2020 Western Chapter Annual Meeting Speaker Bios

Speaker bios

Brad Albert

Albert-Brad_(1)Brad Albert is vice president of resource management for Arizona Public Service Company (APS). Based in Phoenix, APS is Arizona’s largest electric utility company and serves nearly 1.3 million customers across the state. 

Albert is responsible for long-term resource planning; acquisition activities for both conventional and renewable resources; fuel procurement activities, including long-term coal supply contracts and natural gas pipeline transportation contracts; and all energy commodity trading activities for APS.

 Albert has been with the company for more than 30 years and has had a variety of responsibilities, including within the areas of resource planning, resource acquisitions, risk management, energy trading and nuclear power plant licensing. 

He is a board member with the Valley of the Sun YMCA, where he serves on the Properties Committee, Finance Committee, Financial Development Committee and Executive Committee.

Ali Amirali

Ali Amirali is a Senior Vice President of Starwood Energy Group. In this role, he is responsible for the expansion of Starwood Energy Group’s StarTrans high-voltage transmission assets, as well as for new business/project opportunities in the transmission and distribution arena in North America. He also supports the origination, development and acquisition activities associated with utility-scale power generation and storage projects. 

Prior to joining Starwood Energy Group in 2010, Mr. Amirali held a variety of key technical and leadership positions at Element Power, LS Power, Calpine Corp., California Independent Systems Operator and Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  He has participated in the development and interconnection of more than 5,000 megawatts of electric generation in the Western U.S. and Mexico, and has developed and managed several large transmission line projects designed to improve reliability, reduce congestion, and deliver energy from thermal and renewable resources. Mr. Amirali received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the Iowa State University, an M.S. in electrical engineering from University of Idaho, a Master’s of Engineering in engineering management from the University of Colorado, and an MBA from Colorado State University. He is also a licensed Professional Engineer registered in the state of California.

Judy Chang

Chang,_Judy_Photo

Judy Chang is an energy economist and policy expert with a background in electrical engineering. She has 20 years of experience in advising clients in transmission, resource, and strategic planning.

She specializes in evaluating the economic benefits of proposed transmission projects, assessing the regulatory and financial risks associated with renewable/clean energy resources and energy storage, and leading utility executives, stakeholders, and board members, in making strategic business decisions. Ms. Chang’s recent planning engagements have involved the development of future energy market scenarios, and leading utilities and grid operators in making market design or investment decisions that are necessary to balance national or regional policy directions and customers’ evolving preferences. Relatedly, she has led transmission system planners, market design experts, and associated stakeholders in improving market design and system planning using a scenario-based approach.

Ms. Chang has served as an expert witness in regulatory proceedings and litigation settings. She has submitted expert testimonies to arbitration panels and regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Canada on topics related to transmission access, transmission pricing, renewable energy development, contract disputes, and power market designs. Her recent experiences involve economic and policy analyses associated with widening regional electricity markets, evaluating the potential impact of integrating renewable energy onto power systems, evaluating the value of proposed transmission projects, and advising companies and governments on energy and environment policies.

The Honorable Megan Decker

Decker,_MeghanMegan Decker was appointed to the Oregon Public Utility Commission by Governor Kate Brown in April 2017 and was promoted to Commission Chair in May 2018. Chair Decker represents Oregon as Co-Chair of the Committee on Regional Electric Power Cooperation (CREPC), as well as a member of the Steering Committee of the Northern Tier Transmission Group (NTTG) and the Western Interconnection Regional Advisory Body (WIRAB). She also previously served as Co-Vice-Chair of the Energy Resources and the Environment Committee for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

Prior to her appointment, Chair Decker was an Assistant General Counsel with the Port of Portland. She developed expertise in energy policy and regulation as Chief Counsel for Renewable Northwest, where she managed utility commission advocacy in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana and served as Board Chair of the NW Energy Coalition. Chair Decker’s legal experience also includes private practice in land use and a clerkship with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Chair Decker earned her law degree from the University of Washington, where she graduated with high honors. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Stanford University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, earned honors in Latin American Studies, and received the Firestone Medal for Excellence in Research.

 

Sarah Edmonds

Edmonds,_Sarah

 

Ms. Edmonds is responsible for regulatory and policy matters affecting PGE’s transmission and market services business.  She oversees the development of strategy and policy recommendations relating to market expansion and development, emerging regional and national marketplace initiatives, and transmission rates. 

