October 21, 2019

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A Letter from UTC President and CEO Joy Ditto

Dear UTC Members:

It is with a heavy heart that I announce my departure from the Utilities Technology Council. After much prayer and consideration, I have accepted an offer to be the new President and CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA), the organization where I spent 15 years before joining UTC in April 2016. Let me be clear: this is the only job in which I would have considered leaving UTC, and it was still a difficult decision.

The UTC Board of Directors is immediately undertaking a search for my successor. Our hope is to have someone identified by the time I depart in early January. I am confident the Board will find the right person.

As I reflect upon the last three and a half years at UTC, I first want to thank our Board and Executive Committee for their guidance and support. Since I came on board, we have implemented a new, more equitable, dues structure that includes an “umbrella” policy for smaller distribution utilities to engage through the umbrella of their generation and transmission cooperative or public power joint action agency. With full support from the Board, this has allowed us to both improve our finances and grow our membership base. We have also seen a significant increase in attendance at our annual and regional meetings, thanks to an increased focus on strengthening the content of our programs and getting our events on the calendar farther out than had previously been the case.

In addition, we adopted a policy-resolutions process that has greatly improved our member interactions on UTC’s positions on regulatory and legislative matters. This process has provided the foundation for much of our advocacy success over the last few years. We have also reinvigorated our advocacy efforts in numerous other ways, including bringing in our Board members for an annual fly-in on Capitol Hill, which provides opportunities for Members of Congress to hear directly from us about how federal policies impact your vital work at home.

Thanks to the hard work of our small but mighty staff, we have substantially raised our profile in Washington and beyond, successfully raising awareness of just how critical utility communications networks are to grid reliability, resilience, safety, and national security as well as to the grid of the future. Through my involvement with the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC), we have raised these issues to the highest levels of the industry and the federal government, thereby helping steer the utility industry’s attention to these critical issues.

I’ve also had the incredible honor of testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and appearing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; these efforts have helped raise cross-sectoral awareness of how policies being made by the Federal Communications Commission can negatively impact grid reliability. This message has resonated in Congress and elsewhere, including high-profile events like annual conferences organized by the Edison Electric Institute, the Energy Storage Association, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, and many more. In addition, we have discussed these issues with numerous national and Washington-based media outlets, including Bloomberg, Politico, E&E News, Platts, and TR Daily, among others.

It has been my high honor to represent you. The work you do to keep the lights on, and the water and gas flowing literally powers our economy and saves lives. I have spent the bulk of my career on these issues and I look forward to the next phase of this work at APPA. One of my first goals will be to better integrate both of our associations, as we share much in common, including many utility members. This will be beneficial to all of us going forward.

My thanks to UTC Board Chairman Greg Angst, who will be working with the Board and Executive Committee to hire my successor. I also wish to thank our entire current Board and Executive Committee, including past Board chairs Ron Taylor, Matt Schnell, Kathy Nelson, and Roger Bryant. I have learned a great deal from each and every one of you, and hope to keep in touch.

Finally, my sincere thanks and appreciation to the UTC staff. We are the hardest-working team in Washington (and beyond, thanks to our remote employees and global affiliates!). It staggers me to think about all we’ve accomplished in a relatively short time. You have met or exceeded all the challenges I’ve set for you, and I will miss working with you on a daily basis.

I know we will find the right successor and that UTC’s best days are ahead.

Thank you, Godspeed, and best wishes. Oh, and keep in touch – I am just a phone call or email away.

‘Bittersweet Day’ as UTC Applauds Ditto, Begins Search for Successor

UTC would like to express its appreciation for outgoing President and CEO Joy Ditto, who will be leaving the organization in January to head the American Public Power Association (APPA).

Ms. Ditto, who first joined UTC as President and CEO in April 2016, was appointed as the new President and CEO of APPA by the Association’s Board of Directors. She will remain with UTC through early January.

“This is a bittersweet day for UTC,” said UTC Chairman of the Board Greg Angst of CenterPoint Energy of Houston. “We will miss Joy’s incredible drive, enthusiasm, and leadership. She has taken UTC to a new level in Washington, raising our profile and securing numerous advocacy wins that most thought were impossible. It is clear that APPA recognizes these same qualities, and we wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors. UTC is a strong organization and we will immediately begin the search for Joy’s successor.”

