Event Profile

Electric Utility Business Fundamentals

September 1 — 22, 2020


Online registration is currently closed, but spaces are still available. If you would like to register for this event, please contact Jenny Keesey at (360) 816-1458 or jenny@nwppa.org.

Who Should Attend:

New employees (we recommend at least six months at the utility before attending), experienced employees, utility commissioners, and board members who want to expand their understanding of how a utility business works.

Webinar Overview:

This webinar series is comprised of six interactive webinars and one chat session where participants learn more about the history of the electric utility sector, the business operations, the region in which it operates, emerging trends facing the utility, and the key financial, market, and regulatory drivers that impact its operations and customers. The classes are designed to engage participants and facilitate an exchange of ideas with industry peers at other organizations.

Intro to the Electric Utility Business Model (September 1, 2020)

This initial class will set a context for changes in the industry by explaining the history and development of electric utilities in the region. It will also provide an overview of internal departments and operational areas of the utility, as well as introduce participants to different types of generation technologies that electric utilities (or their energy providers) use to produce energy.

Activity: What makes your utility special? Define what differentiates the community-owned utility from other businesses and demonstrate the value of a community-owned utility.

Balancing Load and Resources (September 3, 2020)

The second class will increase your regional industry knowledge through a look at the transmission grid, the hydro system, and the natural gas infrastructure in the western region. It will also introduce the multiple factors that utilities consider in resource planning to meet future load given regulation and declining renewable costs.

Activity: Consideration of the challenges to long-term resource planning. This will include load forecasting issues and non-financial considerations of different generating resources.

Externalities Impacting the Utility (September 8, 2020)

The third class will introduce you to the myriad of federal and state regulations that utilities face. It will also explore major events outside the control of the utility on the utility operations and its customers, and review how the utility plans for these. It will build upon your knowledge from the first two classes in order to more deeply explore the impacts of emerging trends on the utility.

Activity: Exploration of ways in which utilities may need to change to respond to emerging trends.

Managing the Dollars (September 15, 2020)

The fourth class will de-mystify utility finance and provide an overview on how the utility manages finances to deliver on its mission to its customers. Attendees will learn what financial statements tell you about the utility’s financial position and review how the utility accesses capital to invest in its system to serve customers. You will also learn about the role of policy makers, utility budgeting, and funding investment through debt.

Activity: Review a rating agency’s report to identify investment considerations in the utility sector.

Introduction to Rate Making (September 17, 2020)

The fifth class will describe the multiple factors that the utility must balance when it sets rates, explain how to balance competing interests when setting rates, and outline the large number of tariffs available for single-product electricity.

Activity: Dissect different perspectives of rate design to understand different perspectives of the utility and customer groups.

Key Stakeholders: Customers and Workforce (September 22, 2020)

The sixth class will introduce the challenges and opportunities of engaging with today’s utility customers; review how safety and security touch all areas of the utility’s internal and external communities; look at how industry changes may shape the utility workforce of the future; and discuss workforce planning.

Activity: Brainstorm about how utilities can better engage with customers and employees, and review ideas for how utilities can strengthen their relationship with these key stakeholders.

Electric Utility Business Fundamentals Chat Session (September 23, 2020)

After the completion of the series, participants will receive an invitation to a scheduled chat room session where the instructor will host a discussion of follow-up questions and issues based upon the content of the prior six classes.

Webinar Format:

The webinar series is designed as an integrated program. Each webinar will consist of content presentation; polling and interactive Q&A; an assignment; and a discussion of the assignment. Registered participants will be able to download the presentations and other materials from the webinar platform.

Please allow 90 minutes for each segment (60 minutes of prepared content and 30 minutes for assignments). This is a live, interactive session with the instructor and your industry peers; it is not recorded.

After the completion of the six webinars, participants that attended any class(es) will receive an invitation to a scheduled chat session on Wednesday, September 23, at 1 p.m. PST, where the instructor will present the Industry Notebook. This is a valuable resource with industry references, terminology, and descriptions of the regional and national industry players. Additionally, there will be time allotted for follow-up questions and issues from the six webinars.

Webinar Instructor:

Julie Ryan, Aether Advisors, LLC

Webinar Schedule:

Each webinar will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Attendees will be admitted 15 minutes before the webinar begins.

How to Participate:

Instructions will be emailed to attendees within 12 hours before the webinar and we recommend that you test the link to the meeting as soon as you get the instructions. The webinar is best viewed using Chrome as your browser. We recommend that you use a landline for both your phone and your internet connections.

This registration is for one person to attend. We manage our webinars on an honor-system basis; if more than one person from a utility wishes to attend, each is to register separately.

Webinar Series Fees:

Utility Member Rate: $420
Associate Member Rate: $630
Non-Member Rate: $1,260

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations are accepted, with full refund, if request is made at least 30 days prior to the course. Within 30 days, fees are as follows: 15-29 days, $100; 1-14 days or "no show," 100% of registration fee. When possible, please send a substitute instead of canceling; NWPPA does not charge a fee for substitutions.

Continuing Hours:

Each webinar qualifies for one continuing hour with a maximum of six possible for completing the series. Certificates are issued upon full completion of the course.

For More Information:

To find out more about this course, to register, or to learn about other events, view the Training and Event Catalog.