Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Franklin PUD Commissioners Name Scott Rhees as New General Manager (Franklin PUD, Pasco, WA)


(PASCO, WA) -- The Franklin PUD Board of Commissioners has selected Scott R. Rhees as the next General Manager of the utility.  State law requires the selection be formalized over two separate regular commission meetings.  At today’s board meeting, the Commissioners introduced the resolution naming Rhees as General Manager.  They are expected to formally adopt the resolution at the March 26th regular board meeting. The appointment will be effective April 1.

Franklin PUD received 58 applications from candidates across the region.  After thoroughly reviewing and analyzing the qualifications of all individuals, the final selection was Rhees.

A native of Utah, Rhees brings 40 years’ experience to Franklin PUD.  Most recently Rhees has been working as the Vice President of Transmission and Utility Relations with Cyrq Energy in Salt Lake City developing renewable energy generation projects.  He has an extensive background in the energy industry including working in the areas of operations, transmission, generation development, and public relations. Much of his experience has been with investor owned utilities including PacifiCorp.  Franklin PUD believes Rhees brings a wide variety of knowledge that is not only applicable to public power, but will help the utility plan for the future in an energy industry that is likely to see significant changes in how we are required to do business.

Rhees’s community involvement is widespread.  He has been active in community relations and economic development throughout his career, serving on various economic development boards, Chamber of Commerce boards and as past Chamber President. He and his wife currently serve on the Heber Valley Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival Board, located in Heber City, Utah.  “I'm honored to have the opportunity to be part of the community and leadership team for Franklin PUD. I'm excited to bring my past experience to support the needs of customers and the team. I look forward to being involved in the community and working with the great employees at Franklin PUD,” stated Rhees.  

Rhees is married and has three children and two grandchildren.

Franklin PUD is pleased to have Rhees join the team to lead the utility and carry on the values of public power and its core principles.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Shedding Federal Energy Assets – The Piece of the Trump Budget Proposal That Won’t Die (Washington Examiner)


(WASHINGTON, DC) -- The Trump administration’s proposal to sell off the federal government’s utility assets has made it, once again, into the budget proposal, and utility groups are already lining up to fight it.

The proposal calls for privatizing the transmission line assets owned by the large Power Marketing Administrations like Bonneville in the Northwest and the Southwestern Power Administration, which represents 7 percent of the nation’s total electricity production.

The two administrations sell some of the lowest cost hydro-electric power in the world, and because of that have attracted high-tech manufacturers and data center companies in places like Washington state. But it’s not been clear why the Trump administration wants to privatize the administrations’ utility lines.

Utility trade groups the American Public Power Administration and National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association had successfully beaten back the proposal in the past by pointing out to Congress the harm privatizing the assets would cause for consumers who would see their energy bills rise.

Sue Kelly, the APPA president, immediately called on Congress “to reject these misguided proposals.” She said that the proposal would “threaten” the ability of the power administrations to provide reliable electricity to 1,200 public power utility systems and rural electric cooperatives in 33 states.

She said the power administrations function as large public corporations, and do not require taxpayer funding to operate, and provide electricity based on cost of generating it.

The four administrations targeted by the Trump plan include the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Bonneville Power Administration, Southwestern Power Administration, and the Western Area Power Administration.

Kelly and the rural cooperatives successfully defeated the plan as it appeared in the president’s two previous budgets by getting both Democrats and Republicans to rail publicly against it and vow that it not see the light of day.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Public Power Council Announces Departure of Executive Director Scott Corwin in April (Public Power Council, Portland, OR)


(PORTLAND, OR) – The Public Power Council announced today that its long-time Executive Director Scott Corwin will be departing at the end of April to become the next Executive Director of the Northwest Public Power Association.

“It has been an honor and great pleasure to work for the members of PPC for the last 12 years,” said Corwin. “As I take on this new role for public power utilities, it is reassuring to know that PPC is positioned so well for the future with a very strong board and top-notch staff.”

Corwin was hired as the Executive Director in April 2007. Prior to joining PPC, Corwin worked at PNGC Power and Portland General Electric, after spending years working on the Capitol Hill in
Washington, D.C.

