The City of Austin is seeking a progressive, visionary and highly experienced utility professional to serve in the executive level role of Vice President of Energy Market Operations and Resource Planning for Austin Energy, the 8th largest public power utility in the country.
The chosen candidate reports to the Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for Austin Energy’s Wholesale Market Operations and Resource Planning Division. The position is responsible for oversight of the managers and staff engaged in daily management of market operations, fuel supply management, financial risk management, real time dispatch and trading, and systems development and operation to support market operations.
In addition the Resource Planning function will report to this position and will be engaged in developing strategies and action plans to achieve Austin Energy’s current resource plan and affordability goals through power purchases, resource acquisition, and requirements for new generating facilities. They will be expected to lead AE’s strategic resource planning beyond AE’s current 2020 planning horizon. The successful candidate will be expected to be current and engaged in all relevant regulatory and market policy.
Challenges include integration of conventional, renewable and demand-side resources as needed to economically move toward a coal free model. This talented individual will help set the direction to continue Austin Energy’s reputation as one of the leading green utilities in the country, as well as meeting the challenges facing the energy sector, including climate change and energy independence and long-term affordability.
[collapse collapsed title=About Austin]
This vibrant and dynamic city tops numerous lists for business, entertainment, and quality of life. One of the country’s most popular, high-profile “green” and culturally dynamic cities was selected as the “Best City for the Next Decade (Kiplinger), the “Top Creative Center” in the US (Entrepreneur.com) and #1 on the “On Numbers Economic Index” as the fastest growing economy.
Austin continues to lead the country with its vision of being the “Most livable City in the country,” emerging as a player on the international scene with such events as SXSW, Austin City Limits, Formula I and being home to companies such as Apple, Samsung, Dell, and Seton Healthcare.
From the home of state government and the University of Texas, to the “Live Music Capital of the World” and its growth as a film center, Austin has gained worldwide attention as a hub for education, business, health, and sustainability.
Since 1900, Austin’s population has doubled every 20 years.
[collapse collapsed title=Austin City Government]
The City of Austin is a progressive, dynamic, full-service municipal organization operating under the City-Manager form of government. The Austin City Council has six council members (one serves as Mayor Pro Tem) and a mayor. The entire City Council is elected at large by the voters of the city. Each member serves a staggered three-year term. The City is in the process of transitioning to a 10-1 structure. The Council will be elected from 10 single member districts, with the mayor at large. The Mayor and Council Members may serve in their respective seats for a maximum of six years or two consecutive terms.
The City Council appoints the City Manager who is the chief administrative and executive officer of the city. The City Manager has responsibilities for guiding and directing day-to-day operations as well as providing strategic research, recommendations, and management leadership to the City Council on budget, programs, policies, and services. The City Manager implements the organization’s administrative responsibilities with a strong team of Assistant City Managers and the Austin Energy General Manager. The City Council and City Manager of Austin are committed to their mission of delivering the highest quality services in the most cost-effective manner. The organization’s vision is to make Austin the most livable city in the country and the City Manager’s resolve is to make it the best-managed city in the country.
[collapse collapsed title=Austin Energy]
Austin Energy's Mission: To deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy and excellent customer service.
Austin Energy's Values: Care and Concern for the Environment, Safety, Innovation, Integrity, Diversity, Teamwork, Honest, Open Communication
Austin Energy serves a 437 square mile area that includes the City of Austin, portions of Travis and Williamson Counties and several adjoining municipalities. The utility employs about 1,700 people and serves more than 420,000 electric customers; 14% of the customers reside outside the city limits. Austin Energy is the eighth largest public power utility in the United States with over $3.5 billion in assets and over $1 billion in annual revenue. The utility transfers 12% of its revenues to the City’s General Fund.
The City Council approved a system-wide 7% rate increase for the utility that took effect October 2012 – the first base rate increase since 1994. Following the implementation of the rate increase, the City Council expects Austin Energy to maintain rates that are among the lowest 50% of Texas utilities.
Austin Energy has exceptional system reliability, a diverse generation portfolio and has been the top utility in the United States for voluntary green power sales for nine years in a row and the top public power utility in sales since 2001. Austin Energy also was ranked among the top six utilities in the nation for its smart grid development.