 

Meghan Grabel

Grabel,_MeghanMeghan Grabel is a partner in the firm’s Administrative Law group, where she leads the firm’s Energy, Water, and Utility Law practice group.  Having served as both Associate General Counsel of Regulatory and as head of the revenue requirement and rate design departments for Arizona’s largest investor­owned electric utility, Meghan has a unique blend of substantive energy and utility industry business knowledge and legal acumen.   At Osborn Maledon, Meghan represents energy, water, and wastewater companies in their transactional and regulatory matters, including expansion of service areas, rate cases, financing applications, negotiation of various extension and service agreements, plant acquisitions and divestitures, renewable energy and transmission projects (including approvals and development), and appeals from adverse administrative and public utility commission decisions.  She represents telecommunications and technology clients, including cable and telecommunication providers, in contract negotiations and legislative activities with state and local government.  She has also represented large industrial and commercial users of electric services in commercial proceedings and negotiations.

Meghan regularly represents parties in power plant and line siting proceedings, as well as policy dockets and rulemakings at the Arizona Corporation Commission.  She has also represented mining companies in land entitlement, permitting, and transactional matters.  Meghan also plays an outside counsel role for several clients, providing legal and strategic advice on various corporate issues.  Meghan teaches a course on Utility Law and Regulation at the Arizona State University College of Law.

Daniel Kessler

Kessler-DanielMr. Kessler has worked in numerous roles for the California State Legislature since 2011.  He currently serves as a Principal Deputy Legislative Counsel with the California Office of Legislative Counsel.  He supervises a branch of the office that handles laws relating to education, transportation, utilities, the environment, and food and agriculture.

Before his current role, Mr. Kessler was Chief Counsel for the California Assembly Legislative Ethics Committee for most of the California State Legislature’s 2017-18 legislative session where he conducted dozens of ethics trainings for legislators, legislative staff, and lobbyists on all matters related to governmental ethics, public corruption laws, and the Political Reform Act of 1974.  He also advised the members and legislative staff on their legal and ethical obligations as elected officials and public employees.

Mr. Kessler previously served as a Deputy Legislative Counsel with the Office of Legislative Counsel and worked in private practice for 4 years before joining the California State Legislature, mainly focusing on litigation involving local public agencies.

Jay Morrison

Morrison,_JayMr. Morrison leads the Regulatory Issues Unit of NRECA’s Government Relations Department, where he works with a staff of professional advocates representing NRE-CA and its members on matters relating to federal and state utility and environmental regulation, power supply and delivery.   Since joining NRECA in 1998, Mr. Morrison has worked extensively on issues relating to wholesale market design, power supply and delivery, industry restructuring, renewable energy, energy efficiency, distributed generation, and the smart grid.

In 1993, Mr. Morrison earned his MPP, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and his JD, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School where he served on the Harvard Law Review.  Mr. Morrison earned his BA summa cum laude from UCLA in 1989.  Mr. Morrison has also clerked for the Honorable A. Ray-mond Randolph on the D.C. Circuit, served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, and represented cooperatives and other clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commis-sion, Congress, and the courts with the firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker. 

Mr. Morrison is active with the Energy Bar Association where he presently serves as a “Dean” for the primer program, the Energy Law Journal for which he is an editor, and the American Bar Association Infrastructure and Regulated Industries (IRIS) Section for which he is a member of the Council and a vice-chair of the elec-tricity committee. 

Lopa Parikh

Parikh,_LopaLopa Parikh is Director of Federal Regulatory Affairs for Energy Supply for Edison Electric Institute (“EEI”).   In that role, she is responsible for identifying and assessing key policy issues of interest to EEI’s members and helps direct the development of EEI industry positions at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on issues involving energy supply and deliverability.  Prior to joining EEI, Ms. Parikh was Director of RTO and Regulatory Affairs at Old Dominion Electric Cooperative as well as Assistant People’s Counsel in the District of Columbia and Assistant Consumer’s Counsel in Ohio.  In these positions, Ms. Parikh worked on a variety of issues in the retail and wholesale electric markets and represented retail ratepayers before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other regulatory agencies.    Prior to joining the energy industry, Ms. Parikh worked as a county prosecutor in Ohio.   

Ms. Parikh received her Juris Doctor from the Ohio State University College of Law and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Akron. 

