Public Service Enterprise Group has announced a reorganization of its top executives as part of the company’s transformation to a clean-energy future, elevating Ralph LaRossa to the newly created position of chief operating officer.
A series of high-level promotions seemed to solidify LaRossa’s position as heir apparent to Ralph Izzo as CEO of the huge Newark energy company. In his new position, LaRossa will retain his role as president and COO of PSEG Power, the company’s fleet of power plants, as well as operating functions of the parent, PSEG.
Dave Daly, who now heads Public Service Electric & Gas, will continue as president of the company’s utility, but his role has been expanded. He also will be COO and president of PSEG Utilities and Clean Energy Ventures, its clean-energy development and renewable energy generation businesses. Daly will report to LaRossa.
In LaRossa’s new role, he continues his rise throughout the company’s business units. LaRossa, a self-described Jersey guy, led PSE&G at a time of its rapid growth when it became the prime profit center of the company, as well as oversaw the recovery from Superstorm Sandy.
More recently, just more than two years ago, LaRossa took over as the top executive of PSEG Power, which runs the company’s fleet of power plants, including three nuclear units in South Jersey. He played a key role in lining up legislative support to win lucrative ratepayer subsidies to keep the plants from closing due to competition from cheap natural gas.
“As president of PSEG Power, he has been leading the company’s transition to cleaner energy, including the drive to win public support for preservation of New Jersey’s carbon-free nuclear plants,’’ said Izzo, president, chairman and CEO of PSEG. “Over his career at PSEG, Ralph has demonstrated the leadership skills necessary to assume this key leadership role.’’ Analysts were not surprised by the announcement. “He has been the head of a number of their business units,’’ said Paul Patterson, an energy analyst with Glenrock Associates in New York, who follows the company.
PSEG has been the most aggressive utility in New Jersey in embracing Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal of achieving a 100% clean-energy economy by 2050. Its nuclear fleet contributes 90% of the carbon-free electricity consumed by residents.
It filed a $4 billion, six-year request to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, largely to promote energy efficiency projects ($2.8 billion) among its customers to curb electric and gas use. Part of that approval aims to build out the charging infrastructure ($364 million) for plug-in electric vehicles. It also includes $180 million to spend on a variety of energy storage projects and another $800 million to put smart meters in customers’ homes.
In addition, the company is mulling taking an investment option to purchase a 25% interest in Ørsted’s offshore wind project 15 miles off of Atlantic City. The 1,100-megawatt project is the first offshore wind farm to be built off the Jersey Coast, but the Murphy administration announced last week it hopes to build up to 7,500MW offshore by 2035.
In addition to the other changes, Kim Hanenmann has been announced as senior vice president and COO of PSE&G. She will continue to oversee PSE&G’s electrical operations and will assume responsibility over gas operations, asset management and customer management.