Throughout her career, Denise Foster has attended member meetings wearing different hats – state consumer advocate, generation representative and PJM executive. On Thursday, she’ll take her seat at the head of the table in her new role as chair of the Markets & Reliability Committee.
Foster, vice president – State & Member Services, will assume the position left by Suzanne Daugherty, who retired from PJM in March as chief financial officer.
Foster looks forward to learning more about members’ views and how the stakeholder process – which her division oversees – is working.
Her goal going into the role is simple. “I want to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, and that the information needed is presented and discussed so good decisions may be made,” she said.
Foster brings to the post more than two decades of diverse experience in the energy industry.
After earning her degree at Dickinson Law, she started out in 1997 as an assistant consumer advocate in the office of the Pennsylvania attorney general.
Retail choice for electricity was just starting in Pennsylvania, as were PJM’s competitive wholesale markets.
“I’ve seen the wholesale markets evolve and continue to attract investment and support reliability,” Foster said.
Back then, PJM had 89 members and served 22 million people in five states and Washington, D.C. Today, PJM has more than 1,000 members and serves approximately 65 million people in 13 states and D.C.
Foster came to PJM as a lawyer and regulatory affairs manager in 2000 before joining Exelon in 2005. There, she was a stakeholder representative for two years before taking on other roles within Exelon. She returned to PJM in 2009 to head the state regulatory affairs and member services functions. While the role has evolved as the member services functions expanded, Foster retains the responsibility for the State & Member Services functions at PJM.
She sits on the Alumni Society Board of the Dickinson School of Law and is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Energy Bar Association. She is admitted to the Bar of Pennsylvania.
Foster steps into her position as chair of the Markets & Reliability Committee at a time when meetings have more regularly been marked by extensive debates on a variety of issues.
Current topics in the rapidly evolving energy industry are reshaping members’ discourse, she said, adding that she supports efforts underway by the Stakeholder Process Super Forum to streamline members’ approach to achieving consensus on difficult issues.
Foster is known for building relationships, and that’s what she plans to do at the committee. “We are first, people, and second, business representatives,” she said.