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The Utility Business Model: Evolution or Revolution?

Monday, September 22nd, 2014 7:00pm-9:00pm (Doors open at 6:30pm), The WNYC Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, 44 Charlton Street, NYC

**NOTE** This event is sold out and at capacity!  Please join us via our live stream! **

FREE live stream hosted by Greentech Media starting at 7:05pm.

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As residential consumers take increasingly active stances toward energy management and generation, fundamental assumptions of the electric utility model are being challenged. Power providers counting on load growth and guaranteed rates of return for consistent financial returns now face disruption from the rapid expansion of residential solar, storage, and new financial innovations. GTM Research has shown that distributed PV nearly halved electricity demand growth in California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey in 2013. In another few years, New York may face a similar situation.

Lost profits and the threat to shareholder value and pensions are serious concerns, but are only the tip of the iceberg. Tying utility revenue to kilowatt-hours sold has resulted in an oversized power grid and lagging incentives for demand response, energy efficiency, and distributed generation. NRG CEO David Crane has suggested a scenario in which “the grid is, at best, an antiquated backup system to a different way of buying electricity.”

Several state regulators have taken steps toward remaking the utility business model to address these issues. New York policymakers, at the forefront of these efforts, recently launched an overhaul of electricity regulation in the state with the goal of increasing efficiency, resource diversity, and resiliency. This panel will examine emerging challenges and opportunities as utilities in NY and around the country evolve to meet the needs of a next-generation power system, develop services that offer their customers more choice, and deliver increased value to their shareholders.

The discussion is a featured event of Solar One and NYC ACRE’s cleantech panel discussion series, Clean Energy Connections in partnership with Greentech Media. Follow our ongoing online discussion at

Event Schedule

6:30 – 7:00 – Registration & Networking
7:00 – 8:30 – Panel Discussion
8:30 – 9:00 – Reception


Katherine Hamilton- Principal, 38 North Solutions, @CleanGridView

katherine hamilton

Katherine Hamilton is co-host of the Energy Gang Podcast and co-founder of 38 North Solutions, a public policy firm focused on clean energy and innovation. Previously, she was a Director at QGA Public Affairs and the President of the GridWise Alliance. Katherine has advocated for biomass (Co-Directing the American Bioenergy Association), renewable energy (as Manager of Government Relations for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory), and energy efficiency (as program manager for the Federal Energy Management Program’s SAVEnergy audit program and a Certified Energy Manager). Katherine has degrees from Cornell University and the Sorbonne, and studied electrical engineering at Northern Virginia Community College.


Stephen Lacey, Senior Editor, Greentech Media, @stphn_Lacey

stephen lacy

Stephen Lacey is co-host of the Energy Gang Podcast and a Senior Editor at Greentech Media, where he focuses primarily on energy efficiency. He has extensive experience reporting on the business and politics of cleantech. He was formerly Deputy Editor of Climate Progress, a climate and energy blog based at the Center for American Progress. He was also an editor/producer with Renewable Energy World. He received his B.A. in journalism from Franklin Pierce University.


Sergej Mahnovski – Director, Utility of the Future Team at Con Edison


Sergej Mahnovski is Director of the Utility of the Future team at Con Edison. He formerly served as Director of the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability for NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, where he managed citywide energy and sustainability policy. Sergej has served as Chairman of the New York City Energy Policy Task Force, Chairman of the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation, and board member of the New York State Smart Grid Consortium. He is currently an Assistant Adjunct Professor at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

Previously, Sergej was Director in the Global Power Group at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates and a Doctoral Fellow at RAND Corporation. Sergej is a graduate of Stanford University, with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and B.A. in History. He received his M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Policy Analysis from the RAND Graduate School.


Jigar Shah, CEO, Jigar Shah Consulting, @JigarShahDC

  jigar shah

Mr. Shah is co-host of the Energy Gang Podcast and CEO of Jigar Shah Consulting, which focuses on the key issues necessary to implement profitable solutions to climate change. Mr. Shah also served as the first CEO of the Carbon War Room, a non-profit organization whose mission is to harness the power of entrepreneurs to unlock market-driven solutions to climate change. Previously, Mr. Shah was the Founder and CEO of SunEdison, LLC. Shah holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the University of Maryland. He sits on the Boards of Directors of Empower Energies, Carbon War Room, SolarNexus, KMR Infrastructure, Prometheus Institute, and Greenpeace USA.

Audrey Zibelman - Chair, New York Department of Public Service

audrey zibelman

Audrey Zibelman was confirmed as a Commissioner of the New York State Public Service Commission on June 19, 2013, and was named Chair on September 3, 2013. As PSC Chair, she sits on the State Energy Planning Board. She is also Chair of the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment. She sits on the board of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the board of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Inc. (RGGI), the New York State Disaster Preparedness Commission, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Task Force. Ms. Zibelman was recently appointed to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Board of Directors, and is a member of the NARUC Committee on Electricity. Ms. Zibelman has extensive experience in the public, private and not-for-profit energy and electricity sectors. She is a recognized national and international expert in energy policy, markets and Smart Grid innovation.

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