Deputy Secretary of Energy Poneman stops by Western

Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman talks with Western employeesIn a spontaneous visit to Colorado Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman made a quick stop by Western’s Corporate Services Office in Lakewood, Sept. 14, sandwiched between two other meetings in the area.

Opening with “I’m not really hear to talk; I’m here to answer any questions you have on your mind,” Poneman said in his video conference with several hundred Western employees.

He shared his own insight about the very exciting and challenging time we’re facing in the electric utility industry. “With everything around the electrical grid in flux, from the supply side of the industry to the demand side, the idea of bringing new resources into the grid,” he said, “is very exciting.”

Poneman described the input and output of electricity as a pipe that has to be smart enough to deal with the variables. He continued by sharing his view of the complexity of the electric grid that is tied with the legal regulations, new technologies and risks. Stating that in this equation, Western has a central role, Mr. Poneman said, “It is obvious that Western must play a very integral and cutting edge role as we are trying to seize the opportunity of our electrical economy and mitigate some of the challenges we do face.”

With all this at Western’s forefront, Poneman wrapped up his opening discussion by acknowledging Western’s leadership in modernizing the transmission system. He said Western employees have the wit, energy and intellect to move through this challenging time.

A few employees at the Lakewood office braved asking questions. One employee questioned how the DOE/Western Joint Outreach Team and Secretary Chu’s March 16 memo are connected.

Poneman’s lengthy response explained the evolution of the memo and the need to meet several objectives.

Bottom line: We’re not finished evaluating the situation; Western and DOE are currently looking at all the items listed in the memo to see where progress can be made.

So, if you had been there, what would you have asked the Deputy Secretary?

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