As our bi-annual Names & Faces feature (Cloverland Connections July | August pages 6-7) shows, we’ve had lots of staffing transitions over the past six months. Along with many retirements, transfers, promotions and new hires, I am pleased to highlight the addition of Pat Frazier who joined our co-op as chief operating officer in May.
Pat will be an important pillar of our executive leadership as he applies his power supply expertise to ensure our cooperative remains strategically positioned for future industry challenges. As part of his duties, Frazier will oversee engineering, operations, generation and key accounts at the cooperative.
My history with Pat dates back to 2001 when we both were both in executive management for an organization that was responsible supporting all aspects, including power supply, of municipal electric companies in multiple states. With nearly three decades of experience working for both for profit and not-for profit electric companies plus a range of electric industry skills including engineering and executive management in wholesale and retail power, Pat brings a valuable skillset to our leadership team and will equip us for a strong financial future.
Power supply has been a primary financial focus of the cooperative for the past three years, and Pat has worked with Cloverland as a power supply consultant following the departure of our previous chief financial officer and director of power marketing and regulatory affairs (September 2020).
The new COO role fills a unique need at the cooperative, particularly following the retirement of chief financial officer, Lisa Castilho in May. I am so thankful for Lisa’s great contributions to the cooperative in her brief tenure and wish her a wonderful and well deserved retirement after a 42 year finance career.
Rather than recruit for a CFO position, we have distributed Lisa’s responsibilities among our current staff. Jillian King joins our executive team as director of finance. Her dedicated 13 years of cooperative service, combined with accounting and management experience, will ensure continued strength for the cooperative’s finances. To support additional duties from Lisa’s retirement, Kyle Stabile has been promoted to senior accountant and will manage accounts payable and several other accounting functions. Lisa also managed the member services and billing department, so this responsibility shifted to Allie Brawley as director of communications and member relations. Allie’s business development responsibilities shifted to Pat. Jake Brown was promoted to business development and key accounts manager and will work directly with Pat to enhance the cooperative’s position with broadband, electric vehicles and infrastructure projects.
Together, our entire Cloverland team will work to tackle challenges ahead while ensuring safe and reliable service to our members. Our finance and accounting team and I will work with our board of directors to analyze the recent results from our cost of service study that assesses our rates. While our rates have remained fixed since 2017, costs have increased considerably in the last few years. As a result, we plan to adjust rates this fall. At this point, we’re working out the details, but we will keep the increase as low as we reasonably can without sacrificing safety, reliability or service. As we examine the situation from several perspectives, we will base decisions on the healthy growth of our communities and the best interests of our members.
Reassuring our Members about Service Reliability Amid Capacity Concerns
By Pat Frazier
I am excited to be part of Cloverland’s team and look forward to opportunities to strengthen the cooperative’s position in the evolving electric industry. Let me address one of the most pressing issues affecting utilities across the Midwest that has raised concerns about capacity shortages.
A recent report published by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the organization responsible for overseeing the electric grid across 15 states and one Canadian province, detailed the summer outlook for its region. The MISO report warns of potential generation capacity issues in the Midwest that could lead to rolling brownouts or blackouts. As a result, many electric utilities across the Midwest are emphasizing the dire nature of the MISO report to prepare customers for the potential of rolling brownouts or blackouts on peak energy use days. However, Cloverland Electric Cooperative wants to reassure its 34,000 members that its Eastern Upper Peninsula service territory is highly unlikely to be affected.
Cloverland exists within the MISO Local Resource Zone 2, which includes the entire Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the eastern half of Wisconsin. Within that zone, MISO identified ample generation to meet and exceed energy needs of customers, including Cloverland members.
We do not expect rolling blackouts or brownouts related to generation issues this summer even during peak temperature days that cause energy use to surge. Members should take comfort in knowing we are in MISO’s Zone 2 region with ample generation available to meet forecasted summer electricity demands.
Our staff stays in consistent contact with MISO daily operations personnel. MISO is prepared for events that might stress the service area and calling for unusual actions to ensure the stability of electricity delivered its customers. In turn, we are preparing for similar stress events by closely monitoring our generation available to run at peak capabilities and ensuring our distribution system is ready. In addition, we are ready to respond in a timely manner should an event cause an unlikely loss of power due to lack of generation.
Pat Frazier’s Background
Pat Frazier has decades of experience working for profit and not-for-profit energy companies. His experience spans from engineering to executive management in electrical power, both wholesale and retail, encompassing generation, supply planning, trading, delivery and operations, transmission operations, regulatory affairs and ISO/RTO control center design and operations. Before Metis Energy, Frazier was vice president of Product Development, World Kinect Energy Services; president and CEO of Beach Front Energy; vice president of Electricity Services for Fellon-McCord & Associates; managing partner and co-founder of DaCott Power and Transmission Solutions; vice president of Power Generation and Energy Operations at American Municipal Power and manager of Utility Power Sales at LG&E Energy. Frazier received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering.