Electric Utility Industry Gathers at EUCG's Spring Workshop to Discuss Benchmarking, Risk Management, Safety, Security and Trends

Jun 03, 2013, 09:00 ET from EUCG

RESTON, Va., June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Risk management, safety, security and benchmarking were just a few of the issues examined by electric utility industry leaders during the EUCG Spring Conference & Workshop in Nashville, Tenn.

EUCG, a global association of energy and electric utility professionals, meets semiannually to discuss current and emerging industry issues, share best practices and exchange data for benchmarking purposes. The association is celebrating its 40th anniversary of service to the power generation industry.

"Risk management, safety and security are three major focuses of the electric utility industry today," stated EUCG President George W. Sharp from AEP (NYSE: AEP). "The educational sessions provided insightful, data-driven information for our members to succeed today and confidently face the challenges of tomorrow."

The workshop's opening remarks were provided by Rob Manning, executive vice president and chief energy delivery officer of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), who is responsible for all aspects of TVA's power transmissions systems, customer relations and economic development. Manning described the role of TVA as the nation's largest public power provider and its vision of being one of the nation's leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020. Additionally, Manning discussed TVA's drive to build a balanced portfolio that allows for greater flexibility to use the most economical source and said that the best performing utilities in the future would utilize energy from many different sources.

Other featured guest speakers included Gerry Gorman, chief information officer of Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation (NYSE: CAT), Francis Byrne, manager of continuous improvement, Bridgestone Americas, and Jeff Cogen, chief executive officer of the Nashville Predators. Their discussions focused on driving business performance and improvement today while also looking toward the future.

EUCG committees held Forums to discuss current events and what the future will bring to the utility technologies. During all of the Forums, members were encouraged to continue to pursue EUCG's mission to support discussion and dialogue among everyone and to continue to raise the overall performance of electric utilities. Highlights are as follows:

  • Nuclear Committee: The Nuclear Committee, chaired by David Ward of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), explored areas including equipment reliability, outage cost tracking methodologies, knowledge transfer, and the outlook for nuclear energy in 2013.
  • Fossil Committee: Best performers were recognized including TVA and Lower Colorado River Authority. "Human Performance Programs" and "Behavior-Based Safety Programs" were discussed in a panel setting and highlighted the program.  
  • Information Technology (IT) Committee: The IT Forum, chaired by Kathleen Heffelfinger of PPL Corp (NYSE: PPL), focused on best practices and benchmarking with an increased emphasis on security. 
  • Hydroelectric Committee: Hydroelectric Committee Chairman Chris Utracki of Ontario Power Generation presented the opening remarks and introductions for the Forum. A featured presentation was "Powerhouse Maintenance Cost Performance Measures Adjusted for Scale of Operations." Utracki and John Schuknecht led this discussion on adjusting operational benchmarks for factors outside of management control and benchmark discontinuities that create ambiguities. Additionally, there were lively panel discussions on "Project Justification" and "Strategic Planning" facilitated by Stephanie Maggard of Pacific Gas & Electric (NYSE: PCG)
  • Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Committee: Chaired by Jesse Medlock, Oncor Electric, the T&D Committee had a successful meeting focusing on sharing best practices and data. The committee has placed a new emphasis on transmission in response to a need for a better and more comprehensive product from the committee. "This is a very exciting time at EUCG for the T&D committee. We, as a member owned and driven trade association, are building something that will serve our industry well for the next decade" Medlock said.

The conference was held April 14-17 at the Hilton Nashville Downtown and attracted more than 100 electric utility professionals from various utility technologies from all over the world. "We were all very pleased with the educational and networking opportunities of this workshop and conference. Our workshop theme was 'Working in Harmony to Achieve Excellence.' Our attendees are certainly poised to achieve excellence with the information and knowledge gained at the meeting," Sharp said.

The next EUCG Conference will be held Sept. 22-25, 2013, at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. For more information, please visit the EUCG website, www.eucg.org.

About EUCG: EUCG is a global non-profit association of energy and electric utility professionals who discuss current and emerging industry issues, share best practices and exchange data for benchmarking purposes. The 40 year old association is organized into committees that represent specific utility functions: Fossil, Nuclear, Hydroelectric, Transmission & Distribution, and Information Technology. Members attend semiannual workshops that focus on strategic planning, maintenance practices, operations management, outage management and various other aspects of the electric utility business. Membership is open to all utility companies and professionals worldwide. Interested parties should contact Don Kaiser, EUCG Executive Director, at 703/234-4116 or Kaiser@eucg.org.