Energy Central Power Perspectives™: Welcome Tom Malone of PPL Electric Utilities, New Expert in The Utility Management Community
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- Dec 23, 2019 7:00 pm GMT
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The utility sector is exceeding complex and it continues to get even more complicated and nuanced with time as digital technologies get integrated, new focus is put on ways to transition to clean energy, energy markets integrate new types of players amid changing regulatory guidance, and more. In this quickly evolving sector, listening to the voices that have been around the block and learned lessons from being on the ground is a valuable exercise.
With that in mind, Energy Central continues to add new professionals to our official network of experts, with the latest being Tom Malone as an expert in the Utility Management community. Tom is an experienced professional with stints all across the sector and in various parts along the journey of the electron. Given this experience, I was especially excited to sit down with Tom for his entry into the Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Exclusive: ‘Welcome New Expert Interview Series’:
Matt Chester: Tom, we’re thrilled to have you as the newest expert in our Utility Management community. Can you introduce yourself to the Energy Central community? What role do you play in the world of utilities, where has your career taken you, and what are you working on these days?
Tom Malone: Sure, I’m a Drexel graduate born and raised in the Philadelphia area. I did my undergraduate and graduate work at Drexel in Power Systems. It was a great foundation and a great support structure for my early career. I’ve worked in Generation, Delivery, Metering, Asset Planning, Business Applications, and Customer Services over my career. Currently, I am engaged in our Work Optimization and Portfolio Management organization focused on bottom-up budgeting and our digital transformation journey.
MC: Your bio impressively stretches across many different facets of the utility industry, as you’ve just mentioned. Is there a specific area of the utility business that has been the most appealing or rewarding to you? Which have you found to be the most challenging?
TM: I’ve enjoyed all my roles and the challenges they presented. The most rewarding aspects have always been centered around process improvements, change management, and interacting directly with our employees. They have kept me grounded and have been key in accomplishing so much over the course of my career. The most rewarding roles have been centered on new technology. I’ve had the privilege to serve as our Business Architect for two separate Work and Asset Management platform implementations. Seeing the entire process from the scope of work identified, platform delivery, and the care and feeding involved is both exciting and rewarding.
MC: Your years of experience come in investor-owned utilities specifically. What perspective do you think working in IOUs gives you that might differ from other types of utilities?
TM: Working in a regulated environment has allowed me to appreciate the balance of being a good steward for our customers while also keeping a focus on shareholder performance. The increased reliance around safe, affordable, reliable electric delivery has driven home the need for innovation and deployment of new technology faster than it has been introduced previously.
MC: What do you think is the most important area for decision-makers across utilities and the various stakeholders to focus on these days and moving forward? Is there a top priority that you think isn’t getting enough attention?
TM: I really like a quote attributed to economist Fuller R. Buckminster: “You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” I think investor owned utilities are at that point of building the new model. It’s been a great journey and those that will succeed will be part of the new model. I believe that the new digital technologies and distributed energy resources will be in that model.
MC: What brought you to the Energy Central community, both as a reader and now as an expert? What value do you think the platform affords the industry?
TM: I enjoy learning and there has always been such a great exchange of information between other utilities. So, taking those exchanges online to a central forum makes a lot of sense. The platform allows users to stay up to date with what is going on around every aspect of the utility space.
MC: Is there anything else you’d like the community to know that didn’t get mentioned in the above questions?
TM: I love the water and enjoy cruising on the Chesapeake during the summer. I enjoy music of all genres and am a DJ/Producer. I know, who isn’t a DJ these days? But I’ve been involved with it for over 30 years. From working with bands, nightclubs, and mobile, I’ve been able to be part of many memorable events.
Please join me in thanking Tom for allowing the Utility Management Community to get to know him better through this interview and for being an expert on Energy Central. Now that you know him a little better, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask Tom questions in the comments sections or just say hi