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Home | Tag Archives: el paso electric

Tag Archives: el paso electric

Op-Ed: Question still unresolved: Who will control EPE if the sale goes through?

On Feb. 4, the El Paso City Council voted 4-2, with one abstention, to grant the use of city rights of way – a franchise – to Sun Jupiter, one of a dizzying array of companies connected to the proposed purchase of El Paso Electric (EPE).

That vote marks the City’s final action in the proposed deal. However, it still must pass muster at the federal level with both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Those bodies are studying the vital question of who would control El Paso Electric if the deal goes through. As stated above, Sun Jupiter is one of a series of companies involved in the purchase, which would actually be by an entity called IIF US Holdings 2 GP LLC (IIF).

However, there is evidence that these purchasers are controlled by JP Morgan, which would mean that EPE, one of the community’s most significant institutions, would be owned by a Wall Street bank.

Why does that matter? IIF initially denied affiliation with JP Morgan, but in December finally agreed to be treated in Texas as though it was an affiliate, which does provide regulatory oversight at the state level. Although the belated concession is helpful, by stipulating that it was not admitting a legal affiliate relationship, it avoids federal oversight of that relationship, leaving a loophole in the regulatory framework of protections for our constituents.

EPE is a publicly traded company. The purchasers are private. The transfer of EPE from public to private, coupled with the possible affiliate relationship between IIF and JP Morgan, would potentially allow market transactions that are not in EPE ratepayers’ interest but are outside the reach of Texas regulators, while shielding those transactions from federal reporting requirements.

IIF is managed by the Infrastructure Investments Group (IIG), which is a division of JP Morgan. JP Morgan is paid through a calculation of profits described in FERC filings as an incentive fee that is “15% of an investor’s return over an annual net 7% return but subject to a cap of 13.5% and is measured over a three year period and payable over a subsequent three year period.” This is incomprehensible, and not meaningful. Understanding how much in actual dollars JP Morgan makes from its management of IIF is crucial to understanding this proposed deal.

Further, IIF “owners” may not be owners in the common sense of the term. They serve set terms, which are term-limited. They rotate through a system of nominations by two current IIF owners and a General Partner of IIF International. The latter’s involvement was only revealed in a Jan. 6th response by the purchasers, and the person’s identity is unknown. And while they put down $10,000 to become owners, they don’t actually put any money, as the $10,000 from a previous owner is assigned to them.

In recent filings with the Federal Energy Review Commission (FERC), the purchasers reveal new information: There is a new owner among the owners of IIF, and there is a previously unmentioned “General Partner” who selects new owners.

All of these facts raise obvious questions: Who is the new owner? Who is the General Partner? Why did it take the intervention of Public Citizen to generate the new information about a General Partner? Why would owners of a management fund pay nothing to become owners, and what is the criteria for choosing them? How much does JP Morgan make from consulting services provided through IIG to IIF, and what other possible sources of income does JP Morgan derive from this relationship, and does it profit from those as well?

Some of the major elements of this deal have been well publicized, including IIF’s commitments to keep EPE headquarters in El Paso for 10 years, and maintain current employee obligations for five years. Although these commitments seem favorable on the surface, for a company that has been in our community for over a century, the commitments are minimal at best.

In contrast, executives would receive a reported $80 million in bonuses. This dwarfs the $21 million committed to ratepayers, an amount that is likely to be offset by rate increases in the next year or two.

In addition, the City of El Paso would receive $80 million over 15 years for economic development. These funds would help alleviate the City government’s need for revenue, which has driven significant tax increases and debt obligations in recent years, but it does not guarantee any specific benefits to ratepayers or the public in general.

Utilities are core elements of a municipality; without water and power, there is no modern city. In fact, the origin of EPE is part and parcel of El Paso’s emergence as a modern, highly urbanized, progressive municipality.

El Paso, unlike other many other regions in Texas, is a captive market. El Paso Electric operates a monopoly, with no competition. Accordingly, given both its essential nature and lack of customer options for utility-generated power, a decision regarding the future of EPE is one of the most consequential votes City Council can take.

Agreeing to provide a franchise without truly knowing who is at the other end of the deal didn’t have to happen now, before all the facts are in. That is why I urged the City Council to delay action, and why I am looking forward to the federal review.

Author: Senator José R. Rodríguez, District 29

Senator Rodríguez represents Texas Senate District 29, which includes the counties of El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Jeff Davis, and Presidio. He represents both urban and rural constituencies, and more than 350 miles of the Texas-Mexico border. Senator Rodríguez currently serves as the Chairman of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus, and is a member of the Senate Committees on Agriculture (Vice Chair), Transportation, Natural Resources and Economic Development, and Water and Rural Affairs.

