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Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast Episode #18: ‘Utility Leadership During Unprecedented Crisis’ with Patti Poppe, CEO of Consumers Energy

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As utilities looked to 2020, the changing landscape of power generation, energy policy, and consumer needs already promised to make the year one of unprecedented change. But as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have spread and put utility companies and their workers squarely on the frontline, it’s safe to say that the pace of adaptation and innovation has gone beyond anything imagined by those sitting in the C-suite. But unexpected developments are not an excuse to fall behind for utilities that serve such a foundational role in modern society, and so leaders have found themselves called upon by employees, customers, and government representatives alike to step up and navigate these unchartered waters. Patti Poppe, the CEO of Consumers Energy, found herself in that role of leading her company through the unknown, and on today’s episode of the Power Perspectives Podcast she shares some of her lessons learned.

Through shifting her workforce to be as remote as possible to adapting new programs that could ensure quarantined customers still found ways to integrate energy efficiency to many late nights and early mornings planning out next steps and communicating the latest developments to her employees, all while keeping an optimistic attitude and positive outlook, Patti has demonstrated the type of leadership that should be recognized and replicated, both among peers in other utility companies and in industry more widely. You won’t want to miss this captivating conversation where Patti leads Jason Price and Matt Chester through a mile in her shoes in what it takes to navigate unprecedented crisis from the CEO’s (virtual) office.


Key Links:

Patti Poppe’s Energy Central Profile:

Consumers Energy’s Support for Small Business During COVID:

Big Picture Clean Energy Plan for Michigan:

Consumers Energy Providing 100,000 Google Nest Thermostats to Michigan Households During Pandemic:



As a reminder, the Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast is always looking for the authors of the most insightful articles and the members with most impactful voices within the Energy Central community to invite them to discuss further so we can dive even deeper into these compelling topics. Posting twice per month (on the second and fourth Tuesdays), we'll seek to connect with professionals in the utility industry who are engaging in creative or innovative work that will be of interest to their colleagues and peers across the Energy Central community. Some podcasts may be a continuation of thought-provoking posts or discussions started in the community or with an industry leader that is interested in sharing their expertise and doing a deeper dive into hot topics or issues relevant to the industry.

The Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast is hosted by Jason PriceCommunity Ambassador of Energy Central. Jason is a Business Development Executive at West Monroe, working in the East Coast Energy and Utilities Group. Jason is joined in the podcast booth by the producer of the podcast, Matt Chester, who is also the Community Manager of Energy Central and energy analyst/independent consultant in energy policy, markets, and technology.  

If you want to be a guest on a future episode of the Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast, let us know! We’ll be pulling guests from our community members who submit engaging content that gets our community talking, and perhaps that next guest will be you! Likewise, if you see an article submitted by a fellow Energy Central community member that you’d like to see broken down in more detail in a conversation, feel free to send us a note to nominate them.  For more information, contact us at Podcast interviews are free for Expert Members and professionals who work for a utility.  We have package offers available for solution providers and vendors. 

Happy listening, and stay tuned for episode #19 in a few weeks! Like what you hear, have a suggestion for future episodes, or a question for our guest? Leave a note in the comments below.

All new episodes of the Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast will be posted to the relevant Energy Central community group, but you can also subscribe to the podcast at all the major podcast outlets, including:


Rami Reshef's picture
Rami Reshef on Aug 17, 2020 3:27 pm GMT

Thanks Patti Poppe for your truly inspiring message! The combination of dedication to your team, to your customers and to your "purpose-driven culture" that has enabled you to navigate with such creativity and finesse the enormous difficulties that @ConsumersEnergy faced and still faces during the pandemic is extremely encouraging. I was glad to hear that utility leaders meet and share best practices, further expanding the impact of your strategies. I was especially encouraged to learn of your commitment to net-zero carbon and net-zero methane and that your Clean Energy Plan has come through Covid intact. Congratulations to a true leader that enabled her team to "Come Together by Staying Apart" and who steadfastly drives for an indivisible goal of People, Planet and Profits. Utility leadership of this calibre will go a long way towards achieving the green energy future that we need to sustain our children.  

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