The organization’s strong economic and demographic characteristics, competitive retail rates, diverse power supply mix, high liquidity and history of solid operation earned the utility consistent ratings in recent years: ‘AA- Stable” with Fitch, Inc.; “A1 Positive” with Moody’s; and “AA Stable” with Standard & Poor’s. The utility’s debt-to-equity ratio is 50:50 with $140 million in strategic reserves. Under the rate proposal just approved, the debt-to-equity ratio will be temporarily adjusted to 60:40 with the goal of reducing the ratio back to 50:50 over a five-year period.
The City of Austin and its City Council are responsible to regulate, monitor, and approve annual budgets, retail rate changes, reliability and customer concerns, as well as generation resource construction, planning, and operations. The Texas Public Utility Commission approves transmission rates and interfaces on reliability and wholesale market issues, along with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state electric grid manager.
Austin Energy’s management team helped the City to develop a 2020 Resource & Climate Protection Plan presented to the City Council in 2010. The plan lays out aggressive goals that include a renewable portfolio of 35% (consisting of wind, solar, and biomass), offsetting 800 MW of peak demand through energy efficiency and a reduction of 2005 CO2 targets by 20%. Austin Energy is a member of the Large Public Power Council and the American Public Power Association.
[collapse collapsed title=The Position of Vice President, Energy Market Operations & Resource Planning]
The Vice President, Energy Market Operations & Resource Planning, supervises two direct reports, the Director of Energy and Market Operations and the Director of Resource Planning, with a total of 37 employees. The Energy Market Operations & Resource Planning group’s O&M budget including fuel is $500.8 million, $5.1 million without fuel.
With a strategy to retain its leadership position as a premier “green” utility in the country, Austin Energy is currently challenged to balance a wide spectrum of community input as well as converging issues on the increasing cost of doing business, economic conditions, prudent investment in its existing resources, maintaining competitive rates, regulatory and legislative change; and progressive environmental responsibility. While many communities in the United States have significant divides over the latter topic, the City of Austin is well aligned in its desire to retain environmental responsibility as one of the key parameters in its decision-making process. Along with Austin Energy’s other executives, the next Vice President, Energy Market Operations & Resource Planning, must recognize and balance the importance and delicate nature of representing the community’s broad interests while making prudent business decisions that reward both economic and environmental interests.
Austin Energy seeks a strong leader and manager capable of providing collaborative strategic leadership to both internal and external parties in the areas of renewable power supplies, the demand response role in the ERCOT Market and the financial impacts of resource decisions in the ERCOT nodal market. Ideal candidates will offer proven experience as a strategic leader in a utility organization, quantifiable results in the development and execution of energy market operations strategies and experience and capability in leading planning efforts.
It is essential that the Vice President, Energy Market Operations & Resource Planning understand the impact of change, bring real world hands-on experience, be a collaborative communicator with strong negotiation skills to forge relationships and be known for innovation. Candidates must understand budgeting, financial planning, and other financial analysis techniques. The ideal candidate will provide strong leadership and direction for senior management and employees with a desire to maintain and enhance a highly responsive, productive, high morale workforce.
The Vice President, Energy Market Operations & Resource Planning should offer experience or demonstrate capability for engaging with regulatory and legislative parties at the local, state, regional, and federal levels. The Vice President will represent AE at City Council and Commission meetings and with advisory task force and environmental groups with regard to resource planning strategies. He or she should be comfortable in any setting and be experienced in providing presentations in public.
The higher-than-average interface with the Austin community will require that the Vice President, Energy Market Operations & Resource Planning to have exemplary communication skills, both written and verbal, and be an experienced, diplomatic negotiator. This interface requires that the successful candidate understand and be sensitive and respectful to a broad variety of political, social, and environmental opinions. Politically savvy candidates with experience in a public utility environment are highly desired. While public utility experience is not required, candidates from other backgrounds, such as the private utility environment, must recognize and support the public process and the transparent and interactive manner in which leaders at Austin Energy engage their community.
Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with major coursework in Engineering, Business or in a field related to the job, plus seven (7) years of related electric utility experience, five (5) of which were in a managerial capacity. A master’s degree may substitute for two (2) years of the required experience up to a maximum of two (2) years.
Compensation and Benefits
Salary: $183,000+/- with excellent benefits and a retirement package. Relocation assistance provided.
[collapse collapsed title=How to Apply]
Interested candidates may apply online at www.austincityjobs.org. Please complete the on-line application and attach a resume and cover letter.
Inquiries relating to this recruitment may be directed to: