Bill Fontenot is the CEO of Cleco.
The year was 1885. Thomas Edison was just thirty-eight years old but he was already one of the most famous persons on the planet. He had invented the phonograph eight years earlier. He had invented the electric light bulb six years earlier. He had completed the first central power station three years earlier. By 1885, the electric utility industry was skyrocketing, and it occurred to its first leaders that the exchange of ideas and the learning of best practices would benefit all. Hence, they formed the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies, or AEIC for short.
One hundred and thirty five years later, AEIC is still doing — quite vigorously — what it set out to do so long ago. Perhaps you didn't have the chance to attend its 2020 annual meeting, but don't despair, for PUF did. True, we did not spot Tom Edison at the proceedings, though we and many of the attendees did feel his inspiring presence.
Utility executives of course had a pandemic on their hands in 2020. But that wasn't all. It was a tough year for dealing with storms too, which tested grid resiliency and effective response. This panel discussed those issues quite frankly. The PUF team listened in and illuminates a few of those moments here.