MC Hears Stakeholder Survey, Information Technology Actions

Improvements to the processes that PJM uses to interact with its members were the focus of the May 19 Members Committee meeting after keynote remarks by a Maryland energy director. The session concluded the 2016 PJM Annual Meeting.

Mary Beth Tung, the new director of the Maryland Energy Administration, was the keynote speaker and spoke about her state’s energy challenges, while also looking to the future. It was Tung’s first appearance in her new role.

Coal and nuclear currently supply more than four-fifths of Maryland’s net electricity generation, Tung said. More than 80 percent of Maryland’s coal-fired power plants are more than 30 years old, and almost 66 percent of those2016-Annual-Meeting-Insert-Keynote-IMG_1975 are classified as “at risk” of retirement.

Tung noted that Maryland is participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Its goal is to reduce greenhouse gases 40 percent by 2030 compared to 2006 levels.  She also reported that the state’s EmPOWER Maryland program helped reduced per capita energy consumption and peak demand by 15 percent by 2015.

Stakeholder survey

Members heard about PJM’s action plans which emerged from the 2015 Stakeholder Survey and infrastructure enhancements.

One of the biggest areas of opportunity is continual improvement and responsiveness in member interactions, according to Denise Foster, vice president – State and Member Services, and Becky Carroll of Knowledge Management.

PJM will create a forum to discuss tool-related changes and broader Information Technology initiatives. In addition, PJM will offer more tool-specific training when it is planning significant changes and share long-term work plans to help members and vendors better meet timelines.

PJM’s key satisfaction drivers are markets/reliability management, the stakeholder process, member support and corporate reputation.

PJM encourages members to email with feedback and suggestions.

Information Technology Infrastructure

Tom O’Brien, chief information officer, discussed infrastructure enhancements and plans for increased transparency regarding future Information Technology infrastructure changes.

He reviewed how PJM is working to continually enhance its cybersecurity practices by assessing risk, including working with partners such as the Department of Defense.

O’Brien said PJM is looking forward to working on future gas-electric coordination issues. While PJM made smaller changes in hardware, software and process improvement to reach short-term goals, it is working with vendors in the research and development of application enhancements. They are also working to further reduce the time it takes to clear the Day-Ahead Market.

The Tech Change Forum is a new PJM-led group to coordinate, consolidate and share information about systems and planned changes. The goal is to discuss member readiness for upcoming changes and examine system feature design and technical implementation.

Approvals/Endorsements (as part of the consent agenda)

Members Committee chair Katie Guerry of EnerNoc followed PJM CEO Andy Ott’s opening remarks with some brief remarks.
She praised outgoing Board of Managers members Dr. Richard Lahey and Dr. Jean Kinsey, who received a sustained standing ovation.

Guerry pointed out that the subjects PJM members discuss during meetings and throughout the stakeholder process were the same issues the Supreme Court of the United States discussed during arguments in the EPSA case. She stressed the magnitude of that and called it “humbling.”

She praised stakeholders’ efforts in the success of initiatives such as the energy market offer cap and price formation and acknowledged the challenges in the future.