Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

So who's this Ron Nichols guy who might run the DWP? [UPDATED]

His bio is terse - but that doesn't necessarily mean he is. Comes news from the LAT that Ron Nichols, soon-to-be-formerly of Navigant Consulting, could lead the DWP: 

Ron Nichols is a Managing Director in the Energy practice has over 30 years of experience in utility asset and enterprise financing, utility mergers and acquisition, and power supply portfolio planning and procurement. Mr. Nichols was the lead business and regulatory advisor on the two largest revenue bond issues ever completed and has advised public power, investor-owned utilities, governmental agencies and non-regulated energy suppliers on over $30 billion of value of transactions.

Emily Green over at Chance of Rain sees some hope here that this means DWP will address renewable energy challenges:

The choice of an energy consultant to succeed Beutner shows that the mayor is again trending in favor of a candidate who can deal with the complicated transition of LA’s power from coal-fired to renewable sources. That LA also has a water conservation program crippled by budget cuts and lawn lovers at City Council, fractious relations with Inyo County(source of roughly one third of the city’s water), and aging pipes whose bursts took out the GM before Freeman, one can only hope that Nichols is a fast learner.

Actually, Nichols has some sorta water experience - he consulted around 2001 with the Deparment of Water Resources to provide energy forecasts for the DWR.

More recently, he worked for the Louisiana Recovery Authority, every New Orleanian's favorite outfit, to help recovery efforts for Entergy Corporation - the utility there. Entergy sustained something like 600 million dollars in damage during the storms, and insurance and other government aid only covered 2/3 of that. Entergy was on its knees - like the rest of Louisiana - needing money and support to function, but lacking the customer base it needed to make that happen (at one point they had half the customers they once did). Entergy wanted to raise rates to do that, and did.

As Nichols told the Times-Pic at the time, "Utility companies do not plan for that kind of damage," said Ron Nichols of Navigant Consulting, a firm working for the LRA.

UPDATES COMING - CHECK BACK FOR MORE.


UPDATED, 3:32: Here's a podcast from Navigant Consulting where Ron Nichols discusses the PV solar industry's outlook.

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