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El Paso Electric accepting applications for 8th Annual Summer High School Internship Program

On Thursday, El Paso Electric (EPE) officials announced that the company is now accepting applications for the 2020 Summer High School Internship Program.

“The transition from your junior year to senior year in high school is incredibly pivotal in the educational career for any student, so having access to internships of this type can be a unique experience in determining what trajectory they choose to take,” shares EPE interim CEO Adrian J. Rodriguez.

“Each student will become an integral part of the team gaining insight to the energy industry while experiencing the power of community partnerships built by a local company.”

The paid internship opportunity, in its eighth year, is open to all high school juniors in EPE’s service area, from Van Horn, TX to Hatch, NM.

The application deadline is February 10, 2020.

EPE’s Summer Internship Program provides students with the opportunities to develop leadership and teamwork skills through various group projects and work assignments. Each student will be placed in a department to learn work skills related to their future educational and/or career goals.

The internship will include a learning curriculum that covers the fundamentals of power generation, transmission, and distribution. Students will also participate in trainings that teach about business, finance, leadership and management skills.

A major component to the summer internship is the Corporate Social Responsibility Project, an annual initiative in which the students identify a need within the community and find creative ways to help address it.

High school students interested in the EPE summer internship program can access the application online, via this link and click on “Look at Current Openings.” There is no application fee.

Qualifications

  • Currently enrolled as a high school junior in an accredited high school within the EPE service territory (Van Horn, TX to Hatch, NM)
  • Must be classified as a high school junior for the 2019-2020 academic school year and entering their senior year beginning August 2020
  • Must have an overall high school G.P.A. of a 3.0 or above
  • Must be legally authorized to work in the United States
  • Must be available to work Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. from Monday, June 9, 2020 – Friday, July 31, 2020.

El Paso Electric plans to add Utility-Scale Battery Storage, 100’s of MWs of Solar Energy by 2023

On Wednesday, El Paso Electric officials announced their new steps to make its power generation portfolio cleaner and more sustainable by enacting a long-term energy supply resource plan that includes expanding solar energy, introducing their first utility-scale battery storage, and constructing a new state-of-the-art-natural gas-fired generation unit.

If the projects receive regulatory approval, the added generation resources will help meet EPE’s 2022-2023 summer peak seasons energy demand and replace older, less efficient gas-fired generation.

In 2017, in response to continued customer and load growth as well as a need to replace power from aging generation units, EPE determined that additional capacity of approximately 50 megawatts (MW) by 2022 and 320 MW by 2023 was needed to continue to meet the needs of its customers.

After an extensive review of proposals received in response to an All Source Request for Proposal, three Long-Term Purchased Power Agreements (LTPPAs) and a new gas-fired generation unit were chosen.

The LTTPAs provide for the purchase of energy and capacity from a 100 MW solar facility to be constructed in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, a 100 MW solar facility combined with 50 MW of battery storage to be constructed in Otero County, New Mexico, and a 50 MW stand-alone battery storage facility to be constructed in Canutillo, Texas.

The 228 MW gas-fired generation unit is expected to be constructed at EPE’s existing Newman Power Plant site (Newman Unit 6). The two 50 MW battery storage projects will be EPE’s very first utility-scale battery storage resources.

“Over the last year we have continued seeing growth in our region and have added approximately 7,000 customers. Additionally, because of falling renewable energy prices, and changing customer expectations on how they receive their energy, we are able to offer more sustainable solutions.  Today’s announcement further underscores our responsibility to both increase and enhance our power generation capability while simultaneously meeting our regional customers changing needs in a safe, clean, reliable, and cost-effective manner,” said EPE’s Interim Chief Executive Officer Adrian J. Rodriguez.

“Our ability to grow our renewable energy portfolio with additional solar is maximized with the addition of battery storage capability. By being able to introduce large-scale battery storage into our region, we will, for the first time ever, be able to harness the power of the sun from our solar facilities and utilize that energy at night and during cloudy days.”

Hecate Energy will take the lead on the first project, a 100 MW solar facility in Santa Teresa. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will develop, own and operate the second project, a 100 MW solar facility in Otero County that will also include 50 MWs of battery storage.

Ørsted Onshore (formerly Lincoln Clean Energy) will serve as the project developer of the third project, a 50 MW battery storage facility in Canutillo. Pending approval of the necessary regulating bodies, the two solar facilities coupled with 50 MW of battery storage are anticipated to be in service by May 2022.

The 50 MW stand-alone battery storage facility and the new gas generation unit are expected to be in service prior to summer 2023.

The addition of these energy resources will nearly triple EPE’s renewable energy portfolio, a landmark achievement since EPE’s announcement in 2016 as the first in Texas and New Mexico to go 100% coal-free.

EPE’s choice to divest its interests in the coal-fired generating plant, Four Corners Generating Station, was the equivalent of eliminating two billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which was done along with a promise to increase its investment in utility-scale solar.

