS, and FERC; assisting companies with complex accounting issues; and advising on implementation of the new revenue and lease accounting standard. Jon has been based in PwC’s Portland, Oregon office, in addition to completing a tour in London, UK, serving PwCs UK utility clients and advising on internal controls.

Brian Buckham

Idaho Power Company

Chief Financial Officer

Joel Cook

Bonneville Power Administration

Chief Operating Officer
Learn More

Joel Cook was named chief operating officer in April 2021. He is responsible for Power Services; Transmission Services; Environment, Fish and Wildlife; Customer Support Services; and the Business Transformation Office.

Cook’s focus as COO will be to sustain BPA’s focus on competitiveness, grid modernization and customer responsiveness as the agency approaches negotiations for new, long-term wholesale power contracts with its 142 northwest electric utility customers.

Cook has spent his entire career in the energy and electric utility industry. He joined BPA in 2017 as the senior vice president of Power Services. Previously, he served as the vice president of Retail Marketing and Western Trading at Talen Energy in Allentown, Pennsylvania. At Talen, one of the largest independent power producers in the United States, Cook oversaw western marketing and trading operations; eastern competitive retail electric and natural gas marketing; and 13 mechanical engineering and construction companies. He began his career in the energy and electric utility industry with Montana Power Company.

Cook has over 30 years’ experience in wholesale and retail energy commodity sales, marketing, trading, supply, operations and risk management. His commodity expertise includes electric, natural gas, coal, renewable energy, oil, petroleum products and nuclear fuel.

Cook has a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Montana, and a Bachelor of Science in petroleum engineering from the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology.