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SPP Board Gets New Leaders and Members

3 min read

Southwest Power Pool, the not-for-profit regional power grid operator based in Little Rock, has new leadership and two new members on its independent board of directors.

The transmission organization’s new board chair is Susan Certoma, who had been vice chair; Elizabeth Moore will take Certoma’s place as vice chair. Certoma, a financial industry veteran, will replace Larry Altenbaumer, the current chair, who will remain on the board. Moore has more than 30 years of legal and regulatory experience.

Steve Wright and Ray Hepper will fill two open board seats, with Wright’s term effective immediately and Hepper’s term beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

“It’s an honor to welcome Ray and Steve to our board on behalf of SPP’s staff and stakeholders,” SPP President and CEO Barbara Sugg said in a statement. “They bring with them an impressive degree of utility experience and expertise. Their perspectives will play a critical part in SPP’s success at a time when we face significant opportunities and challenges related to things like expansion to the west, ensuring resource adequacy across our footprint and equipping ourselves to coordinate the grid of the future.”

Hepper is an electric utility veteran and was vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for ISO New England until his retirement in 2018. He said he was honored to join the board, and looking forward “to working with management and stakeholders as the organization takes advantage of the opportunities created by the continuing transition of the industry,” according to an SPP news release. “The evolution to a larger footprint and closer integration with its neighbors will bring significant benefits to the region and give me the chance to work on very exciting issues.”

Hepper started his career as a tax litigator at the United States Department of Justice, and served on the ERCOT board of directors. His law degree is from the University of Pennsylvania, and he has an economics degree from Lehigh University. He has been blind since birth.

And is expected — beyond his technical expertise, to be “valuable with regard to SPP’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts,” the news release said.

Wright has years of experience in the Western Interconnection, an increasing focus in SPP’s growth, and served as general manager at Chelan Public Utility in Washington State until his retirement in 2021.

“It’s exciting to join a dynamic organization that has a strong reputation for innovation and customer service,” Wright said in the release. “SPP is at the center of our nation’s ambitious efforts to attain a reliable, affordable and clean electric power system. I look forward to continuing the SPP tradition of actively engaging members and stakeholders. I also hope to strengthen the bridge to potential SPP members in the west.”

Wright previously was administrator and CEO of the Bonneville Power Administration, and is currently co-chair of the American Public Power Association’s Climate Change Task Force. He has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oregon.

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