On Tuesday at a breakfast meeting during DistribuTECH, Julia Hamm, CEO and President of the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), and Sharon Allan, CEO and President of Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), announced their intent to merge the two organizations under the SEPA brand and organizational umbrella.
The mission of the combined organization will be to facilitate the electric power sector’s smart transition to a clean energy future through education, research, standards and collaboration.
The transition to a clean energy future is forcing changes to all aspects of utilities’ organizations and both SEPA and SGIP are poised to help them manage those changes. SEPA’s particular area of expertise includes changes to business and regulatory models plus improved customer engagement. SGIP’s areas of focus include planning and grid operations plus technological advancement.
One way to foster transformation and change in an organization is to break down silos and bring disparate groups together to figure out solutions.
Allan explained that when SGIP conducts meetings with utilities she is often introducing people to each other who work in the same organization. In addition, Hamm said that when SGIP and SEPA reviewed each other’s members they saw that while they had the same utilities and companies as members, they worked with very different people within those organizations.
The merger will continue to help break down silos within the utility industry.
“Within SEPA’s mission of facilitating the electric power sector’s smart transition to clean energy future, integrating SGIP’s technical knowledge is another way to serve our members,” Hamm said in a press release. “As a result of the merger, we are excited to add as many as 100 new member organizations to our existing base of 1,000 members, including utilities, private sector corporations and government agencies.”
Hamm added that “the combination of SEPA’s and SGIP’s resources and expertise will accelerate grid modernization efforts and have an even greater impact on the industry.”
SEPA and SGIP share the same vision about the future of the energy sector. SEPA’s focus on market research, conferences and events, and advisory services — combined with SGIP’s technical depth — will enable greater-cross fertilization of ideas and initiatives in the industry dealing with business and technical issues, and market and regulatory concerns.
Allan stressed that her organization’s focus areas of DER management, the energy Internet of Things, cybersecurity, standards and solar data exchange “will continue to be a priority under the SEPA umbrella.” She added that the merger “will provide [SGIP] members with a much broader network of experts to collaborate and consult with on their grid modernization and DER questions and efforts.”
The merger has been approved by the boards of both organizations and now goes to the full SGIP membership for a vote. If approved by SGIP’s members, the merger could be legally finalized in the late first or early second quarter of 2017. However, to ensure the continued, orderly operations of the two organizations, the integration will be phased in during the remainder of the year. All of SGIP’s staff will transition to positions at SEPA and will continue to focus their work on programs originated at SGIP.