Welcome Thomas Robben: New Expert in the Utility Management Community - [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Expert Interview]
- Feb 10, 2020 7:09 pm GMT
The Energy Central Community isn’t just a loose gathering of energy people, but rather represents a collection of professionals across all aspects of the utility industry and includes a host of high profile sector experts who have decades of experience and a well of knowledge in which to tap. The network of experts within the Energy Central is among the most valuable resources to members of the community, and as the utility business evolves so do the experts who are included in the network.
As we bring you new experts who can provide invaluable insights and perspective on the utility industry, we also strive to make sure you’re aware of just how useful and available these experts are and make sure to keep new experts coming in to keep the community freshly engaged. As such, I wanted to use this as an opportunity to welcome Thomas Robben, Supervisor of Regulatory Affairs with Evergy, Inc., as the latest expert in the Utility Management Community. To help you become acquainted with his work and experience, Thomas agreed to participate in the Power Perspectives™ ‘Welcome New Expert Interview Series.’
Matt Chester: One of the reasons we do these interviews is so our community can understand who you are and the great value you’ll bring as a new expert. So, to start that off, would you mind giving a bit about your background in the utility sector and what your areas of expertise are? What are you working on these days?
Thomas Robben: I have experience in the electric arena as well as the water and sewer industry. Most of my work has been with revenue requirement modeling and financial planning. I am currently working on several projects which include researching the formation of a shared services company since we just completed a merger. I am also researching securitization of stranded assets and automation of our revenue requirement modeling, where we currently use Excel.
MC: When it comes to the regulatory affairs topics that you focus on in your current role, what would you say is the most challenging part of your job?
TR: A big challenge today comes from the constant push to be more efficient while trying to retain a high level of morale. Higher productivity is a must for survival today but retaining good people is equally important.
MC: Your career hasn’t always been in the utility sector specifically. Once you got involved with energy, what was one thing that surprised you most about the field?
TR: The overall intense focus of teammates to deliver such a valuable service. The obvious times were during storm outages and the logistics personnel strongly supporting the front-line personnel in the field. Other times would include brainstorming sessions when challenges arose and the strong will of teammates to solve the problem.
MC: As you look forward to the future, what are the aspects of the future of utilities that you think are most exciting? And which might leave you feeling the most worried?
TR: Creating more clean energy is very exciting. As we create more clean energy and retire generation before its useful life, it is worrisome that utilities might not be able to recover a majority of that remaining investment.
MC: You’re newly a registered expert on Energy Central, but you’ve been a community member for a few years. What do you like most about the Energy Central community and platform? What value does the site bring you and, on the other hand, what value do you hope you’re able to bring to the community?
TR: I have always loved how the energy community has gone out of its way to share ideas and pass along knowledge. I find value in reading about other utilities approach to solving problems. Reading about success stories is uplifting and reaffirms that this is a great sector to work in.
I hope to bring a detailed perspective of revenue recovery strategies and how we approach regulators' concerns.
MC: Is there anything else you’d like the Energy Central community to know about you?
TR: If you couldn’t tell I love working in the utility industry. I maintain a very positive attitude and try to use the full potential of networking to get more folks knowing more folks and making it easier to work together.
Allow me to thank Thomas Robben for sharing his insights in this interview and bringing a new set of experiences as a Utility Management Community expert. Now that you know he’s here, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask Thomas questions in the comments sections or just say hi
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