Award-Winning Energy Journalist Marty Rosenberg kicked off the two-day event with a panel discussion with the Director of Transmission Planning, Regulatory, and Innovations at LADWP and the Senior Vice President at Edison International. Simon Zewdu (LADWP) and Drew Murphy (Edison International) discussed how they optimize their utility operations to thrive and better serve customers amidst the unprecedented challenges both utilities and customers face. LADWP is the nation’s largest municipal power utility serving four million residents. Edison International serves 15 million customers and owns Southern California Edison, one of the largest electric utilities in America.
Utilities discussed strategic initiatives, solutions, and vendor case studies highlighting recent innovations and practical examples from project successes. Agenda topics included sessions on data preparation and understanding of business drivers, predictive analytics and understanding of the digital ecosystem for next-level customer engagement, metrics needed for growth in the digital age, and enabling technology to improve operations, meet growing demand, and address business model sustainability challenges.
Industry experts, TMG’s boots-on-the-ground consultants that work directly with utilities, various industry solution providers and partners, and energy journalist Marty Rosenberg took a deep dive into some of the challenges facing utilities and their customers. Among the utilities attending were The City of Lubbock, Eversource Energy, The City of Mesa, Edison International, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), Pasadena Water & Power, Southern California Edison, Con Ed, Nashville Electric Services, and Southwest Gas Corporation.
In the Keynote Panel, Optimizing Opportunities Around Unprecedented Challenges, Simon Zewdu and Drew Murphy discussed how they are optimizing their utility operations to thrive and better serve customers. Utilities must meet current customer needs and industry needs that align with future regulatory requirements. Murphy, Senior Vice President of Edison International, shared, “…to go past the grid, go past the stuff we are going to do, and there’s all the electrification of our state economy that must happen; this is the other part. It is really a two-pronged strategy that we see: Continue to clean up the power system and make it reliable. We must electrify a huge amount of the rest of the economy focused primarily on the transportation sector.”
Adding to the discussion was LADWP’s Simon Zewdu, Director of Transmission Planning, Regulatory, and Innovations. “What does the grid need to look like over the coming 20 to 25 years to accommodate not only just higher load? I think that’s one of the things that came out of our work. It is that it’s not just about the absolute amount of electricity that’s being delivered to our customers to the traditional definition of load. What’s going to go on that’s more transformational is the complexity of the grid and what that will need to look like.
I think there is a fundamental reason why Los Angeles must be in the driver’s seat. As many of you have heard for years, Los Angeles has been ranked against the worst air quality in the United States and cities within the US. Communities across Los Angeles, affluent and non-affluent, have been exposed to greenhouse gas emissions, and the air quality has been continuously deteriorating. It was not getting better, so it was necessary for bold action; it was necessary to go above and beyond.”
During the afternoon of day one, a panel discussed how the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law would make historic federal funding levels available for energy and water infrastructure projects. Experts from the California Energy Commission, the Office of Governmental Affairs, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the DOE Electricity Advisory Committee Smart Grid Subcommittee Chair provided insights on these new federal laws and navigating the grant and allocation process.
Sessions that followed focused on the recent challenges utilities are seeing throughout the country, such as streamlining DER & Load Interconnection Processes, shifting regulatory requirements and innovation needs, and creating a digital future encompassing integrated CIS, AMI, and smart meters. Day two of the event featured panel discussions on Agile vs. Waterfall and why the modern utility organization must quickly adapt to change, possess diverse skills, and deliver results amidst the reality of evolving targets. A panel of utility experts featuring Dawn Maskell, IT Product Line Manager at Eversource Energy, and Robin Pierce, Director, Enterprise Project Management Office at Southwest Gas Corporation, shared views and experiences with Waterfall, Agile, and hybrid approaches to large implementation projects.
Join TMG at the 2023 Utility Forum, which will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 3-4, 2023. Learn more about TMG’s utility-centric research initiatives, events, and advisory and professional services here.
TMG Consulting is an advisory, professional services, and research firm working with utilities to plan, develop, implement, and manage their digital technology solutions and service providers’ ecosystem. Over the past 30 years, TMG has worked with over 300 utilities, matching their business needs with digital solutions, systems integrators, and implementation services to maximize the value of their customers and optimize and de-risk their IT investment. TMG brings deep experience across all major IT domains, including CIS, Metering, Asset Management, Work Management, Resource Planning, and ERP. TMG’s clients include utilities of all sizes providing Water, Gas, Electric, and Municipal Services in both regulated, competitive, and public power markets.