“Hecate is fortunate to work with many leading North American utilities deploying thousands of megawatts of next-generation, carbon-free solar power, and in our experience, EPE is a top performer,” shares Alex Pugh, manager of development for Hecate Energy.

“We are pleased to help EPE diversify its energy generation and provide cost-effective, clean, and reliable renewable energy to its customers,” said Matt Handel, vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and the sun. “The Buena Vista Solar project, which will be paired with a battery energy storage system, will allow EPE to provide customers with more renewable energy and capacity over more hours of the day, even when the sun is not shining.”

“We are delighted to be partnering with El Paso Electric on the Canutillo Energy Project,” stated Frank O’Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Strategy for Ørsted Onshore. “Ørsted is committed to bringing cutting edge storage solutions to the market to help our partners like EPE reliably and cost effectively meet the evolving energy needs of the communities they serve.”

Newman Unit 6 is expected to be a Mitsubishi 228 MW air-cooled natural gas generation unit and is part of EPE’s long-term energy supply resource plan aimed at replacing older, less-efficient, more water intensive generation units that the EPE plans to retire in the next several years.

“MHPS (Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems) is proud that El Paso Electric has selected our air-cooled GAC technology for the Newman 6 project.  Like our customers throughout the United States, EPE is using a combination of renewables, storage and natural gas power generation to replace more carbon-intensive assets and meet their growing demand for cleaner, affordable and reliable electricity,” shares Paul Browning, president and chief executive officer for MHPS.

“Our GAC technology provides fast-start, fast-ramping capability to compliment intermittent renewable power, and air cooling to minimize water usage. We are helping EPE achieve a Change in Power.”

TTUHSC El Paso surpasses fundraising goal of $250k for Medical Student Scholarships

On Tuesday, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) announced that more than $350,000 has been raised for scholarships benefiting incoming and current students attending the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. 

Funding for scholarships was raised through sponsorships and gifts in honor of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, “A Red Tie Affair for A White Coat Occasion.” More than a dozen community sponsors have contributed to the event, including sponsors Datamark, Hunt Family Foundation, Robert and Sheri Brown, and El Paso Electric.

“Our 10th anniversary celebration is particularly unique in that all proceeds will fund the education of our students through special anniversary scholarships,” said Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., president of TTUHSC El Paso and dean of the Foster School of Medicine. “I am thrilled we have surpassed our original goal of $250,000, and I hope that this success will inspire even more giving in the time leading up to and during our celebration event.”

The scholarship program, which consists of Foster Scholarships, Excellence Scholarships, and Anniversary Scholarships, makes medical school and residency possible for more students, and it provides talented young people from the region the opportunity to attend medical school in their hometown.

With annual tuition and fees for an in-state medical student totaling less than $20,000, the Foster School of Medicine at TTUHSC El Paso has been ranked one of the most affordable public medical schools in the country by U.S News and World Report.

“We will continue to fundraise as the event nears and have exciting, competitive ways for our guests to help our incoming students during the night’s events,” said Andrea Tawney, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement.

“The El Paso community continues to amaze me with their investments in our city’s future well-being.  Thanks to their support, we are able to offer scholarships to students throughout their medical school journey and continue a “grow our own” approach to addressing our region’s physician shortage.”

The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine was established to serve the mission of improving access to quality health care in the Borderland.  It opened its doors to an inaugural class of 40 students in 2009, and since then it has sent 523 aspiring doctors into the medical profession.

Graduates have been matched to residency programs at top national institutions, including The Johns Hopkins University Hospital, George Washington University, Baylor University, New York University, Mayo Clinic, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

TTUHSC El Paso’s “A Red Tie Affair For A White Coat Occasion” event will be held on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in celebration of the Foster School of Medicine’s 10-year anniversary.

All event proceeds will support student scholarships, with a focus on recruiting students from El Paso and West Texas who will go on to practice in the region and serve their local communities.

The celebratory event will include a special black carpet entrance with interactive social media experiences, a guest appearance from the Texas Tech Masked Rider and El Paso’s Thomas Jefferson High School band.

TxDoT, El Paso Police, El Paso Electric, Socorro ISD Launch Pedestrian Safety Campaign

The Texas Department of Transportation El Paso District is partnering with the El Paso Police Department, the El Paso Electric Company, and the Socorro Independent School District for a pedestrian safety campaign launching ahead of Halloween and the end of daylight saving time.

The campaign, which was initiated last year, consists of bilingual educational material and the distribution of thousands of reflective slap bands.

“We have had 21 pedestrian traffic related deaths in the City of El Paso this year, compared to 21 at this time last year,” said El Paso Police Assistant Chief Victor Zarur. “We believe education and awareness can reduce or eliminate future fatalities. While the driver has been at fault in a few cases, the majority of our pedestrian deaths this year are a result of pedestrians not crossing at appropriate locations.”

