Still time to register for Utility Energy Forum

May 13-15, 2015
Granlibakken Resort
Lake Tahoe, California

The 35th annual Utility Energy Forum  You are leaving (UEF) is only eight weeks away. If you have been putting off your registration, now is the time to sign up for three days of networking, learning, building bridges and finding inspiration in Lake Tahoe, California.

Even better, if you are a Western customer attending the event for the first time, there are still $100 scholarships available to offset the already-reasonable fee. Western encourages its customers to attend the forum because it offers so much to utility professionals who work with consumers.

“I am really excited by this year’s agenda,” said Energy Services Manager Ron Horstman, who is on the planning committee. “Utilities face a growing list of issues that have the potential to completely remake the way we do business. The forum offers a relaxed and informal space to look at these challenges from different angles and identify hidden opportunities to create stronger business models.”

Tackling tough questions
Take, for example, the top three topics up for discussion during the Pre-forum Workshop exclusively for utility and government representatives:

  • Community solar and potential impacts on utilities
  • Distributed generation, and using micro-grid technologies to replace utility infrastructure and improve reliability
  • Utility benefits from net metering and feed-in tariffs

Some attendees may be lying awake at night wondering what to do if a mandate or consumer demand pushes them into adoption before they can assess the impacts. Others have already had experience integrating these technologies and programs into their operations and are eager to share what they have learned. The Pre-conference Workshop gets both camps together to address concerns, learn from past missteps and brainstorm innovative solutions.

Once the conference gets rolling, experts across the industry will discuss potential carbon regulations, emerging technologies, workforce development and—most importantly—consumer programs. “Our industry is in transition,” noted Horstman. “Ultimately, it is going to be the consumer that drives most of the change that threatens to disrupt business as usual.”

Utility customers have higher expectations and are more educated about energy now, he added. “They still want reliable, affordable power, but they are concerned about the environmental costs,” explained Horstman. “New technologies are becoming more affordable and giving people more choices. The ratepayers of the future may be more like partners to power providers, rather than conventional customers.”

Meeting movers
What sets the Utility Energy Forum apart from most other conferences is more than just a packed roster of (admittedly excellent) speakers. More than anything, the forum is about the opportunity to engage with the people who are doing the real work of creating and launching utility programs.

Graham Parker of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory quizzes attendees on the finer points of efficiency program management. (Photo by Randy Martin)
Graham Parker of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory quizzes attendees on the finer points of efficiency program management. (Photo by Randy Martin)

Maybe you aren’t the type to speak up during the question-and-answer portion of a presentation, or maybe you thought of a crucial and pressing question half an hour later. Don’t worry, you can ask the speaker during the break or the next meal. That would also be a good time to buttonhole the attendee who mentioned a program during the “Utility Snapshots” session that sounds a lot like one you started at your utility.

If you are shopping around for new program and policy ideas to help you meet load management goals, consider giving “speed-dating” a try. The Utility Program Stand-up Challenge assembles a veritable smorgasbord of storyboards on successful utility-sponsored energy programs. In four lightening rounds, attendees get to question presenters about the program’s goals, successes and lessons. There will be time at the end to check out other presentations to see what you missed. Or you can get more details from presenters over a glass of port during the “Any Port in a Storm” reception later that evening.

Like a mini-presentation, the Utility Program Stand-up Challenge covers the highlights of a successful program or technology in just a few minutes. (Photo by Randy Martin)
Like a mini-presentation, the Utility Program Stand-up Challenge covers the highlights of a successful program or technology in just a few minutes. (Photo by Randy Martin)

Such a deal
Another thing that distinguishes the UEF from other events is what a great bargain it is. The registration fee covers not only the high-quality sessions and networking activities, but the lodging at Granlibakken Resort and all meals as well. The off-season rates make it tempting to extend your stay before or after the conference to enjoy springtime at Lake Tahoe.

Western can make the Utility Energy Forum an even better deal for first time attendees from utility customers. Contact Ron Horstman at 720-962-7419 to learn more about eligibility and to apply.

Have your say: Suggest topics for Pre-forum Workshop at Utility Energy Forum

May 13-15, 2015
Tahoe City, Calif.

The 35th annual Utility Energy Forum You are leaving is just around the corner and there is still time to shape the agenda.uef

What’s on your mind?
The program planning committee is accepting topic suggestions for the Pre-Forum Workshop for utility and government employees. The session is a roundtable discussion where power providers and government representatives can talk candidly about the issues that concern them most.

Community solar, distributed generation, net metering, new utility business models, partnering to stay in the game and microgrids are just few of the subjects that might be on attendees’ radar. But don’t stop there—this is your chance to learn from colleagues who wrestle with the same demons, and to take home new solutions, and possibly, new partners.

