Ott Focuses on Reliability, Resilience at Annual Meeting

PJM President and CEO Andy Ott presented his perspectives on PJM’s key strategic initiatives during his State of the Grid address during the Wednesday Members Committee meeting at the PJM Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Ott emphasized the importance of engaged members. Calling the review of PJM’s history at Tuesday’s General Session “an important celebration of our legacy,” he said, “A lot of the successes we have had could not have happened without the engagement of you, the members. I hope you all realize how much you are a part of that.”

In speaking about PJM’s key strategic initiatives, Ott said, “There’s significant debate about harmonizing public policy and markets. We look to the wisdom of stakeholder discussions” to help PJM reach solutions. “It won’t be easy but, if we don’t do it now, it will be even harder [later].

“I hope you come up with a solution that will protect the competitive markets while accommodating the states as much you as can.”

Ott said that cybersecurity and its threats have added a new layer to the historic focus on reliability.

He gave a high-level overview of PJM’s high-priority security actions. They include strengthening network design and segmentation to further prevent attacks from moving through the network, expanding and prioritizing partnerships with the Department of Defense and other government agencies to explore advanced cyber and physical security tools.

“We have the concern that we remain reliable, but we also recognize an increasing risk. We used to worry about storm-related outages and equipment failures – obviously we still worry about that, but it’s also cybersecurity and what are we doing about it, collectively as a nation.”

Ott mentioned Capacity Performance and its significant influence. He said the polar vortex taught everyone a lesson and that capacity performance puts PJM in a stronger position.

He discussed fuel diversity and its contribution to system resilience and reliability. He steered members toward the recent report, PJM’s Evolving Resource Mix and System Reliability and mentioned the recent Grid 20/20 session as ways PJM is leading on the issue.

Through everything, he said, PJM focuses on bringing value to members – the total value to members and the region is $2.8 to $3.1 billion annually.

“We take a hard look at the value we provide,” he said.

He added that PJM partners with others to get the best ideas possible – and members are part of it.

“We want to be humble enough to learn from others,” Ott said. “That is an immense part of managing your assets – you entrust us with running the grid on your behalf.”