Obtaining Approval for a Resiliency Program – Playbook Review Part 5

In part four of this series, we discussed developing a resiliency program plan and how to effectively measure its impact. The next step is to obtain approval. This is the most challenging step of the process and success is not guaranteed. Completing the previous steps in detail with a focus on a clear objective and establishing the financial or ratepayer benefit is crucial.

Approval Process Steps

Here are the steps to obtaining approval:

1. Clarify and document a resiliency program objective, how a resiliency program can support the pursuit of the objective, and preliminary resiliency program plan, including a description of hardening, undergrounding, or other strategies anticipated.

2. Select a preliminary path to pursue approval—Public Utilities Commission (PUC) versus Legislative.

3. Capture and describe outage history and performance.

4. Capture and describe national weather history and demonstrate an increase in severe storm frequency and severity in your service territory.

5. Work with public affairs, rates, and communications groups within the utility to build a community outreach program to describe and position the resiliency program.

6. Identify and/or recruit champions within the PUC or legislature depending on the path chosen.

7. Build a regulatory or legislative approval approach in order to gain approval of the program and cost recovery approach. Cost recovery approaches are listed in chapter 4 of the Utility Infrastructure Resiliency Playbook.

8. Clearly document and incorporate anticipated performance improvement and ratepayer benefits.

9. Clearly forecast ratepayer impacts.

The collection and display of metrics to demonstrate implementation performance and results achieved for the benefit of ratepayers is critical. The reporting frequency is normally dictated by the PUC and annual reporting is most frequently selected. Utilities that have built effective stakeholder communications are reporting much more frequently.

Special Considerations for Undergrounding Strategies

Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Versus Legislative Path to Approval

Resiliency programs that rely on undergrounding strategies have and will continue to receive significant pushback, largely due to the high upfront cost. Ultimately, a utility wanting to pursue these types of programs for the ratepayer benefits in satisfaction and reliability will have to pick a traditional rate case, rider/surcharge, or legislative action. Regardless, a champion of this concept at the regulatory or legislative body is a necessary path. In addition, city, local, or regional government support and ratepayer communications are also required. In the case of a legislative approach, the development of a preliminary bill will require at least one, and preferably a bi-partisan group as a formal sponsor to develop and push the bill.

Severe Outage History

In addition to a champion, a customer satisfaction opportunity and outage history must be present. As is highlighted in Chapter 3 of the Utility Infrastructure Resiliency Playbook, a detailed analysis of outage performance focusing on geography, line, and equipment performance is required. Storm frequency and severity over a 10-year cycle is the financial driver of justification of a resilience program that will include undergrounding strategies.

Download the Playbook

Implementing a resiliency program is a long and multifaceted process—closer to running a marathon rather than a sprint. A well-developed program plan that supports implementation will raise the likelihood of approval and successfully executed construction. The next step of our process is implementing the resiliency program. Download a free copy of PDi2’s Utility Infrastructure Resiliency Playbook for a detailed look at each step, case studies, and links to additional resources.

October 2019

Utility Resiliency Playbook

Developed by PDi2

Ben Lanz

Director of Applications Engineering, Osmose
Chair/Voting Member PDi2

After 20 years in the power cable industry, Mr. Lanz currently holds the position of Director of Applications Engineering at Osmose and has technical oversight of power cable life cycle consulting. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society, a voting member of the IEEE Standards Society, and a member of the IEEE Dielectrics and Industrial Applications Societies. He has served as Chairman of the Insulated Conductors Committee (ICC) technical committees responsible for cable testing, cable reliability and surge arresters, Chairman of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) O&M Balance of Plant technical subcommittee, a UL technical study committee member for MV and HV DC cables and is a reviewer and voting pool member for InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA) standards. Mr. Lanz received his electrical engineering degree from the University of Connecticut (UCONN) under mentorship of Director of the Institute of Material Science Electrical Insulation Research Center (EIRC), Dr. Matthew Mashikian. He has published over a dozen papers on power system reliability, asset management, and diagnostics and regularly presents on the topics.

Monica Perez-Therese joined ABB in 2013 and is the Senior Director, Market Development, for the Installation Products division.

Throughout Monica’s career, she has held leadership positions both supplying electric utilities and working for electric utilities, including Prysmian Group (formerly General Cable), Ericsson, Bell Microproducts, Eversource and Exelon. In these positions, Monica has worked with the North American, Latin American and European markets traveling extensively to these geographies.

Monica holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University (Summa Cum Laude) and a Master’s degree in Power Engineering from The George Washington University. She is a Licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and is bilingual (English and Spanish).

Monica is an avid soccer fan of Spain’s “La Liga”, UEFA’s Champion’s League and FIFA’s World Cup.

