Power Supply Planning4 min read
No two communities are alike when it comes to power supply planning, which is why one of the most valuable benefits of membership with American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) is access to our power supply planning experts.
AMP’s power supply team is home to industry veterans with more than 40 years of combined experience working with AM members and within the energy markets. Their expertise covers the breadth of the industry, and they work hard to stay ahead of changing trends.
“Over the years, AMP’s power supply has changed from predominately market-based to a more diverse portfolio consisting of generation resources and market purchases,” stated Pam Sullivan, executive vice president of power supply and generation operations. “The staff has adjusted from a bilateral energy market to a fully-integrated, day-ahead and real-time energy market, with members and generation assets in both PJM and MISO. The team must continually stay abreast of ongoing rule changes in both regional transmission organization (RTO) markets, and they do a great job.”
This extensive power supply planning expertise is available to members to assist with projecting member loads, projecting power supply costs and developing hedging strategies to meet each community’s individual needs.
“We work with members to understand their overall power supply position — how much is their load going to be and how many resources do they currently have — and on filling their remaining power supply needs,” stated Craig Kleinhenz, director of power supply planning. “We make unique recommendations that are diversified by terms and products for each member community.”
These unique offerings focus on the tone and direction from each community, whether that be their individual risk tolerance, a desire for short- or long-term contracts, or a desire for more renewable energy.
“Most of our members are looking for low, stable rates, but there is also a lot of variation that we strive to understand,” stated Kleinhenz. “Whether members are simply looking at stable rates, or they are seeking something more, our goal as a department is to help them meet their needs and achieve their goals.”
In addition to providing specific plans, the power supply planning team also places an emphasis on education.
“A large part of the power supply teams’ efforts is to provide educational training to the members,” said Sullivan. “The team holds over 100 member meetings every year to educate and update them on power supply issues and changes in the marketplace and industry.”
While some of these educational efforts are performed at the regional level, the vast majority of these meetings occur within the community in order to better accommodate attendees.
“Staying educated and up to date on these issues is important,” stated Kleinhenz. “We want to make sure each member has all the information they need on projects, how AMP works and how the markets work. This is best achieved when we hold meetings in a location where multiple people from a member community can attend.”
Such meetings are especially important for leaders and decision makers that are stepping into the industry for the first time. Having direct access to experts with many years of experience in the electric utilities industry can make a big difference.
“I was promoted to borough manager in 2011, and up to that time, I was not part of the electric team,” stated Bob Thompson, Ephrata borough manager. “During the first meeting I attended for the Central Pennsylvania AMP members, Craig came out with the Annual Power Supply 101 presentations, which really served as an excellent beginning to my education about power supply planning. Now, I look forward to that presentation each year because it tells us how we performed in the previous year and helps us to understand how we can do better going forward.”
Proper power supply planning is vitally important to the health of a municipal electric utility, and sometimes even the most experienced industry veteran can use help. Whether your community needs assistance to meticulously plan their power supply portfolio or it simply needs someone to bounce ideas off of, AMP’s power supply planning team is an excellent resource.