About half of those deaths have occurred on high speed roadways like I-10 and US 54, prompting additional concern.

“One death on our roadways is one too many,” said TxDOT El Paso District Engineer Tomas Treviño. “High speed roadways like I-10, US 54, and Loop 375 aren’t places for walking or crossing. Things can change in an instant while we are driving. Everyone always needs to be alert and pay attention, eliminate distractions like cell phones and listening devices and take extra precautions at night.”

Pedestrians are encouraged to always use a crosswalk and use sidewalks if available. It is illegal to walk in the road if a sidewalk is nearby.

If there isn’t a sidewalk, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the road facing traffic, as far away from traffic as possible.

“Safety comes first’ is a common phrase and a daily practice at El Paso Electric,” said El Paso Electric Interim Chief Executive Officer Adrian Rodriguez. “As our core value, it is our priority to ensure the safety of our employees and those we serve, and we are proud to partner with TxDOT, EPPD, and SISD in sharing this important message.”

In addition, drivers involved in a crash or who experience their vehicle stalling should remember to move their ride to the side if possible, turn on their hazard lights, and call for help.

If drivers are stalled on a main lane, they should turn on their hazard lights, stay buckled in their vehicle and call 9-1-1.

With the sun setting earlier and Halloween around the corner, everyone is especially reminded of child pedestrian safety.

“Our number one priority is to provide safe and supportive learning environments, which includes before and after school when our students and families are on the roads and sidewalks,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “I encourage everyone to be highly vigilant around our schools and at peak traffic times to ensure our pedestrians are safe. Team SISD is proud to be working with TXDOT, EPPD and EP Electric to Keep SISD Safe.”

El Paso Electric presents $15k grant to STTE Foundation in support of STEAM Education

El Paso Electric (EPE), through its Community Partner Program, presented a $15,000 grant at a check presentation ceremony to the Success Through Technology Education (STTE) Foundation to continue its advocacy of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education.

“Our commitment to the community we serve extends far beyond providing a reliable and sustainable source of electricity to each of our customers, it is about partnering with our community and asking, where can we help?” shares Adrian J. Rodriguez, interim CEO of EPE.

“We realized there was a need for support for our local robotics teams, and with the help of the STTE Foundation, we were able to create a fund that will assist students and educators directly in a field that is evolving quickly. It is important that we assist our education partners with the ability to develop and retain talent like our youth in our region.”

The EPE grant will go towards STTE’s continued efforts to develop curriculum centered around STEAM, and its robotics program. The STTE Robotics Program includes coding and engineering where over 160 students took advantage of this opportunity.
“For decades we all have been users and consumers of technology; however, the evolution of technology now grants us both access and the ability to craft it the way we would like to see it,” said Joseph Sapien, executive director of the STTE Foundation. “Our youth have the potential and the passion to be leaders in the technology and engineering sectors, so now it is about creating and expanding platforms for them to deem it possible.”
STTE has taken the partnership with EPE a step further by launching the inaugural Sun City Challenge, the Foundation’s newest initiative the will encompass a virtual reality and 3D competition open to high school students within EPE’s service territory.
Students are called to re-engineer, design, and educate their community on the power of renewable energy.
EPE will use the products created by the winning teams in each category as educational tools and presentations led by the Company’s renewable and emerging technologies department. There will be $10,000 in cash prizes awarded to the winning teams in their respective categories.
The STTE Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to partnering with public and private middle and secondary schools and institutions of higher learning to advance the competitiveness of the borderplex region through digital literacy, access to STEAM fields and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Officials with the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation, New Mexico State University, the regions’ three largest school districts – Ysleta, Socorro and El Paso, as well as students from Eastwood High School’s Robotics Team were in attendance.

El Paso Electric celebrates Summer Interns for their efforts, contributions

For a large majority of teenagers who are currently attending school, summer is primetime for ‘R & R’ – rest and relaxation before heading back to school this fall; however, for 18 young adults, this summer was extra special as they made up El Paso Electric’s (EPE) 2019 Summer Internship Program cohort.

“My internship with El Paso Electric has taught me more than I could have imagined,” reflects Katya Marquez, 2019 EPE summer college intern. “This experience is preparing me in a number of ways from public speaking, to working with deadlines, to gaining knowledge from hands on training. I am very thankful for this opportunity to make an impact in our community with the Corporate Social Responsibility project while getting closer to my goal of becoming an electrical engineer.”

At a reception held Friday, August 2, at the Utility’s headquarters in Downtown El Paso, EPE employees along with friends and family of this year’s high school and college interns celebrated the completion of the 7th year of the program and all of their accomplishments.

