August 28, 2017

Maureen Coveney



Back to Agenda Register

Meet the Facilitator: Maureen Coveney

Energy Roundtable: The Smarter Grid: Flexible and Co-Optimized


 Maureen Coveney, CEO, Bolen Group

In 2015, Maureen established The Bolen Group to help utilities and utility ecosystem providers strengthen their market position by identifying and adapting to disruptive changes, and implementing solutions that move a company toward market leadership. Leveraging deep technical knowledge honed from 25 years of working in the utility market, Maureen and her team have helped clients select and implement new digital solution and service strategies, identify and mitigate risks, and design and foster adaptable organizations. Recent clients include Southern California Edison (SCE), PowerPlan, Rolls-Royce, and D-Tech, LLC.

Prior to The Bolen Group, Maureen was an Executive Vice President for Vertex Business Services. At Vertex, Maureen leveraged her customer relationship management and technical experience to lead a market strategy transformation.

Prior to joining Vertex, Maureen served as the Director of Leadership & Organizational Effectiveness at Southern California Edison’s nuclear station. In that capacity, she led the transformation of the business in support of SCE’s goals and commitments to regulators and oversight bodies. Prior to this role, Maureen served as the Director of IT for Southern California Edison’s generation portfolio.

Maureen’s leadership background includes serving as Executive Director for the Utilities Practice at SAP, as well as VP of Marketing and Product Management at OSIsoft, and Division Manager for Data Systems & Solutions, the Energy Consulting Services division of a joint venture between SAIC and Rolls-Royce. Maureen began her career as an engineer at the General Electric Company.



Jill Feblowitz, President, Feblowitz Energy Consulting

Seasoned professional with over 30 years of experience in the energy industry, advising utilities, oil & gas companies, manufacturers, information and communications technology companies, standards bodies, building owners, investors and government entities on energy policy,energy economics and business models, and emerging technologies.

Specialties: distributed energy resources, energy markets, grid management, energy efficiency, micro-grids, dynamic pricing, energy trading, risk management, building energy efficiency, smart cities.








Vonnie Smith, Vice President – Utilities Asset Performance, Bentley Systems

Vonnie Smith is vice president of utilities asset performance at Bentley Systems. She joined Bentley in 2005 and has worked in leadership capacities related to asset performance, geographic information system (GIS), utilities, and communications. Prior to joining Bentley, Smith was president and CEO of Cook-Hurlbert, having served in that capacity for over 20 years. During her tenure at Cook-Hurlbert, she focused corporate strategy and initiatives toward the company’s mission of providing software to the electric, gas, and water utilities industry. Cook-Hurlbert was subsequently acquired by Bentley and the company’s landmark product, Expert Designer, became the basis for Bentley’s OpenUtilities range of products.

Smith has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, with a specialization in electric power systems.


Kathy Shaffer, Vice President Smart Markets, OMNETRIC Group

Kathy Shaffer is Vice President, Smart Markets at OMNETRIC Group for North America.  She is responsible for leading a team which implements software-based solutions at utilities, helping them use data intelligence to improve their grid and business performance.  Kathy has 20 years of experience helping customers integrate technology in changing business environments and has developed deep experience in smart meter-related projects.

Prior to joining OMNETRIC Group, Kathy worked for Siemens where she led the operations of the Expert Services Team within eMeter. Previously, Kathy worked for Accenture where she implemented customer and billing solutions for utility companies. Kathy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the Broad School of Business at Michigan State University and a Master in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.


The Smarter Grid: Flexible and Co-Optimized

Power distribution has recently become a lot more complicated! The cost of renewables has been decreasing, attracting not just utilities but also communities and green-tech consortiums to the smaller-scale generation and distribution grid space. In addition, customers with smart thermostats, smart buildings, photo-voltaic (PV) or wind behind-the-meter are using less electricity and/or feeding supply back into the grid. Soon, the presence of an ever-increasing number of electric vehicles and storage on the grid will make the job of determining supply and demand a more challenging pursuit. This entire scenario wreaks havoc on the traditional utility business model.

The decrease in renewable costs plus the push to meet sustainability objectives have lead utilities to look at new ways of procuring and delivering electricity. Where regulators are providing for compensation, non-wires alternatives –including demand response, microgrids and storage–are being considered as alternatives to large capital investments in sub-stations and other distribution infrastructure. And, as utilities determine how to accommodate the demands of diverse grid players, the impact on the traditional energy infrastructure could be moderate to severe, considering that traditional energy assets were not meant to start and stop as frequently as this new operational paradigm may require.

This very same complexity breeds opportunity. Utilities need a new way of planning for and operating the grid because customer and utilities assets are more intertwined than ever. Third party-owned assets, such as utility scale storage, which utilities have contracted under power purchasing agreements (PPAs), are now part of the utilities’ operating assets, though not owned by the utility. A utility may want to pay for services provided by customer assets (PV plus storage) to the distribution grid to mitigate voltage fluctuations, for example. Traditional longer-term, capital rich investment cycles may not be as relevant in this new world, where conditions can change somewhat quickly and new solutions, asset and/or service-based partnerships, and regulatory rules need to be developed, tested and implemented in shorter timeframes.

The good news is the development in new technology for smart infrastructure – sensors, distributed energy resources management systems, microgrids, Big Data and Analytics, digital twins, Internet of Things, drones, smart EV charging, and smart lighting.  These technologies can be integrated with existing utility technologies, such as GIS, AMI, and DMS SCADA.   And community-led  partnerships with utilities and third parties are now exploring how to leverage collective strengths to manage a dynamic grid.

This session will explore how utilities can plan for asset related digital transformation to achieve a smart infrastructure for operating and maintaining a more dynamic grid. Topics to be explored include the following:

  • What should utilities be thinking about when they consider how effectively existing assets are being deployed?
  • For new construction, what are best practices for incorporating new technologies?
  • What approaches are recommended for bringing planning and operations—from both the utility and customer points of view—together to plan for “flexibility” and “co-optimization” of grid infrastructure? How do partners and third parties fit in?
  • What types of skills will be needed for advancing smart infrastructure?
  • How will the regulatory model need to change to accommodate the needs of customers, utilities and service providers who seek to participate in the new energy market?
  • What standards are already in place and what more needs to be done to promote interoperability of technology used by utilities and utility ecosystem providers?

[Back to top]