Monday, February 18, 2019

MISO Elects Lange to Board; Keeps 2 Incumbents

Will Consider Extending 1-Year Moratorium to Regulators

By Amanda Durish Cook

CARMEL, Ind. — MISO’s membership has elected to keep Directors Phyllis Currie and Mark Johnson while also approving the somewhat controversial installment of current Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Chair Nancy Lange.

MISO Senior Vice President and Board Secretary Stephen Kozey announced the Board of Directors elections results at a Nov. 15 Informational Forum. Voting opened Sept. 27 and concluded Nov. 2.

MISO Informational Forum

MISO’s Informational Forum on Nov. 15 | © RTO Insider

Each candidate received a majority of membership votes, the RTO revealed. Kozey said the eballot performed “soundly” with no outages from election vendor VoteNet.

“It was not hacked,” Kozey joked, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the recent fear of cyberattacks on the midterm elections.

Kozey said 96 of 139 members voted, well above the 35-member quorum required.

Members voted Lange to the board despite concern by some stakeholders over a sitting commissioner being appointed to the oversight body. Stakeholders said MISO should consider requiring the same one-year moratorium for regulators in the RTO’s states that it requires of directors coming from member companies. MISO’s bylaws require a yearlong cooling period for “directors, officers or employees of a member, user or an affiliate of a member or user.” (See MISO Members Uneasy over Board Nomination.)

This is the first time the RTO has elected either a sitting commissioner or a commissioner from one of the states in its footprint to the board.

Stakeholders noted that Lange made decisions about the grid on behalf of Minnesota customers and utilities up until her election.

Lange will fill the seat vacated by retiring Director Michael Curran, who has served on MISO’s board since 2007. The trio will begin their three-year terms on Jan. 1. Lange’s term at the Minnesota commission doesn’t expire until Jan. 7. Kozey has said Lange will avoid overlap by resigning her post at the regulatory agency early.

Stephen Kozey of MISO at Forum

Stephen Kozey | © RTO Insider

Kozey said MISO has requested that its board address whether the moratorium should apply to regulators.

“Because of the issue raised by stakeholders, we’ve asked the Corporate Governance and Strategic Planning Committee [of the Board of Directors] that the applicability of the stay-out be an item that they address,” Kozey said.

The RTO’s Advisory Committee will also discuss the issue at its Dec. 6 meeting during Board Week.

In a release, CEO John Bear said MISO is “fortunate to have an exceptional depth of experience across our Board of Directors.”

Members also approved a $7,000 raise for all directors, raising the current base retainer from $89,000 to $96,000 per year. (See MISO Board of Directors Briefs: Sept. 20, 2018.)

After reporting on election results, Kozey announced that he would be retiring from MISO by the end of the year.

“Thank you for putting up with me and my attempts at humor over the years,” Kozey said, choking up. Kozey was one of the RTO’s 21 original employees in 2000. (See “MISO Looks Back at 15,” MISO Changes to Queue, Auction, Cost Allocation to Dominate 2017.) Kozey founded the RTO’s legal department 18 years ago and served as chief legal officer until 2016.

“We have accomplished so much together, and we are now at a good point for me to transition to retirement. I will miss MISO, the people and working with all of our members, but after a fulfilling and satisfying career, it is time to think about the next stage of my life. I can leave the RTO without hesitation that we have the right leadership in place to take this organization into the future,” Kozey said later in a press release.

MISO said it has a succession plan in place and will announce Kozey’s successor later.