“We thank Scott for his dedicated service to the region’s consumer-owned utilities,” said Debra Smith, PPC Executive Committee Chairwoman, and CEO and General Manager of Seattle City Light. “We were fortunate to have Scott leading public power during this transformational time in the industry and are pleased that the region will continue to benefit from his expertise and leadership in his new role.”

During his time at PPC, Corwin helped develop unified positions on public power’s interests in securing reliable and economic power supply options from the Bonneville Power Administration. He was at the helm as PPC pushed BPA to chart a new course towards a more competitive future, while also fending off proposals to privatize BPA’s transmission system and helping position the regional for negotiations for a more equitable Columbia River Treaty.

The Board will announce the search and selection process for the next Executive Director at a later date. “In the interim, we are confident that PPC is in good hands with its capable staff,” said
Smith.

About the Public Power Council: The Public Power Council, established in 1966, is an association that represents over 100 consumer-owned electric utilities in the Pacific Northwest. PPC’s mission is to preserve and protect the benefits of the Federal Columbia River Power System for consumer-owned utilities, and is a key forum to identify, discuss and build consensus around energy and utility issues. For more information, please visit us on the web at
www.ppcpdx.org.

Scott Corwin Named New Executive Director of Northwest Public Power Association (Northwest Public Power Association, Vancouver, WA)


(VANCOUVER, WA) Today the Northwest Public Power Association announced that its board of trustees has selected Scott Corwin to be the association’s next executive director, effective May 1. Corwin will step in as Anita Decker retires after five years with NWPPA and over 39 years of experience in the industry.

“I am very excited about leading a new chapter at NWPPA during this time of dynamic change in our industry. Having watched NWPPA reach new heights in recent years, my aim is to bring my energy to build on that success to further enhance the great balance of training, communications, and policy engagement that NWPPA offers,” said Corwin. “It has been very rewarding to work for a great public power organization like PPC for 12 years and I am proud to be continuing my career in the public power industry.”

Corwin comes to NWPPA with over 20 years of experience in the public power industry and over 30 years in legislative/government affairs. For the past 12 years, he has served as the executive director for the Public Power Council, a regional association for preference public power customers of Bonneville Power Administration. As PPC’s executive director, he leads a board of 21 diverse public power utility general managers and directors; advises on business and policy options around wholesale power supply; and negotiates for desired outcomes in administrative, business, legal, and legislative venues.

Prior to PPC, he worked for Portland General Electric and later for PNGC Power, where he was the vice president of marketing and public affairs. He spent several years in Washington, D.C., working for Sens. Don Riegle (Mich.) and Mark Hatfield (Ore.) as well as for the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“As president of the board, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who applied for the job of executive director of NWPPA,” said NWPPA Board President Scott Egbert. “Scott Corwin is a phenomenal individual with a life-long work career in the regulatory and electric industry primarily pertaining to the Northwest. He brings his expertise, energy, and enthusiasm to this new position. NWPPA looks forward to moving ahead with Scott at the helm.”

Corwin currently chairs the American Public Power Association’s Power Marketing Administration Task Force and is an active member of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's National Preference Customer Committee, APPA’s Advisory Committee, and BPA’s Customer Collaborative. He has served on numerous other boards and committees for business and charitable organizations.

He earned a juris doctorate from the University of Washington School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in government with a psychology concentration from Dartmouth College in N.H. He is the executive editor of the 2016 industry book, Public Power Chronicle, as well as a frequent expert witness before congressional, state, and regional committees.

About NWPPA: NWPPA is an international not-for-profit trade association representing and serving over 150 customer-owned, locally controlled utilities in the Western U.S. and Canada. The Association also serves approximately 300 associate members across the U.S. and Canada who are allied with the electric utility industry. Visit www.nwppa.org, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook for more information.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Democrats Hammer U-S Energy Department for Backpedaling on Appliance Rules (Washington Examiner)


(WASHINGTON, DC) -- The House Energy and Commerce Committee continued its series of climate hearings on Thursday by slamming the Energy Department for not moving forward in implementing congressionally-mandated energy conservation standards for washers, dryers and other appliances.