Michael Picker

Picker,_MichaelMichael Picker was named President of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on December 23, 2014, by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., who first appointed President Picker as a Commissioner on January 29, 2014. Prior to his appointment, President Picker was Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy in the Office of the Governor from 2009 to 2014. He was a principal at Lincoln Crow Strategic Communications from 2000 to 2009, Deputy Treasurer in the Office of the California State Treasurer from 1998 to 1999, Chief of Staff to Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna Jr. from 1992 to 1999, and Deputy Assistant for Toxic Substances Control in the Office of the Governor from 1981 to 1982. He was a member of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Board of Directors from 2012-2014. President Picker is a former lecturer at UCLA’s Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and instructor at Occidental College’s Urban and Environmental Policies Institute. He holds an MBA from UC Davis, specializing in marketing, social marketing, and nonprofit management.   Since the end of his tenure at the CPUC, Picker has served Governor Gavin Newsome's administration as a senior adviser on climate policy, working out of the California Department of Finance. 

Vidhya PrabhakaranPartner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Prabhakaran,_VidhyaAt the heart of Vidhya Prabhakaran’s practice is his understanding of the regulatory complexities posed by California's shifting energy framework as California attempts to transition to economically viable greener power sources. Vid regularly advocates on behalf of clients throughout the energy sector who envision an efficient and reliable energy marketplace and seek to successfully invest in the reduction of greenhouse gases. Vid has over a decade of experience directing client successes before California regulatory bodies, including the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, the California Air Resources Board, and the California Independent System Operator, as well as the California Legislature. This experience also has allowed him to effectively represent clients in the regulated transportation, telecommunications, and water sectors.

Together with the other members of the DWT energy practice group, Vid assists clients with formulating, presenting, and advocating policy positions on procurement, ratemaking, and safety. He also counsels clients through regulatory approvals; utility rate and certificate proceedings; acquisitions and dispositions of regulated assets; energy-related contracts; project finance; energy-related dispute resolution; and energy litigation. He has represented South San Joaquin Irrigation District, the City of Long Beach, Tesla Inc., Uber Technologies Inc., the California Community Choice Association, Marin Clean Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy, Powerex Corporation, Bear Valley Electric Service, and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.

Bill Rappolt

Rappolt,_BillBill Rappolt is a member of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance industry team.  Based in the Washington, D.C. office., Bill represents clients in the natural gas, electric and oil/liquids industries in commercial transactions and before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), state utility commissions and appellate courts.  He has advised and represented energy industry participants regarding tariff-related issues, natural gas pipeline certificates, market-based rate authorizations, compliance with energy market rules and regulations, standards of conduct, interconnection rules and negotiations, and purchases and sales of energy facilities and companies.  Bill has also aided electric and natural gas clients with ratemaking issues involving cost of service, return on equity and rate design.  He received his B.A. from the University of Maryland and his J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law.

Jane Rueger

Rueger_Jane_v2Jane has a wealth of experience advising clients in the electric and natural gas industries. Her expertise in both these critical industries has been honed by significant experience in transactional, litigation and regulatory matters.

Jane's knowledge of natural gas and electric industries and markets helps clients navigate complex transactions. She regularly represents clients in the negotiation of power purchase agreements (conventional and renewable generation), M&A transactions, project financings, interconnection agreements, gas pipeline precedent agreements, asset management agreements and LNG offtake agreements. She also counsels market participants on RTO/ISO market rules around the US and the development of creative strategies to successfully operate within those markets.

Jane is a published thought leader in understanding the shale gas revolution in the US. She advises clients on the development, permitting and regulation of interstate gas pipelines, as well as the federal rules and regulations of interstate pipelines and facilities for the export of LNG and gas from the US.

Jonathan Schneider

Schneider,_Jon_2019Jonathan is widely recognized for his strategic policy advocacy and extensive experience as an administrative litigator and appellate advocate. He brings over 30 years' experience to provide strategic counseling needed to achieve complex energy regulatory objectives, combining mastery of regulatory law and policy with extensive experience as an administrative litigator and appellate advocate. His intimate knowledge of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Department of Energy, the reliability regime administered by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the role played by relevant state authorities provides a wide angle approach to problem solving and conflict management.

Jonathan counsels clients across the spectrum of electric and natural gas regulation. He advises on a wide array of regulatory issues associated with electric and natural gas utility regulation, market oversight, asset purchase and sale and project development.

