PJM Praises Member Engagement at MC

How PJM’s members have supported initiatives over the past year was the focus of the May Members Committee meeting, which took place Wednesday at the Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Members heard updates on the stakeholder feedback process and information technology improvements.

In introducing the updates to the stakeholder feedback process, Rebecca Carroll, director – Member Relations, praised the integral role members play in shaping the services PJM provides and said that member feedback is critical to shaping how PJM interacts with stakeholders.

Carroll cited the importance of feedback and noted how it enabled PJM to adapt the best practices of other grid operators for its own programs, such as the Tech Change Forum.

PJM is working on member feedback transparency mechanisms to better obtain and respond to member feedback. This includes a process to evaluate and prioritize initiatives and support for multiple sources of feedback. Carroll said PJM hopes to implement this by the end of the year.

PJM will send a new streamlined Member Satisfaction Survey in September. The modified survey will encourage greater participation while still obtaining actionable feedback from respondents.

Tom O’Brien, senior vice president and Chief Information Officer, continued the theme of resilience, which began earlier in the Year in Review and State of the Grid presentations.

O’Brien addressed recent phishing attempts and said PJM’s security and resilience strategy is to mitigate service disruptions before events, reduce recovery time during events and improve from lessons learned after events. He emphasized readiness.

“You don’t want to be practicing for an event during an event,” he said. “We want to make sure we are always learning lessons.”

He touted the improvements to the day-ahead market that the technology changes have made, including a 10.5 percent reduction in solution time (thanks to upgraded hardware in 2016) and enhanced tools for faster decision-making and streamlining the clearing process.

He said working to ensure cybersecurity and keep the grid and customers safe will take innovation, vigilance and a joint effort. It “transcends competition.”

Members Committee Chair Susan Bruce looked at the stakeholders’ year, including grappling with the lack of a quorum at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and confronting challenging issues such as seasonal resources, uplift and fuel cost policy. She also spoke to the future – looking at issues such as the intersection of public policy and markets.

“We’ve seen the Supreme Court deliberate some of the issues we have been working on at PJM. The fact that the Supreme Court weighs in on those issues stands as evidence of their importance,” she said.

Other Committee Business

PJM Members Re-elect Almgren, Riley and Robinson To Board

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Members Committee reelected board members Ake Almgren, Susan Riley and Charles Robinson to new three-year terms on the PJM Board.

Almgren has been in the energy industry for more than 25 years, including leadership positions with Capstone Turbine Corporation and several ABB companies. Currently, he heads his own consulting company Orkas Inc., which is focused on new energy technologies. He has served on the PJM Board since 2003.

Riley most recently served as chief financial officer for Eastern Outfitters, LLC (formerly Vestis Retail Group, LLC).  She also serves on the board of Essendant Inc. and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has served on the PJM Board since 2005.

Robinson is the vice president-Legal Affairs and General Counsel for the Regents of the University of California where he is the chief legal officer. Prior to that, he was a vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for the California ISO. He has served on the PJM Board since 2011.

The Nominating Committee carefully reviewed the qualifications and prior service of Almgren, Riley and Robinson and voted to nominate them for re-election at the PJM Annual Meeting.