“In the last two years, the Energy Department has blown through 16 legally-mandated deadlines to finalize standards for appliances,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., the chairman of the committee. The standards require manufacturers to sell products that consume less energy, thus helping to contribute to lower emissions.

Instead of moving forward and updating the efficiency standards, Pallone said, the agency has spent most of its time dismantling regulations, and is currently crafting a draft rule to get rid of efficiency standards for light bulbs, which are projected to save the average household $100 a year in 2025.

DOE’s ‘disrespectful’ response
In requesting an update last year, Pallone said the Energy Department sent him a three-line response with internet links. He called it one of the most “disrespectful” responses he has ever received from an agency. He resent the letter last month, and although more accommodating, the response left a lot unanswered on the 16 standards that are legally mandated.

Daniel Simmons, assistant secretary of the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said he is committed to completing the standards, but not in the next six months. He said there are stringent requirements under the law to follow in developing the standards that will take them time.

Pallone was unconvinced, saying “it just seems to me you’re not going to follow the law.”

Major cuts coming in budget
The hearing comes as media outlets reported on Thursday that the forthcoming fiscal year 2020 budget would slash the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by 70 percent, from $2.3 billion to $700 million.

Simmons told the committee he would not speak to those reports.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Bonneville Power Administration Adopts Settlement Agreement with Customers on Its Open Access Transmission Tariff (Bonneville Power Administration)


(PORTLAND, OR) – The Bonneville Power Administration and its long-term transmission customers successfully negotiated a settlement agreement to implement a new open access transmission tariff that will go into effect October 1. The tariff defines the terms and conditions of services, products and network integration offered by BPA.

“This settlement resulted from a collaborative effort and provides BPA the ability to align its business processes with current and emerging industry standards,” said BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer, who signed the record of decision that adopted both the settlement and new tariff. “Our customers’ willingness to partner with us and negotiate solutions to complex issues has resulted in a sustainable path forward for BPA to the benefit of our customers and the region.”

One of the key changes in the new tariff is the removal of the requirement to submit all changes to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for review and approval. Due to differences between a typical FERC-jurisdictional utility and the unique nature and mission of the federal power marketing agency, BPA was unable to get needed changes and updates to its tariff approved through FERC. In the fall of 2016, BPA notified the region that the process to change its existing tariff was no longer a tenable approach. Additionally, achieving the goals of the BPA 2018-2023 Strategic Plan requires tariff modernization.

BPA announced its decision to conduct a hearing under Section 212 of the Federal Power Act to develop a new tariff and launched a series of workshops in April 2018 to solicit customer feedback on its proposed tariff changes. From September to November, BPA and its long-term transmission customers met 22 times to negotiate the terms of a settlement agreement on the tariff.

Under the terms of the settlement, all of BPA’s long-term transmission customers have agreed to transition their existing contracts to the new tariff as of October 1. While not generally under the jurisdiction of FERC, BPA remains committed to aligning its tariff with FERC’s pro forma tariff and the best practices of the utility industry. BPA and its customers plan to conduct regular proceedings, concurrent with BPA rate cases, to continue to amend and modernize the agency’s tariff.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Scandalous Abramoff Summoned to Take on the Green New Deal (Washington Examiner)


(WASHINGTON, DC) – After serving jail time for one of the biggest lobbying scandals in a generation, Jack Abramoff is back in action fighting against the Green New Deal.

Abramoff has reportedly been called in to wield his lobbying magic as chairman of a new political action committee, or PAC, meant to go up against the progressive Democratic agenda.

"These socialists are so confused, and their messaging is getting worse by the minute," Abramoff said at a fundraising event for the new Protect American Values PAC, E&E reported.

"They seem to think that cows and airplanes are a threat to our future. Sounds to me like they have been infected by Mad Cow Disease!" he said in a follow-up email with the news group.

The subject line of the email: "More cows, less Democrats."