Michael Schnitzer

Schnitzer,_MichaelThe NorthBridge Group was founded in 1992 by Michael Schnitzer and other professionals with extensive experience in the electric and gas industries. Mr Schnitzer has worked with both utility and non-utility clients to develop initiatives in strategy, marketing, pricing, wholesale market design, investment recovery plans, and generation investment. He has wide ranging experience in electric restructuring, including engagements related to the introduction of competitive wholesale and retail electricity markets, the benefits and costs of RTO membership, and the development of individual utility retail restructuring proposals.

Mr. Schnitzer is a nationally recognized authority on the subject of electric industry restructuring and wholesale market design, and has been an expert witness in a number of proceedings involving these topics, including hearings and technical conferences at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and rulemaking proceedings at state regulatory and energy commissions.

Before state regulatory commissions he has testified on behalf of utility clients about a wide range of electric regulatory issues including ratemaking, financing, resource planning, and utility reorganization to enable retail competition. He has also testified on the subject of the costs and benefits associated with RTO membership, and whether RTO membership is in the public interest.

Jackson Stoddard

Stoddard,_JacksonF. Jackson Stoddard represents and advises clients on energy regulatory matters and proceedings before state and federal agencies, including the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Jack also represents clients in matters involving the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), including the Transmission Planning Process, Interconnection Process, and CAISO stakeholder processes.
        Additionally, Jack represents and advises clients on regulatory issues related to development of electric power and transmission projects, interconnection agreements, power purchase agreements, energy efficiency services agreements, and agreements related to purchase and sale of renewable energy credits and greenhouse gas allowances. He has represented companies of all sizes across the energy industry, including renewable and conventional generators, fuel cell manufacturers, cogenerators, electric storage developers, petroleum refineries, large industrial entities, oil and natural gas pipelines, and both investor-owned and municipal utilities. Learn More.

Adrienne Thompson

Thompson,_AdrienneAdrienne represents a variety of energy industry clients in matters ranging from state and federal regulatory compliance to power purchase agreements and other transactions. Her practice focuses particularly on administrative issues before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), especially as they concern the Federal Power Act and the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978. In this capacity, she counsels clients on regulatory compliance and business issues implicated in transmission- and interconnection-related agreements, which often includes drafting unique solutions for complex FERC and commercial concerns.
    In addition to regularly assisting clients in FERC matters, Adrienne advocates for clients in various rate case and tariff-related proceedings before, and disputes involving, the Bonneville Power Administration, CAISO and other ISOs/RTOs across the country, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, to help protect client commercial interests and transmission rights. Regardless of the venue or issue at hand, Adrienne’s goal is to efficiently translate complex energy issues into understandable and actionable advice.

Sharon Tomkins

Tomkins,_SharonSharon Tomkins is vice president of strategy and engagement, and Chief Environmental Officer for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a Sempra Energy regulated California utility. She is responsible for environmental services and developing and delivering the information that meets customers’ energy needs and supports state environmental and social policy objectives.

Tomkins leads the company’s energy policy and strategy, which includes issues management for balanced energy, energy choice, affordability and reliability. Previously, she was SoCalGas’ general counsel.

Tomkins joined SoCalGas in 2010 as regulatory assistant general counsel. Prior to this, she was a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where she was a founding member of the firm’s Energy, Natural Resources & Environmental Practice and represented clients in a variety of litigation, regulatory and appellate proceedings. Tomkins’s energy focus began during her representation of various clients, including Sempra Energy, during the California energy crisis.  She also developed and taught the law school class, Energy Law, Policy & Climate Change, at UCLA law school. After graduating from law school, Tomkins clerked in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs.

David Zlotlow

Zlotlow,_DavidDavid Zlotlow is Senior Counsel at the California ISO, providing legal and regulatory counsel on the development and implementation of ISO market rules and functions.  Areas of particular focus include the resource adequacy program, outage reporting, market monitoring policies, market conduct rules, and congestion revenue rights.  He primarily represents the ISO before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Before joining the ISO, David served as a Trial Attorney in the Transportation, Energy, and Agriculture Section of the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice.  In the Antitrust Division he focused on investigating proposed mergers and alleged anticompetitive conduct in the electricity and oilfield services industries.

Immediately following law school, David served as a law clerk to the Hon. Carolyn Dineen King of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. David earned a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif; a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.