Monica Perez-Therese

ABB Installation Products
Executive Board/Voting Member PDi2

Mr. Fluharty is a third generation utility contractor and has been developing large, complex electrical projects for the last 15 years. His leadership and vision in the underground construction sector in pipeline, broadband and electrical, gives him a unique perspective on the industry from a lot of different perspectives.

Mr. Fluharty is a board member of the Power and Communications Contractor Association (PCCA), and the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA) and Vice chairman of the Common Ground Alliance.

John W Fluharty, II is currently working as part of Troy Companies, LLC providing expertise in the underground electric industry.

John W. Fluharty, II

The Troy Companies, LLC
Chair/Voting Member PDi2

Matt Spalding is the VP of Commercial Development at Quanta Infrastructure Solutions Group, LLC (QISG) (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Quanta Services), one of the largest end-to-end solutions provider in North America for the power and infrastructure industry. Mr. Spalding’s electrical power industry experience spans almost 40 years with exceptionally broad leadership expertise from President/COO, R&D Core Team Leader, International Sales, Marketing, Product Management, Business Development, and Standards Engineering. He holds fifteen patents for electrical power devices, materials, and manufacturing. Mr. Spalding has dedicated the majority of his career improving LV, MV, HV & EHV underground systems with reliability through better component design, training and standards development. He has accomplished this through his roles and active participation in IEEE, ICC, and craft skills training organizations.

QISG offers the full spectrum of service capabilities that critical infrastructure owners need to design, build, operate, and maintain vital networks. QISG’s turnkey service capabilities provide our customers with efficiency, consistency, attention-to-detail, and safe execution. The QISG team brings together Engineering, Safety, Quality, Material Procurement, QA/QC, Right-of-Way Acquisition, Scheduling, Environmental Planning, Permitting, and Title & Land Management expertise that ensure outstanding results for our clients.

Matt Spalding

Quanta Services
Executive Board/Voting Member PDi2

Donna has over 30 years of experience in the wire and cable industry. Throughout her career, she has held several roles within sales and marketing and has led or contributed to many projects within Southwire and its various business segments (Electrical Distribution, International, OEM and Utility). She has supplier experience with Utility Direct and Utility Distribution sales models.

Donna serves on the USMA Board and is on the NAAUD Supplier Advisory Council. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alabama.

Donna Ward


Executive Board/Voting Member PDI2

Donna is Vice President, Utility Sales and Commercial Marketing for Southwire, one of North America’s leading manufacturers of wire and cable and a diversified electrical business. In her current role, she leads strategy development and execution, inside and outside sales, commercial marketing and business analytics for Southwire’s Utility business as the company seeks to remain generationally-sustainable for the next 100 years and beyond.

William maintains an active role within the wire and cable industry. He is currently Past President of ICEA (Insulated Cable Engineers Association). He is also an active member in various technical organizations such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories), CSA (Canadian Standards Association), and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).

William currently resides in Northern New Jersey with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys many activities which include running, biking, fishing, traveling, and watching his daughters grow up.

William A. Crawford

Vice President Engineering, The Okonite Company
Voting Member PDi2

William A. Crawford is Vice President Engineering at The Okonite Company. He received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Bucknell University. Since beginning his career at Okonite in 2005, he has participated in cable design, calculations, testing, product development, and technical support. In his current role, William is responsible for the oversite of the Applications Engineering Department and the Cable Evaluation & Development Laboratory.

In addition to his technical expertise in energy engineering, he is also a strategic professional with a strong business acumen. He has demonstrated the ability to identify and evaluate opportunities, and has successfully developed and implemented complex solutions in the design, analysis, and construction management of utility scale energy systems. He is skilled in engaging with senior leaders and other key stakeholders in IOU, municipal and Federal agencies to ensure that projects are delivered on time and within budget. He is committed to delivering high-quality work and is always looking for ways to improve his skills and knowledge.

James Codling

Sr. Practice Manager – Actalent
Voting Member PDi2

With over 30 years of experience in electrical, energy and water engineering, Jim has had the privilege of working with a variety of clients, including government, utility, and municipal organizations. His expertise in large scale energy engineering programs and projects has allowed him to deliver successful outcomes on complex projects. He is proud of his ability to work collaboratively with teams and stakeholders to ensure that projects are aligned with the overall business strategy and objectives.

Paul Brigandi

Application Technology Leader, Power Cables - DOW
Executive Board/Voting Member PDi2

Dr. Paul Brigandi is Application Technology Leader for Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics Wire & Cable business in North America based in Collegeville, PA.  Paul has experience in the power transmission and distribution as well as telecommunication markets focused on research and development of new insulation, jacket, conductive composites, and polymer modifier material developments.  His technical expertise includes formulation and processing of polyolefins, elastomers, and polymer composites.  Paul is active in several industry organizations including Insulated Conductors Committee, Communications Cable and Connectivity Association, and Fiber Broadband Association technical committees.  He also serves as 1st Vice President and on the Board of Directors of the Society of Plastics Engineers Palisades-MidAtlantic Section.  Paul earned a Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from Lehigh University and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware. He is also an active Adjunct Professor at Lehigh University in the Material Science & Engineering department.  