“For high school students, the transition from the junior year to senior year is incredibly pivotal in the educational journey for any student, so having access to internships of this type can be a unique experience in determining what trajectory they choose to take,” shares interim CEO of EPE Adrian J. Rodriguez.

“Each student – both high school and college – will become a vital part of the team gaining insight to the Utility while experiencing integral partnerships built by a local company.”

One of the major components to the EPE summer internship is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Project, an annual initiative in which the students identify a need within the community and find creative ways to help address it.

This year, the EPE intern cohort built a STEAM Lab at the El Paso Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) and unveiled it on July 30, 2019, that included a donation of $2,000 to help maintain the Lab through the year.

“Giving back to those in need is very important because here in El Paso we need to grow together,” said Javier Villalba, intern with EPE Human Resources Department. “This year’s CSR project has helped impact the lives of children at the ASYMCA, as well as offer me insight on leadership, organization and even presentation skills.”

EPE’s Summer Internship Program provides students with opportunities to develop leadership and teamwork skills through various group projects and work assignments.

Each student is placed with an EPE department to learn work skills related to their future educational and/or career goals. The internship included a learning curriculum that covers the fundamentals of power generation, transmission, and distribution.

Students also participated in trainings that teach about business, finance, leadership and management skills.

El Paso Children’s Hospital, El Paso Electric partner to expand Pediatric Surgical Services

On Thursday, El Paso Electric (EPE) in partnership with El Paso Children’s Hospital (EPCH) named a hospital room in honor of EPE’s $25,000 donation that will assist in the expansion of pediatric surgical services.

Watts of Courage, formally known as Room 762, will be the newest hospital room welcomed to EPCH’s 7th floor Oncology Department.

The room adorned with EPE’s mighty Power Pack – the Utility’s mascots who represent different aspects of the electric infrastructure – aims to serve as a source of inspiration and resilience for the warriors battling and overcoming cancer.

“Partnerships such as the one with El Paso Electric are very instrumental in helping the community understand the level of services provided here,” shares EPCH’s CEO Cindy Stout. “We continue to grow our services to ensure that the level of care we offer is what we need for all the children of our community.”

The $25,000 donation from EPE, part of the Utility’s Community Partner Program, will help EPCH ensure they have access to the latest equipment for the pediatric cases in the Paso del Norte region. Since opening in 2012 EPCH has reduced the number of children having to leave El Paso for services by 85%.

Nikki Rhodes, who’s daughter is an EPCH patient, states, “It is an amazing thing to have El Paso Children’s Hospital right here for children who need it most. I hope they get the same quality experience and convenience we did here in El Paso, which was quick, personal and what we needed.”

As a result of EPE’s $25,000 donation, EPE employees had the opportunity to be part of this larger initiative by naming the EPCH hospital room – Watts of Courage.

“We are happy that our employees were able to participate in an initiative that is so much bigger than all of us,” states EPE’s Vice President of Strategic Communications, Customer and Community Engagement Eddie Gutierrez. “The local services that our contribution will help provide to our community are important to El Paso Electric. These children are our future, and we want to do our part to make our community healthy and safe for all our families.”

With the help of EPE and other community partnerships, EPCH is able to help ensure families stay close to home and get the specialized care in El Paso.

El Paso Electric Makes Community Partnership Donation to El Paso Children's Hospital

El Paso Electric (EPE) in partnership with El Paso Children’s Hospital (EPCH) named a hospital room in honor of EPE’s $25,000 donation that will assist in the expansion of pediatric surgical services. The $25,000 donation from EPE, part of the Utility’s Community Partner Program, will help EPCH ensure they have access to the latest equipment for the pediatric cases in the Paso del Norte region.

Posted by El Paso Electric on Thursday, July 25, 2019

El Pasoan Adrian Rodriguez named Interim CEO of EP Electric; Kipp heads to Washington State

El Paso Electric Company (EPE) today announced that the Company’s Board of Directors has appointed Adrian Rodriguez, EPE’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Assistant Secretary, as interim Chief Executive Officer.

These appointments are effective beginning August 1, 2019 and follow Mary Kipp’s (EPE’s current CEO and President) decision to accept the position of President with Puget Sound Energy in Washington state.

EPE officials added, to ensure a smooth transition, Kipp will continue with EPE until August 1, 2019.

Adrian Rodriguez, EPE’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Assistant Secretary

Rodriguez, a native of El Paso, joined EPE in 2013 and was appointed as an Officer of the Company and Senior Vice President, General Counsel in 2017.  In his role at El Paso Electric, Rodriguez has worked closely with other members of the executive leadership team in developing the Company’s strategy and overseeing EPE’s operations, with Rodriguez responsible for EPE’s Legal, Governance, External Affairs and Regulatory and Rates departments.

