"Who's the New Kid?"

Scott Miller

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Scott Miller. As you may know, I am the incoming Executive Director of the Western Power Trading Forum (WPTF) and, while I’ll be working with Gary for the next 6 months to ensure a smooth transition, I am aware of the “big shoes” into which I am stepping. Gary and the members of WPTF have done an incredible job surviving and ultimately thriving in some difficult circumstances. Back in 1998 when WPTF was created – a year later I convinced my company (PG&E National Energy Group) to join – we all thought the growth of electric markets was going to be a linear path up. Well, for reasons we all understand and about which I won’t go into now, the markets didn’t quite evolve that way.

But now, things are different. There is a “buzz” about market growth in the West that can be heard all the way back to the “other coast”. The combination of factors such as renewable penetration, the needs of customers and the varied demand/wants of policy makers has given rise to the expansion and new development of dynamic electric markets in the Western Interconnection.

Indeed, the West has the potential to become the electric “New World” to the “Old World” of the Eastern Interconnection. The possibility of an organized market in the Rockies, combined with the desire of entities in the Pacific Northwest and the Desert Southwest to band together to efficiently dispatch and compensate resources is a thrilling development. We can’t know what will happen: Will CAISO grow beyond EIM to become a true regional market? Will the combination of discriminatory resource procurement and poor governance lead to a movement of entities to associate with the Mountain West? Or, could there be a third regional market around the PEAK- PJM effort that will ultimately link the California market to the Rockies? As I said, we can’t know but the possibilities are positively mouth watering (no, I don’t have any recipes. See Laura Manz in the Burrito).

When I was interviewing with the WPTF Executive Committee for this job, I was asked ‘why would you leave a tenured senior federal job’ with the implication that I was entering a much riskier environment. I told them it is because I am most comfortable as an advocate. While I care deeply about good public policy, I believe to my core that the public interest is best served by competition and markets. Regulators and politicians mean well but as a “recovering regulator” I can assure anyone that decisions by these well-meaning adults cannot replicate the benefits of well-designed, competitive markets. We have a chance to prove this in the West.

In the coming months, as I learn the organizational ropes from Gary, I will be busy trying to meet with as many of you as I can. I also intend to get to know other “stakeholders” (regulators, journalists, office holders, customer groups, etc.) who will be making the future of Western Power markets as much as WPTF members. I look forward to meeting all of you.

Let me give you a very brief thumbnail of my experience:

  • Originally worked in National Security affairs at the US State Department and Arms Control & Disarmament Agency
  • Left to become Assistant to the President & CEO of US Generation Company which became PG&E NEG in 1994.
  • For two years (1998-2000) I was the Director of ISO/RTO market design at PG&E NEG, reporting to our trading VP.
  • Left to become Director of Energy Markets at FERC in 2000. Oversaw the first FERC investigation into the California/Western Energy crisis.
  • 2002-2006 Director of Market Development at PJM
  • 2006-2008 Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Constellation Energy
  • 2008-2017, Senior Market Advisor FERC, Office of Energy Policy & Innovation

A decidedly well-traveled past but one that has given me some perspective that, when added with WPTF members and those stakeholders with whom we will work, may help us build robust regional markets in the West.

While I will continue to live in Annapolis, MD, I will be in the West often. This “bi-coastal” approach should be useful as the evolution of the West involves more stakeholders who will live in places from Little Rock, Arkansas to Seattle, WA, down to Phoenix, AZ and everywhere in between. While California will continue to be important (indeed, the biggest market), the reach of WPTF will have to be truly West-wide, with the involvement of some folks in the East. In closing, let me give you a brief view from the WPTF office (East) in the link below: