Obtaining Approval for a Resiliency Program – Playbook Review Part 5

In part four of this series, we discussed developing a resiliency program plan and how to effectively measure its impact. The next step is to obtain approval. This is the most challenging step of the process and success is not guaranteed. Completing the previous steps in detail with a focus on a clear objective and establishing the financial or ratepayer benefit is crucial.

Approval Process Steps

Here are the steps to obtaining approval:

1. Clarify and document a resiliency program objective, how a resiliency program can support the pursuit of the objective, and preliminary resiliency program plan, including a description of hardening, undergrounding, or other strategies anticipated.

2. Select a preliminary path to pursue approval—Public Utilities Commission (PUC) versus Legislative.

3. Capture and describe outage history and performance.

4. Capture and describe national weather history and demonstrate an increase in severe storm frequency and severity in your service territory.

5. Work with public affairs, rates, and communications groups within the utility to build a community outreach program to describe and position the resiliency program.

6. Identify and/or recruit champions within the PUC or legislature depending on the path chosen.

7. Build a regulatory or legislative approval approach in order to gain approval of the program and cost recovery approach. Cost recovery approaches are listed in chapter 4 of the Utility Infrastructure Resiliency Playbook.

8. Clearly document and incorporate anticipated performance improvement and ratepayer benefits.

9. Clearly forecast ratepayer impacts.

The collection and display of metrics to demonstrate implementation performance and results achieved for the benefit of ratepayers is critical. The reporting frequency is normally dictated by the PUC and annual reporting is most frequently selected. Utilities that have built effective stakeholder communications are reporting much more frequently.

Special Considerations for Undergrounding Strategies

Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Versus Legislative Path to Approval

Resiliency programs that rely on undergrounding strategies have and will continue to receive significant pushback, largely due to the high upfront cost. Ultimately, a utility wanting to pursue these types of programs for the ratepayer benefits in satisfaction and reliability will have to pick a traditional rate case, rider/surcharge, or legislative action. Regardless, a champion of this concept at the regulatory or legislative body is a necessary path. In addition, city, local, or regional government support and ratepayer communications are also required. In the case of a legislative approach, the development of a preliminary bill will require at least one, and preferably a bi-partisan group as a formal sponsor to develop and push the bill.

Severe Outage History

In addition to a champion, a customer satisfaction opportunity and outage history must be present. As is highlighted in Chapter 3 of the Utility Infrastructure Resiliency Playbook, a detailed analysis of outage performance focusing on geography, line, and equipment performance is required. Storm frequency and severity over a 10-year cycle is the financial driver of justification of a resilience program that will include undergrounding strategies.

Download the Playbook

Implementing a resiliency program is a long and multifaceted process—closer to running a marathon rather than a sprint. A well-developed program plan that supports implementation will raise the likelihood of approval and successfully executed construction. The next step of our process is implementing the resiliency program. Download a free copy of PDi2’s Utility Infrastructure Resiliency Playbook for a detailed look at each step, case studies, and links to additional resources.

October 2019

Utility Resiliency Playbook

Developed by PDi2

Mathew Raymond

Underground Transmission Division Manager
Haugland Energy LLC
Associate Member, PDi2

Mathew Raymond, Underground Transmission Division Manager, has over 12 years of field experience in the construction industry, and has worked in all phases of construction including project management, business development, estimating, project scheduling, costing, budgeting, supervision and claims/change order processing. Prior to moving over to Haugland Energy in 2015, Mr. Raymond worked for 2 years with ABB and 6 years with CB&I. He has worked in the capacity of Project Manager, Process Manager, Contracts Specialist, and Business Development, accumulating a list of notable project achievements for clients including: PSE&G, PSE&GLI, Deep Water Wind, NYPA, NSEG, GEMMA Power, NRG, and Georgia. Mr. Raymond has a Masters Certificate in Government & Commercial Contract Management from Villanova University and a BA in Political Science (Pre-Law) from Coastal Carolina University.

LinkedIn

Ivan Jovanovic

Managing Director, Cable Accessories Business Unit (CABU)
G&W Electric
Associate Member, PDi2

Ivan has global responsibility for MV and HV cable accessory product lines for G&W Electric Company, a specialized manufacturer and marketer of high-voltage electrical equipment for distribution and transmission networks. His responsibility includes leading product management, marketing, R&D and engineering for the CABU. With nearly 20 years at G&W Electric, Ivan has also served as General Manager, Cable Accessories Engineering Department; and Product Development Engineer. Previously to joining G&W Electric, Ivan was a Research Engineer for the Nikola Tesla Electrical Engineering Institute in Belgrade, Serbia. He received a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Belgrade, and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago. Ivan also leads IEEE and CIGRE working groups and is Chairman of IEEE 48/404 Standard for transmission CA; and is the US member in IEC 62271-209 Standard for cable connections to Gas Insulated Switchgear.

LinkedIn

Brent Richardson

Marketing Development Manager, North America - DOW
Voting Member PDi2

Brent represents Dow’s Wire & Cable business to the utility industry in North America. Prior to joining Dow in May of 2007, Brent worked for nearly 25 years for Duke Energy in Charlotte, NC. His experience includes many components of the utility business including Field Engineering, Distribution Standards, Project and Product Management and Marketing. He received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech and is a registered Professional Engineer in NC and SC. He is also a Senior Member of the IEEE and the Insulated Conductors Committee and has made numerous presentations to the IEEE, the ICC and other industry organizations. In the ICC, Brent serves as Chair of Discussion Group A14D –Cable Standards and Vice Chair of Subcommittee A-Cable Construction and Design.

LinkedIn

Ben Lanz

Director of Applications Engineering, IMCORP
Vice-chairman/Voting Member PDi2

After 20 years in the power cable industry, Mr. Lanz currently holds the position of Director of Applications Engineering at IMCORP and has technical oversight of power cable life cycle consulting. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society, a voting member of the IEEE Standards Society, and a member of the IEEE Dielectrics and Industrial Applications Societies. He has served as Chairman of the Insulated Conductors Committee (ICC) technical committees responsible for cable testing, cable reliability and surge arresters, Chairman of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) O&M Balance of Plant technical subcommittee, a UL technical study committee member for MV and HV DC cables and is a reviewer and voting pool member for InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA) standards. Mr. Lanz received his electrical engineering degree from the University of Connecticut (UCONN) under mentorship of Director of the Institute of Material Science Electrical Insulation Research Center (EIRC), Dr. Matthew Mashikian. He has published over a dozen papers on power system reliability, asset management, and diagnostics and regularly presents on the topics.

LinkedIn

David Lindsay

Marketing Manager – Energy Borealis Compounds, Inc.
Chairman/Voting Member PDi2

David Lindsay is currently Marketing Manager for the Energy business of Borealis Compounds, Inc. in North America. He has over 20 years in the US wire and cable business, working at manufacturers, non-profit organizations and electrical contractors. His experiences range from research and product development, to manufacturing, construction and installation of EHV cable systems. At Borealis he is responsible for customer and end-use marketing, and strategic planning of all wire and cable related product lines.

David serves on the NEETRAC Advisory Board, is actively involved in IEEE Insulated Conductor Committee and is past US representative to Cigré SC B1. He holds a Bachelors of Materials Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Masters of Business Administration from the University of West Georgia.

Brian Hunter

Regional Manager
TT Technologies, Inc
Associate Member PDi2

Brian Hunter is a regional manager with TT Technologies, Inc., a trenchless equipment manufacturer based out of Aurora, Illinois. He has been successfully managing the sales and service of this equipment in the southeast US for nearly 21 years. He is a graduate of Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He is a member of various underground utility organizations such as NUCA, NASTT, SGA, SCRWA, NCRWA, ASCE, AREMA, ICC, NCAWWA-WEA, & SCAWWA-WEA. Brian was recently a key partner in the successful pilot underground steel pipe replacement project involving EPRI, PDC, & ATC. This underground pipe replacement process (pipe splitting) will significantly reduce the amount of excavation and time needed to replace current pipe-type cable steel lines with a new larger host pipe. Brian looks forward to contributing his extensive underground knowledge with Power Delivery Intelligence Initiative (PDi2 ).
LinkedIn

Nathan Rochel

Department Manager, T&D
Burns & McDonnell
Partner Member PDi2

Nathan Rochel is an electrical engineer specializing in the design of underground transmission lines and managing the underground transmission team at Burns & McDonnell Engineering. Throughout his 10-year career in underground transmission, he has been involved in the design and/or construction of underground transmission projects ranging from 15-kV through 500-kV. These projects include multiple cable technologies including HPFF, HPGF, EPR, XLPE and HVDC cables. Mr. Rochel’s experience includes projects in major metropolitan areas for clients throughout North and South America.

John W. Fluharty, II

Quanta Services Inc.
Partner Member PDi2

John W Fluharty, II is currently working as part of Quanta Services, Inc.’s (Quanta) underground cable group that performs large underground electrical projects.

Previously Mr. Fluharty was Vice President of Mears Group, Inc. (Mears) a subsidiary of Quanta Services, Inc. He was an owner of Mears until its sale to Quanta in 2000. He managed every division in the company and at the end of his tenure with Mears he focused on business development, asset management, safety and operations for large projects.

Mr. Fluharty is a board member of the Power and Communications Contractor Association (PCCA), and the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA).

LinkedIn

Matt Spalding

President, IMCORP
Director PDi2

With more than 30 years experience in the power industry, Mr. Spalding was named President of IMCORP in January 2018. He previously held positions of VP Sales & Marketing and VP Business Development. Prior to joining IMCORP, Spalding held a variety of positions at ABB, TE Connectivity, Tyco International (Raychem), and El Paso Electric. He has been very active in industry professional associations including IEEE and NEETRAC and holds 14 US patents related to power products including MV/HV insulators, substation animal mitigation devices, power connectors, HV cable designs and cable accessories. Mr. Spalding holds a BSEE degree from New Mexico State University with post-graduate studies in Engineering Economic Systems at Stanford University.

LinkedIn

Terri Howe, APR

Owner/Principal - Howe Marketing Communications LLC
Secretary/Treasurer, Marketing Counsel PDi2

Terri Howe, APR is Owner and Principal of Howe Marketing Communications LLC, a virtual, full-service advertising and public relations firm located in Grand Rapids, Michigan (Coopersville). HMC specializes in servicing local, regional, national and global business-to-business accounts and has been recognized with several local and regional advertising and public relations awards. Terri has 30 years’ experience in the marketing communications field, is a past president and board member of the West Michigan Public Relations Society of America (WMPRSA), is an executive committee member of PRSA’s Counselors Academy and has served as an adjunct professor in the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University. Terri is the secretary, treasurer and marketing counsel for the Power Delivery Intelligence Initiative.

LinkedIn

Nathan Kelley

Vice President, High Voltage Cables and Systems Business Unit - Prysmian
Voting Member PDi2

Nathan Kelley is currently Vice President, High Voltage Cables and Systems Business Unit. Since joining Prysmian Cables and Systems in 1997, Mr. Kelley has been involved with research, design, installation and sales of High Voltage and Extra High Voltage power cable systems. From 2002 until 2015, he managed the engineering team responsible for the High Voltage Business Unit’s activities and actively participated in many of the largest HV cable projects ever conducted in North America. Mr. Kelley was raised in Indiana, but received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University in 1995 and his MS in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2002.