“Adrian has a strong record of leadership and accomplishment at El Paso Electric,” Charles Yamarone, Chairperson of the El Paso Electric Board, shared.  “Adrian has consistently prioritized community service in his home town of El Paso, and his knowledge of our operations and our culture make him a natural choice to take on this responsibility.

The Board has the utmost confidence that Adrian and the leadership team, alongside the dedicated EPE employees across the organization, will successfully guide the Company as it continues to deliver exceptional service to the region.”

“In my role as the interim CEO I look forward to working with the rest of the senior management team, our strong union and all employees while keeping EPE focused on our vision for delivering safe, clean, affordable and reliable energy to our community,” shared Rodriguez.

“I also want to thank Mary for setting the path towards a cleaner energy future and for her years of dedicated work to our community.”

Kipp

“El Paso Electric’s commitments to our customers and our region, the place I have called home since I was a child, will continue after my departure. I am fully confident in the leadership of our management team and Adrian,” shares Kipp.

“Realizing this is an important time for El Paso Electric, I have weighed the choice to depart very carefully as I considered, at length, the long-term plans for me and my family. My decision to move to Puget Sound Energy will allow my son to be closer to family which is very important to both of us.”

Kipp has been with EPE since 2007 and was named president in September 2014, appointed CEO in December 2015, and President & CEO in May 2017.The Company’s biggest accomplishments under Kipp’s leadership have included the expansion of renewable energy and sustainability initiatives in our region in response to evolving customer demands.

“As the Company’s CEO, Mary has worked tirelessly to make the community proud of El Paso Electric’s accomplishments and

Elaina Ball, EPE’s Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer

contributions to the region,” added Yamarone.

“In addition to maintaining EPE’s status as an industry leader and major economic driver for the local economy, the Company achieved numerous milestones under Mary’s leadership, most notably becoming coal free in 2016. On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank Mary for her years of service and dedication, as well as for her help with this transition.”

The Board has also appointed Elaina Ball, EPE’s Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, as interim Chief Operating  Officer.

Landy Gilbert, Managing Director, of J.P. Morgan’s Infrastructure Investments Group, Investment Advisor to the Infrastructure Investments Fund (IIF) released the following statement:

We have been informed that Mary E. Kipp has accepted a position at Puget Sound Energy and that the El Paso Electric Board of Directors has appointed Adrian J. Rodriguez interim Chief Executive Officer and Elaina L. Ball as interim Chief Operating Officer.

While this was unexpected since we had planned for Mary to continue as CEO of the Company, we know that talent runs deep throughout the EPE organization. We share the Board’s confidence in Adrian and Elaina, and look forward to continuing to work with them and the broader EPE team to complete the transaction and partner together for the benefit of EPE and its stakeholders.  

Below is the letter Ms. Kipp sent to all EPE Employees:

To: All El Paso Electric Employees

Team,

After being part of the El Paso Electric family for 12 years, I am announcing to you that I am leaving the Company in the hands of a strong leadership team including Adrian Rodriguez, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Assistant Secretary, who will serve as interim CEO. I have accepted a position as president of Puget Sound Energy in Washington state.

My move is not a result of our agreement to be purchased by IIF. I believe that this agreement is a great partnership between EPE and IIF and leaves the Company, employees, and communities we serve in a better position than they have ever been.

This was a difficult decision for me to make, as I’ve called this area home for many years. My family, as I’m sure yours is as well, is my top priority. Major life events provide each of us with an opportunity to reflect and, if necessary, make changes. Given some recent events in my life, I have decided to pursue the next chapter of my life and my career closer to my family. I will remain with EPE until August 1, 2019, and will then make the move to help my son get settled before the start of the school year in his new middle school.

The goals I have seen all of you accomplish have been monumental. You have successfully brought Montana Power Station online, right after celebrating the opening of the Eastside Operations Center. You have expanded our renewable energy portfolio in stride with launching the inaugural Community Solar program for Texas customers. You also became one of the first utilities in the region to generate coal-free electricity and released the Company’s first Corporate Sustainability Report. These and so many more achievements are all thanks to the hard work and dedication of each of you.

I am so proud and grateful to have been a part of the EPE family over these last few years, and I will be available today in the Stanton Auditorium at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to answer any questions you may have. Additional meetings at all EPE locations will be scheduled the week of July 8th. Thank you for the lasting memories but most importantly, I hope you will stay in touch as we continue in our respective journeys.

Kind Regards,

Mary Kipp President and Chief Executive Officer

 

EP Electric CEO announces company’s purchase by Infrastructure Investments Fund

On Monday, El Paso Electric‘s CEO Mary Kipp announced the purchase of El Paso Electric by Infrastructure Investments Fund (IIF), an investment vehicle advised by J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc.

Via their social media channels, Kipp shared that “On June 3, 2019 we announced a significant, long-term investment in our service area. Infrastructure Investments Fund (IIF), an investment vehicle advised by J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc., has agreed to acquire EPE.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal is worth an estimated $2.79 billion dollars.