Paul Reid of Azusa Light and Power You are leaving and Ron Horstman, Western’s Energy Services Manager, are co-chairing the workshop. No topic is off limits, no idea too “out there,” for these UEF veterans, so expect a no-holds-barred session that will rock a few boats.

Use this online survey You are leaving to share what is keeping you up at night. Remember, participation in the Pre-Forum Workshop is limited to utility and government employees. Speak your mind, and complete the survey by Feb. 5.

And that ain’t all…
Of course, the Pre-Forum Workshop is only the appetizer for the information banquet that is the Utility Energy Forum. Utility managers and marketers, energy manager and program developers and customer service professional return to the forum year after year to stay current on the latest trends in the energy utility industry.UEFbot

This year’s theme, Transformation is NOW, will weave through sessions that challenge traditional thinking and encourage participants to find innovative ways to cope with the rapidly changing energy utility industry. If you have never attended the UEF, this is a good year to start, and if you are planning to attend, register today. Early bird discounts end March 14.

As if outstanding professional development and networking opportunities were not enough reason to attend, Lake Tahoe is beautiful in May and registration includes all (terrific) meals, as well as lodging at Granlibakken Resort You are leaving

Share your concerns today, and then join other utility and government employees to brainstorm the answers May 13-15. See you in Granlibakken.

Join the crowd at Utility Energy Forum

May 14-16
Tahoe City, Calif.

Judging from this year’s high registration numbers, the 34th Utility Energy ForumRedirecting to a non-government site is going to be a great place to meet and network with your colleagues from other western utilities and trade allies. 

Attendees at the 2013 Utility Energy Forum listen to a five-minute presentation during the Utility Program Stand-Up Challenge and Ice Cream Social. (Photo by RLMartin)
Attendees at the 2013 Utility Energy Forum listen to a five-minute presentation during the Utility Program Stand-Up Challenge and Ice Cream Social. (Photo by RLMartin)

Utility professionals in marketing, planning, energy services and customer service will gather at Granlibakken Conference Center May 14-16, to explore strategies for creating successful load management programs.

Several Western customers are not only attending, they are also sponsoring the event. You will have the opportunity to learn how Riverside Public Utility, Roseville Electric, Sacramento Municipal Utility and others are leveraging consumer interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy to respond to our rapidly changing industry. Exhibitors from energy services and technology companies will introduce you to products and programs that can help your utility achieve its energy management goals.

The agenda is set up to examine how legislation and policy, customer demands and expectations and technology advancements affect utility programs and operations. Western Administrator Mark Gabriel will deliver the opening keynote address. Speakers from government facilities and agencies, energy consulting firms, universities, businesses and nonprofit groups will provide insights from their unique perspectives.

Low-key, informal networking opportunities set the forum apart from other industry events, and there are plenty on offer. In addition to leisurely snack breaks and meals, attendees can network around the campfire or learn about utility-sponsored programs, speed-dating style—with ice cream. Cement new professional relationships at the ever-popular “Any Port in a Storm” port wine tasting, with live music.

The registration fee of $795 for utility and government professionals covers two nights of standard lodging, all meals and receptions. Upgrades are available if you want to bring a friend and stay an extra day to enjoy springtime in beautiful Lake Tahoe.

The Utility Energy Forum is an excellent investment in professional development for utility program managers. The things you learn, the people you meet and the ideas you hatch will pay off all year around.

Agenda just updated for 34th Utility Energy Forum

May 14-16
Tahoe City, Calif.UEF-2014

Make your plans now to participate in one of the best annual networking and learning opportunities in the utility industry. Check out the recently updated agendaRedirecting to a non-government site for the 34th Utility Energy Forum, scheduled for May 14-16 at the Granlibakken Conference Center in Tahoe City, Calif.

Utility professionals from around the West will be sharing their strategies for modernizing approaches and leveraging consumer interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Expect frank discussions about what works, what doesn’t and where the programs go from here.

Attendees will explore trending issues from the point of view of policy makers, including Western Administrator Mark Gabriel, large customers and researchers. Presentations will cover new technologies for reducing energy use and demand. More than 20 exhibitors have already signed up to introduce valuable products and services.

The Utility Energy Forum is, most of all, a networking and professional development event for mid-level staff of energy utilities who deal with customer programs related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, key account management and customer service. Although it targets utilities serving Western states, anyone involved in delivering energy-efficiency or demand-management programs will benefit from attending.

Western and several of its customers are sponsoring this meeting. Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Roseville Electric, Imperial Irrigation District, Modesto Irrigation District, City of Palo Alto Utilities, Riverside Public Utilities and Truckee-Donner PUD are all supporters of the Utility Energy Forum.

Join these leaders in utility energy program development, and meet your next program partner or mentor in Tahoe City. Register before March 14 to receive the early-bird discount.

Presentations Now Online from 33rd Utility Energy Forum

We enjoyed meeting all the customers who attended the Utility Energy Forum Redirecting to a non-government site last week—your participation made the event entertaining as well as educational. Special thanks go out to sponsors Sacramento Municipal Utility District Redirecting to a non-government site, City of Palo Alto Utilities Redirecting to a non-government site, Imperial Irrigation District Redirecting to a non-government site, Riverside Public Utilities Redirecting to a non-government site, Roseville Electric Redirecting to a non-government site and Silicon Valley Power Redirecting to a non-government site for their hard work putting together a program that addressed regional utilities’ most pressing concerns.

Now you can revisit the presentations to pick up some tips for your own programs, or find out what you missed if you were unable to join us.  You can also learn more about the UEF sponsors and exhibitors.

Attendees who didn’t fill out the paper survey at the forum can still complete an online survey Redirecting to a non-government site. Your two cents worth helps the planning committee make the UEF better each year.

Circle May 14-16, 2014, on your calendar so you don’t miss next year’s Utility Energy Forum. Western customers in the Rocky Mountain Region, will want to save Oct. 8-10, 2013, for the Rocky Mountain Utility Efficiency Exchange Redirecting to a non-government site.

And if you don’t have an event in your region that brings together utility colleagues to share challenges and solutions, contact your Energy Services representative and get one started!  In the meantime, consider joining Linkedin Group Discussions Redirecting to a non-government site.

Agenda for Colorado Utility Efficiency Exchange now online

Find out what informative and thought-provoking ideas will be discussed at the fourth annual Colorado Utility Efficiency Exchange, Oct. 13-15, in Aspen, Colo. The 2010 agenda has just been updated with speakers, session titles and poster topics.

Western’s Energy Services is sponsoring the event, and Breaking News will be covering the sessions live from Aspen. Let us know which session most interest you so we can highlight them here.

Don’t see the subject you most want to talk about? Just because the agenda looks full, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to suggest another topic. Share your ideas in “Comments,” or e-mail them to Energy Services or the Utility Exchange. See you in Aspen!

CUE Exchange calls for presenters

The deadline for suggesting topics for the 4th annual Colorado Utility Efficiency Exchange is July 31. The City of Aspen Utilities is hosting the event, Oct. 13-15, at Aspen Meadows Resort.

Modeled on the Utility Energy Forum, the CUE Exchange is a gathering of professionals from energy and water utilities serving Colorado and neighboring states, trade allies and sponsoring organizations dedicated to efficiency. Over three days, participants discuss customer programs related to energy and water efficiency, renewable energy, demand response and key account customer management. Participants ask questions, form partnerships and come up with new ideas, with emphasis on the regional point of view. 

An ad hoc Agenda Planning Committee puts together the agenda each year, but don’t think that gets you off the hook. Your input is more than welcomed–it is what makes the CUE Exchange fresh and relevant.  Anyone can recommend themselves or others to present a 30″ x 40″ poster, a 10-minute “snapshot” panel presentation or a 30-minute presentation.

To submit your recommendations to the committee, complete the online form with information as you would like it to appear in the published agenda. Don’t forget to include a brief bio sketch of your qualifications to present your topic. To suggest topics only, scroll down to the last  large box on the form.

Presentations from Utility Energy Forum now online

Couldn’t make it to Tahoe City for the 30th annual Utility Energy Forum? You can still find out what everyone was talking about by downloading the speaker presentations!

Draw on the expertise of utility professionals with years of experience in demand-side management. Learn about the latest government programs to promote energy efficiency. Discover new technologies that could change the way we use energy.

The presentations are on the agenda page, so you will get to see all the great networking events the forum offers, too. While you are there, check out Western’s entry in the Poster Session, Video Game Consoles: An Energy Heist?.

If perusing the information- and fun-packed schedule makes you feel like you missed out on a great opportunity for professional development, don’t despair. Plan to attend the 31st annual Utility Energy Forum at Granlibakken in 2011.

Welcome to interactive Breaking News

Notice anything different about Breaking News? We’ve gone interactive! Look for the same information on programs, policies, technology and opportunities you’ve always found on Energy Services’ Breaking News, only faster.

Even better, this format allows you to share your insights with Western and other readers. We at Energy Services know that it’s going to take the best and brightest minds to meet the challenges facing the utility industry today, and that describes you, our customers. Use the comment section at the end of each story to add your two cents’ worth. Expand upon the information in the post—or ask us to. You can also link to other resources, including those on your website.

To celebrate our new format, we will be covering the Utility Energy Forum,  May 5-7, from Tahoe City, Calif. We hope you’ll follow our reports, and visit—and contribute—to the new, interactive Breaking News often. Bookmark this URL and the RSS feed, read up on our comments policy and get into the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.