Burns & McDonnell is a full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting solutions firm with more than 10,000 engineers, architects, construction professionals, planners, estimators, economists, technicians and scientists, representing virtually all design disciplines. We plan, design, permit, construct and manage facilities all over the world, with one mission in mind: make our clients successful. Being 100 percent employee-owned, we are each personally dedicated to making every client project a success. It drives our teams to provide tailored solutions that solve some of our customers’ greatest challenges.Intelligence Initiative. 

Frank Morrissey

Burns & McDonnell
Executive Board/Voting Member PDi2

As the Director of Underground & Submarine Cables at Burns & McDonnell, I work with Electric Utilities and Developers to support them in their goals of enhancing resiliency, upgrading and replacing aging infrastructure, overcoming major regulatory changes and permitting requirements, and achieving decarbonization goals with the installation of offshore wind, onshore wind, battery storage systems and solar plants. Underground electric infrastructure is paramount to the future of the electric grid and Burns & McDonnell's Engineering and Construction teams provide a customized solution to make each of our clients successful in achieving their goals to provide safe, reliable and affordable power for their customers.

Tony Hemling

Voting Member/PDi2

Troy Helming is a modern-day industrialist and Unicorn founder. He’s an innovator, inventor, author, an elite athlete (invited 4x to compete on American Ninja Warrior), and a clean energy executive. As a creator, he’s founded clean energy & climate-tech companies that have generated more than $30 Billion of economic impact to date and invented 2 technologies that have led to over 60 clean energy patent claims.

Mike Beehler

National Spokesperson/PDI2

Mike Beehler has 40 years of electric T&D experience at Tucson Electric Power, Hawaiian Electric Company and Burns & McDonnell.  He is educated as a civil/structural engineer and is a registered professional engineer in eight states.  He currently is the founding member and Chief Opportunity Officer of Mike Beehler & Associates, LLC and serves as the National Spokesperson for the Power Delivery Intelligence Initiative. 

Mike is a Fellow in ASCE and a Member of IEEE and CIGRE.  He has been married for 40 years and has four adult children and some delightful grandchildren.  He lives on Singer Island, FL.


Tim Wagner, Executive Director

Tim Wagner has nearly thirty years of association management experience, including positions as President & CEO, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Director of Finance. He has been instrumental in the financial and program success of several associations in the power, energy, and broadband industries. He has vast experience at national trade associations, including association governance, grant management, workforce development, planned giving, meeting planning, accounting, investment management, employee benefits, building operations, and information systems. Tim is a graduate (summa cum laude) of the University of Virginia, where he presented his thesis on the Economic Impact of the Rural Electrification Administration.

Landry Molimbi

Head of Asset Management and Prysmian Electronics
Prysmian Group North America
Voting Member PDi2

Landry Molimbi is responsible for leading all Asset Management and Product Development activities for High Voltage & Medium Voltage Partial Discharge testing/monitoring services, optical sensing products (DAS, DTS) and innovative solutions for the North America Business Units (High Voltage, Power Distribution, Industrial, Telecom).

In this role, Landry is focused on business development, project management, technical sales support, and Partial Discharge measurement services for the Prysmian Group proprietary and revolutionary PRY-CAM technologies for the asset management of electrical systems, helping utilities increase uptime, asset longevity and safety while reducing maintenance costs & risks.

Landry started his career with General Cable (Silec) in 2007 and joined NKT Photonics in 2011. He moved to the Prysmian Group as Vice President for the Prysmian Electronics BU in 2018.

Born in Paris, France, Landry holds a master’s degree in Engineering from the ENSEM, a school of the National Polytechnic Institute of Lorraine in Nancy. Landry is also a member of various industry committees and an active member of CIGRE.


David Lindsay

Marketing Manager – Energy Borealis Compounds, Inc.
Immediate-past Chairman/Voting Member PDi2

David Lindsay is currently Marketing Manager for the Energy business of Borealis Compounds, Inc. in North America. He has over 20 years in the US wire and cable business, working at manufacturers, non-profit organizations and electrical contractors. His experiences range from research and product development, to manufacturing, construction and installation of EHV cable systems. At Borealis he is responsible for customer and end-use marketing, and strategic planning of all wire and cable related product lines.

David serves on the NEETRAC Advisory Board, is actively involved in IEEE Insulated Conductor Committee and is past US representative to Cigré SC B1. He holds a Bachelors of Materials Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Masters of Business Administration from the University of West Georgia.