Anyhow, EUCI recommends attendance at this conference for "community group representatives." Because transmission opposition groups need to learn how to be best participated with, so they can fall for the strategies and methods transmission developers use to positively engage community group stakeholders and overcome project obstacles, such as community group stakeholders. You will leave this conference with practical tools and techniques that can be immediately implemented within your own organization to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the transmission developer's public participation program, and, you know, fall for their crap and start supporting the transmission project that's going to ruin your property. What's not to like? It will only cost you $1,595 plus travel, lodging and expenses in Phoenix for a couple days. So, get those banana muffins in the oven and get busy raising your registration fees today with a bake sale down at the community center!
And what's on the echo chamber agenda this year?
Crafting a Comprehensive Stakeholder Communications Plan for Your Transmission Project, presented by Pepco, the company whose merger with Exelon was rejected by the DC Public Service Commission this year. Maybe they should have spent more time crafting a comprehensive regulatory communications plan for their merger? But I'm sure their transmission project communications plans are spot on!
Or how about Public Outreach in the Pre-Permitting Stage of a Transmission Project, presented by Holland & Hart? Here you can find out how to anticipate political objections and make sure your purchase of a permit can withstand appeals.
And then there's Case Study: Conducting Public Outreach on a Unique 500 kV Underground Transmission Project by So. Cal. Edison. I'm guessing this will be a really short one, since underground transmission projects are usually supported by the public without a bunch of political glad-handing, front groups, or advocacy purchases.
And here we go again with the cutsie-poo topic names that have previously gotten EUCI in trouble with Mayberry -- It's Geek to Me: Using Visual Design to Break Down the Technical Language Barrier. In other words, Mayberry is stupid and can't handle more than three words and a picture. Although, I do usually advise community groups to use the same tactics to design their messaging materials. But then again, the public doesn't expect community groups to present their material in any kind of professional fashion that gives off an aura of technical authority.
And don't miss this! Case study - CapX2020 Projects: Public Outreach Lessons Learned Along the Way. Xcel Energy is going to tell you how they built a whole bunch of new transmission by creating a non-controversial permitting process.
CapX2020 is a joint initiative of 11 transmission owning utilities in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin to upgrade and expand the electric transmission grid to ensure continued reliable and affordable service. The five 230 and 345 kV projects provide needed transmission capacity to support new generation outlet, including renewable energy. CapX2020 includes electric cooperatives, municipals and investor-owned utilities. The CapX2020 lines are projected to cost more than $2 billion and cover nearly 800 miles. When discussions and planning activities started in 2004, the institutional environment for planning for large scale transmission expansion was not mature and major issues such as cost allocation and recovery were unresolved. The diverse coalition of CapX2020 utilities, environmental groups, renewable energy developers, regulators and others was able to agree on regulatory reforms that addressed many of the issues at the state level. Meanwhile, MISO, through stakeholder processes was able to address issues related to cost allocation and recovery. Extensive public engagement activities were effective in building support for the projects and allowed for a timely and relatively non-controversial permitting process. It was during construction that some of the most difficult challenges were encountered. In this session, you will hear some of the details of how these issues were successfully addressed as the projects near completion on schedule and on budget.
Amazing! Maybe next they can re-write some history books to erase awful things like Hitler and Osama Bin Laden, too? I'm looking forward to Xcel making this world a better place through revisionist history!
But, wait, there's so much more! Hear ATC explain how it "manages" public fear of EMF and stray voltage issues, even though it's a public perception issue that cannot be alleviated through additional industry studies. And Tampa Electric Co. will tell you how to "successfully address project opposition." I wonder if that includes begging? On their knees?
Arizona Public Service advises how to make those pesky round opposition pegs fit into square utility holes:
In the business of siting electric utility infrastructure, opposition is the norm rather than the exception. While customers typically love an electric utility's product, they almost universally loathe the infrastructure necessary to deliver that product. In this session, we will discuss how to:
Acknowledge a customer's concern
Discern when a customer's concern cannot be resolved
Steer an opponent toward providing constructive input
Well, one thing's for certain. It's warm in Phoenix in January. I hope all the utility yahoos have fun in the sun because they're unlikely to learn anything useful.