Mr. Angst said the UTC Board of Directors aims to have a new President and CEO identified by the time Ms. Ditto leaves in January 2020. “This will be a thorough process,” he said. “We anticipate much interest in this position, given our unique vantage point representing utilities as we modernize grids and support our strong, resilient communications networks to safely and efficiently deliver our essential services. My thanks to the UTC staff for their hard work and focus during this time of transition; our next President and CEO will build on Joy’s successes and continue our momentum.”

“UTC is a vibrant and strong organization, and I am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved over the last three and a half years,” Ms. Ditto said. “We have a determined and focused staff that has been essential to everything we’ve accomplished. Our Board and Executive Committee have given me the necessary tools and guidance to succeed, and I am confident we will find a successor who will take UTC to the next level.

“I have learned a great deal about this industry and myself since joining UTC. These lessons will serve me well as I go back ‘home’ to APPA, where I spent 15 years of my career. I would like to thank the UTC Board and Executive Committee for their support during my tenure. I would also like to thank the UTC staff, who has met every challenge I put in front of them with grace and determination. Finally, thanks to my family and their unwavering support.”

UTC Hosts Nov. 6-8 5G, Broadband Workshop

Is your utility helping bridge the Digital Divide? Do you have the latest information about new federal proposals to fund rural broadband efforts? Do you know how new pole-attachment rules may impact your utility?

Even if you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, you should join your colleagues next month for UTC’s 5G, Broadband, and Small Cells for Utilities: What You Need to Know workshop in Nashville.

The Nov. 6-8 workshop will address how utilities are key players in the deployment of new communications technologies expected to unleash a wave of faster and broader connectivity. As bandwidth demand for these communications technologies, including both wireless and wireline, increases, so too does the demand on utilities, both in terms of increased broadband capacity and infrastructure access.

At the workshop, panelists will address what these changes mean for the deployment of fiber for retail and wholesale communications, including broadband for rural unserved areas and backhaul for wireless networks.  Attendees will learn how upgrading wireline and wireless networks improve utility communications, including for grid modernization and the industrial Internet of Things (IoT).

Finally, this workshop will address the implications for more small wireless antennas being attached to utility infrastructure, along with more regulations for faster deployment of the antennas and related equipment.

For more information, click here: https://utc.org/event/5g-and-utilities-workshop/.

See you in Nashville!

PowerGrid Forum Attracts Nearly 200 Attendees in Inaugural Event

Nearly 200 utility officials from all over North America discussed utility digitalization and the grid of the future at last week’s inaugural PowerGrid 4.0 Digitalization Forum in Montreal.

During the conference, a slate of speakers, including CEOs and high-ranking Quebec government officials, tackled numerous issues facing utilities as they modernize their systems to become more resilient, efficient, and cleaner.

Panelists discussed the following issues:

  • Digitalization Technologies for Substations
  • Building Digital Transmission Networks
  • The Importance of Having the Proper Foundation for a Digital Utility
  • The Future of Critical Infrastructure: Drivers of Change in a Digital Era
  • Cybersecurity—What Happens When You Decide Digitalization is Your Next Step?

And much more.

Speakers included Quebec Minister of Economy and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon, Hydro Quebec President and CEO Eric Martel, SNC-Lavalin President-Nuclear Sandy Taylor, Southern California Edison Chief Financial Officer Tres Petmecky, along with many others.

Special thanks to out host utility Hydro Quebec and our premier sponsor SNC-Lavalin. For a complete list of sponsors, speakers and panels, please visit our Website here: https://utcpowergrid.org/.

UTC CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Calendar of UTC committee/division conference calls

 

CONFERENCE CALLS/WEBINARS!

  • Oct. 22: Webinar! Fiber to the Home
  • Oct. 24: Sponsored Webinar! RFL: Substation IP Modernization
  • Nov. 6: Sponsored Webinar! Aviat: OT over Packet Radio—Chugach Case Study
  • Nov. 12: UtiliSite Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Nov. 12: Knowledge & Learning Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Nov. 15: Security, Risk, and Compliance Committee Call—For more information, contact Sharla Artz
  • Nov. 19: Utilities Broadband Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • Nov. 20: IT/OT Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Nov. 21: Technical Division Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Nov. 21: Telecom Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • Nov. 21: Public Policy Division Call—For more information, contact Sharla Artz