“As we look to the future and the long-term investment needed to meet the growing energy needs of our communities, this is a major step in EPE’s ongoing commitment to providing safe, clean, affordable and reliable energy to you, our customers,” Kipp went on to say.

Kipp’s statement shares that IIF is responsible for investing and growing the retirement funds of more than 40 million families, including 2 million people across Texas and New Mexico who will be invested in EPE.

“The IIF family of companies includes a number of other utilities. They are a leading investor in renewable energy and have a track record of delivering for the communities they partner with, Kipp’s statement continued. “Let me assure you that now and in the future, we will continue providing you with safe and reliable service. We also are committed to communicating with our customers, employees and communities with transparency and respect.”

The sale to IIF is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions; EPE officials add they expect to complete the closing in the first half of 2020.

EPE and IIF have agreed to a number of customer, employee and community commitments, which will take effect upon closing and include:

  • Electric Bill Credit for Customers: EPE and IIF have committed to provide a credit on customer electric bills in the amount of $21 million over 36 months.
  • Continuity of Local Workforce: IIF has made real commitments to ensure EPE’s workforce, including union and non-union employees and management, will remain in place.
  • Community Contributions: EPE and IIF remain committed to $1.2 million in annual charitable contributions in our service area under the existing Community Partner Program, which provides employee engagement with and financial support to the many local organizations that positively impact the well-being of our communities.
  • Community Economic Sustainability Fund: EPE and IIF commit to establishing a Community Economic Sustainability Fund to invest $100 million over 20 years to fund growth and economic development in our service area.
  • Maintain Local Presence: EPE’s headquarters will remain in El Paso, Texas.

“This agreement will better position EPE to meet the future energy needs of our service area. The partnership with IIF will enhance our ability to fulfill commitments to you – our customers – and the communities we serve, including investment in more renewable energy resources, local generation and other infrastructure needs,” Kipp added.

As far as their local ties and community contributions, Eddie Gutierrez, Vice President of Communications, Customer and Community Engagement, explained what the sale would mean to their community partners.

El Paso Electric donates $10,000 to TTUHSC El Paso Initiatives

At the 2019 Community Partner Awards Reception, El Paso Electric donated $10,000 to the Texas Tech Foundation in support of programs at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

The gift will be split between nursing scholarships, the Medical Student Run Clinic and sponsorship of the university’s Cookies, Cocoa and Holiday Cheer community event, which invites the community to the campus to enjoy holiday treats, festive skits and a holiday lights show.

Nursing scholarships are especially important in El Paso to help students who normally could not afford school, helping to ease the nursing shortage in the city.

The Medical Student Run Clinic provides free primary health care screenings to the Sparks community in Far East El Paso County.

Volunteer work at the clinic provides students from the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine with an opportunity to work in a real clinical environment while also developing a relationship with the community.

Eddie Gutiérrez, vice president of strategic communications, customer and community engagement, said community partnerships and giving are important to El Paso Electric.

“While providing safe, clean, reliable and sustainable energy for our growing community is at the core of our business, serving as a community partner is part of our mission in moving us all forward. The EPE Community Partner Program is incredibly intentional about who is awarded these donations, ensuring that these organizations are making a positive and local impact.”

El Paso Electric gave out awards to more than 70 community partners at the April 11 event.

Project Vida Receives $135K for Micro-Business Economic Development

Thanks to the participation of several local businesses, foundations and government, Project Vida‘s Microenterprise Technical Assistance Program (MTAP) has been funded to the tune of $135,000.

GECU, El Paso Electric, WestStar Bank, Hunt Family Foundation, United Way of El Paso County and the City of El Paso all contributed a to Project Vida’s MTAP – the grassroots asset-building economic development project.

Awards include El Paso Electric $10,000; GECU $10,000; WestStar Bank $5,000; Hunt Family Foundation $5,000; United Way $15,333; and the City of El Paso $90,000 from a Community Development Block Grant.

“MTAP engages marginal low- and moderate-income micro-business owners with business and financial literacy, management skill-building, and pathways to job retention and job creation,” Project Vida officials shared via a Friday morning news release.

MTAP transfers the community health worker/promotora model of outreach and trust-building to a business model of financial stability, asset-building, entry into the mainstream economy and growth toward small business status.

From 2013 to 2018, MTAP enrolled nearly 750 qualifying microenterprise owners in the program helping them retain 561 jobs and create 471 new jobs.

For more information on Project Vida or the Microenterprise Technical Assistance Program, contact Bill Schlesinger at (915) 533-7057, ext. 207, or w.schlesinger@pvida.net

EP Electric Plans to Add 100’s of Megawatts of Solar Energy, Battery Storage by 2023

On Monday, officials with El Paso Electric (EPE) announced a plan to add both resources and infrastructure ahead of anticipated demand over the next 5 years.

