By Hudson Sangree
The CAISO Energy Imbalance Market’s Governing Body will search for a candidate to replace former member Kristine Schmidt after she resigned earlier this month to join embattled PG&E Corp.’s board, EIM leaders said Wednesday.
Schmidt was selected April 3 to sit on PG&E’s 13-member board along with her onetime boss at FERC, former Commissioner Nora Mead Brownell, who was named chair. The board appointments are likely to be approved at PG&E’s next in-person shareholder meeting, probably in June. (See Former FERC Commissioner Brownell Named PG&E Chair.)
EIM Chair Valerie Fong said at Wednesday’s Governing Body meeting that Schmidt had to resign from the EIM because “she would be conflicted. She couldn’t be on both boards.” Schmidt resigned April 1, Fong said.
Governing Body members thanked Schmidt for her service and wished her well. Schmidt joined the body’s teleconference briefly and also expressed her gratitude.
An EIM nominating committee will seek to fill the seat.
Also, at Wednesday’s meeting, Fong and colleague John Prescott were both re-elected by the only two members allowed to vote — Carl Linvill and Travis Kavulla. Normally, Fong and Prescott would have been asked to leave the room for the vote, but they were only requested to cover their ears.
After extensive stakeholder input, CAISO’s Board of Governors appointed the EIM’s first Governing Body — which included Schmidt, Fong, Linvill and Prescott — in June 2016. The EIM allows real-time interstate trading of electricity and has been widely hailed as a success, saving its participants an estimated $565 million since it began in November 2014.
PG&E Corp. and its utility subsidiary Pacific Gas and Electric filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in January, citing the potential for billions of dollars in wildfire liability.
The company is going through a board “refreshment” process after two years of deadly and catastrophic fires. It has faced political pressure to include more utility and safety experts on its board.
PG&E said Monday it had reached an agreement with Blue Mountain Capital Management, a major shareholder that opposed its initial board choices. The company said it would appoint one of Blue Mountain’s preferred candidates, Fred Buckman, the former CEO of Consumers Energy and PacifiCorp. Buckman will replace Richard Kelly, who resigned from the board. PG&E also said it was hiring Christopher Hart, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, as a special independent safety adviser.