Hydro project operator SMUD announces several changes to executive team


Several executive appointments have been made, along with changes in the organizational structure, at hydro project operator Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

General Manager Arlen Orchard named Frankie McDermott chief generation and grid assets officer, Nicole Howard chief customer officer, Paul Lau chief grid strategy and operations officer and Gary King chief workforce officer.

McDermott will oversee SMUD’s power generation and grid facilities, including hydroelectric, thermal and renewable energy assets and distribution and transmission grid assets. Howard will run SMUD’s customer retail electric business including customer operations and services. Lau will oversee the operations of SMUD’s power and gas markets and power transmission and distribution grid operations. King will be responsible for creating and implementing strategies that ensure SMUD attracts and hires the best of the next generation.

McDermott previously was chief customer officer, Howard was director of customer services, and Lau was assistant general manager of power supply and grid operations.

Orchard also created a chief information officer position to oversee all of SMUD’s information security and information technology aspects. A national executive search firm has been tasked with finding prospective candidates for the position, according to a press release.

The realignment is designed to better enable SMUD to meet new realities in the utility industry, SMUD says.

SMUD provides electric power to Sacramento County and small adjoining portions of two counties. The company owns and operates the Upper American River project, which features 11 reservoirs and eight powerhouses.

The company is also looking into construction of the 400-MW Iowa Hill pumped-storage plant, to use water from the existing Slab Creek Reservoir and a new Iowa Hill Reservoir.

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