“These technologies provide a mix of carbon-free renewable and clean burning natural gas generation that will enable us to meet the growing need for power in our region in a safe, clean, reliable, and cost-effective manner,” said Mary Kipp, El Paso Electric President and Chief Executive Officer. “This balanced combination of resources will work with our existing energy portfolio as we move to retire aging, less efficient plants while continuing to meet our customers’ changing energy needs.”

According to EPE officials, they have identified generation resource additions needed by the 2022-2023 summer peak season.  The generation mix includes utility scale solar, battery storage, and natural gas.

The anticipated operational date for the new gas turbine is 2023, at an expected cost of $143 million.

“Through initial resource planning studies, EPE determined that it requires additional generating capacity of approximately 50 MW by 2022 and 320 MW by 2023 for a total of 370 MW,” the document released on social media stated.

“After careful evaluation of the competitive 2017 All Source Request for Proposals for Electric Power Supply and Load Management Resources (RFP), the winning bids include the expected energy purchase of 200 megawatts (MW) of utility scale solar resources, 100 MW of battery storage, and the construction of a 226 MW natural gas combustion turbine generating unit at the Company’s Newman Power Station in northeast El Paso.”

In addition, EPE expects to pursue the purchase of 50 to 150 MW of wind and solar-generated power to provide for “fuel diversity and energy cost savings.”

Officials added, “The mix of new capacity underscores EPE’s strategic goal to remain at the forefront in advancing renewable energy and expanding its overall energy portfolio with cost-effective, diverse and competitive-based energy resources for its customers.”

El Paso Electric Accepting Applications for 7th Annual Summer High School Internship Program

El Paso Electric (EPE) is now accepting applications for the 2019 Summer High School Internship Program.

The paid internship opportunity, in its seventh year, is open to all high school juniors in EPE’s service area (Van Horn, TX to Hatch, NM). The application deadline is February 3, 2019.

EPE’s Summer Internship Program provides students with the opportunities to develop leadership and teamwork skills through various group projects and work assignments. Each student will be placed in a department to learn work skills related to their future educational and/or career goals.

The internship will include a learning curriculum that covers the fundamentals of power generation, transmission, and distribution. Students will also participate in training sessions that teach about business, finance, leadership and management skills.

“The transition from your junior year to senior year in high school is incredibly pivotal in the educational career for any student, so having

Photo courtesy EPE

access to internships of this type can be a unique experience in determining what trajectory they choose to take,” shares EPE President and CEO Mary Kipp.

“Each student will become an integral part of the team gaining insight to the energy industry while experiencing the power of community partnerships built by a local company.”

A major component to the summer internship is the Corporate Social Responsibility Project, an annual initiative in which the students identify a need within the community and find creative ways to help address it.

High school students interested in the EPE summer internship program can access the application online and click on “Career Opportunities.” There is no application fee.

Qualifications

  • Currently enrolled as a high school junior in an accredited high school within the EPE service territory (Van Horn, TX to Hatch, NM)
  • Must be classified as a high school junior for the 2018-2019 academic school year and entering their senior year beginning August 2019
  • Must have an overall high school G.P.A. of a 3.0/4.0 or above
  • Must be legally authorized to work in the United States
  • Must be available to work Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. from Monday, June 10, 2019 – Friday, August 2, 2019.

 

El Paso Electric Warns of Increase in Scam Calls

Officials with El Paso Electric (EPE) say they have seen an increase in the number of scam calls targeting customers, with over 60 reported just this month.

Via a news release officials shared, “Scammers are masking calls to make it appear as if it was originated by EPE as well as resembling the customer service phone number. Each scam reported involve the threat to disconnect service if payment is not made immediately.”

Customers are being directed to purchase a prepaid debit card to handle payment, and then provided with either a “1-800” or “1-877” non-affiliated EPE phone number to call back to make the payment over the phone.

“As these scams become more sophisticated, customers should hang up and call an El Paso Electric phone number to report the call or inquire about the status of their account,” officials added.

EPE will never ask customers to purchase a prepaid debit card to make a payment over the phone. EPE officials recommend the following tips to protect customers from potential scams:

  • Be suspicious of any call asking for payment, especially if they require payment with a prepaid debit card. EPE has various payment methods through authorized payment options.
  • EPE will never direct customers to an exclusive location to handle payment with a prepaid debit card.
  • If there are any questions regarding the authenticity of the caller claiming to represent EPE, report the issue at (915) 543-5970, (575) 526-5555 or call toll free at (800) 592-1634.
  • Do not offer any confidential information unless the customer initiated the contact with EPE customer service at one of the above numbers.

For a complete list of EPE authorized payment options or more more information, customers can visit their website.

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