Skip to content

Fourth Quarter Letter to Members

Brad Cox
Generator and/or Power Marketer Sector and Board Chair
Sara Patrick
MRO President and CEO

From the Board Chair and President and CEO

Dear Members and Stakeholders:

The MRO Board of Directors held its annual member and board meeting last week on December 1, 2022, in a hybrid format. In keeping with tradition, this annual meeting provided the board, staff, members and a variety of industry stakeholders the opportunity to gather together to reflect on the challenges and accomplishments of 2022, consider the work that remains, and discuss priorities that will lead us into the future.

Professor Meghan O’Sullivan from Harvard University’s Kennedy School provided the keynote address. O’Sullivan is the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and the Director of Harvard’s Geopolitics of Energy Project. She is also a partner at the strategic consulting firm Macro Advisory Partners and chair of the North American Group of the Trilateral Commission. Her remarks focused on the global energy transition to net zero and how it is shaping geopolitics and conversely how the geopolitical landscape is shaping the transition and the pace and scope of how it unfolds.

We were also privileged to have NERC president and CEO Jim Robb join the meeting to talk about what challenges NERC sees on the horizon for industry and how the ERO Enterprise is working to address risk. He reflected on the extraordinary time we are in with the pace of the energy transition and increasing extreme weather risks, which are having profound impacts on system planning and operation. Robb highlighted the following key risks identified in NERC’s State of Reliability Report: 1) Severe weather risks, 2) Electric gas interdependencies, 3) Continuing challenges with inverter based resource integration, and 4) Cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. He also introduced NERC’s 2023 Work Plan Priorities that include tackling energy challenges posed by the changing resource mix and extreme weather, mitigating security risks, creating more agility across the enterprise, and investing in the ERO’s sustainability. Although addressing these challenges is a tremendous amount of work, Robb indicated the ERO Enterprise is up to the challenge.

Staff provided a presentation that highlighted progress to improve and expand cold weather preparedness activities since the Winter Storm Uri event in February 2021. Both the ERO Enterprise and MRO have undertaken significant outreach to help industry become more aware of and to mitigate future cold weather risk. Information was also shared on both NERC’s and MRO’s winter assessments, which outline that portions of MRO’s region are at risk of insufficient energy supplies during the upcoming winter season. MRO’s Regional Winter Assessment is anticipated for release on December 5 and will be followed by a webinar on December 15 highlighting the assessment’s findings.

The day prior to the annual member and board meeting, the board’s Organizational Group Oversight Committee (OGOC) held its annual risk meeting with leadership from each of MRO’s advisory councils and key staff. The purpose of this meeting is to assess reliability and security risks identified through various continent-wide and regional risk reports and provide direction for 2023 activities in support of MRO’s strategic plan. Information from this meeting shapes the advisory councils’ 2023 work plans and helps to prioritize risk mitigation activities across the organization. This was the third such meeting held by the OGOC and the discussions were impactful, productive, and well-received by all who attended.

In addition to hearing board committee reports, the board approved several resolutions for outgoing board members and recognized the recipient of MRO’s annual HERO Award: Tony Eddleman from Nebraska Public Power District. Eddleman was selected from several qualified candidates that were nominated for this year’s award and the board expressed appreciation for the dedicated efforts and contributions in support of MRO’s vision and mission.

Other actions taken by the board include:

  • Resolution extending MRO’s revolving line of credit; and
  • Review and approval of board committee charter changes and policy revisions.

The board met immediately following the Annual Member and Board Meeting to elect its 2023 chair and vice chair, make 2023 board committee appointments, and approve 2024 meeting dates. Both Brad Cox and independent director Dr. Dana Born will continue to lead the board in 2023 as chair and vice chair, respectively. The following new incoming board members will be seated on the board in January:

  • John Rhea, Ameren, Generator and/or Power Marketer Sector
  • Keri Glitch, Midcontinent ISO, Transmission System Operator Sector
  • Maurice Moss, Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, Municipal Utility Sector

We thanked the following outgoing board members for their dedication and service:

  • Aaron Bloom, NextEra Energy Resources, Generator and/or Power Marketer Sector
  • Michael Desselle, Southwest Power Pool, Transmission System Operator Sector
  • Paul Crist, Lincoln Electric System, Municipal Utility Sector
  • Stuart Lowry, Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, Cooperative Sector

The approved 2024 board meeting dates will be added soon to MRO’s meeting calendar. You can read more about the discussions and actions taken at the fourth quarter board meetings in the full meeting minutes, which will be available on MRO’s website calendar soon.

However it is that you celebrate the holiday season, on behalf of everyone here at MRO, we wish you the very best.

Brad Cox, Board Chair                                                 Sara Patrick, President and CEO