Kim Hanemann, an executive who guided Public Service Electric & Gas through an aggressive program of expanding its transmission assets, has been named president of New Jersey’s largest gas and electric utility. She would become the first woman to head the utility in its 118-year history.
Hanemann will succeed David Daly, the current president of PSE&G, effective June 30. Daly will retire at the end of this year, after 35 years with the utility, serving as the top executive at PSE&G since October 2017. His stewardship accelerated the company’s transition to cleaner energy, including a program to get customers to use less energy and to promote greater reliance on electric vehicles.
Hanemann, a PSE&G lifer who joined the utility as an associate engineer out of Lehigh University in 1986, takes the helm at a time when investments in the aging electric grid have become a top priority. In its last earnings call, Ralph Izzo, president, chairman and CEO of PSEG, the utility’s parent company, also talked about the company expanding its offshore-wind transmission targets to the Mid-Atlantic, not just the Ocean Wind project off Atlantic City, New Jersey’s first offshore wind project.
As a senior vice president and chief operating officer of PSE&G, Hanemann, 58, has overseen the company’s huge capital spending involving billions of dollars on its transmission assets, which now account for roughly 40% of the utility’s rate base. Transmission projects earn a higher rate of return for the company than distribution investments, which bring power from substations to mostly the residential sector.
Izzo noted that in a prior job as head of delivery projects and construction Hanemann built the organization from the ground up, and since then “has been responsible for ensuring the on-time, on-scope and on-budget and implementation of the utility’s multi-billion dollar transmission investments.’’
A focus on clean energy
“I look forward to building on the strong foundation that Dave Daly has created as we work toward our Clean Energy Future goals of helping customers use energy more efficiently, and providing them with electric vehicles and smart meters,’’ Hanemann said.
Smart metering, a program that won approval from regulators, is viewed as crucial to the state’s clean-energy goals by providing consumers with timely information about their energy use, as well as integrating use of larger amounts of renewable energy into the power grid without harming reliability.
“It is no accident Kim is being elevated at the moment PSE&G is investing more in transmission, particularly with offshore wind projects,’’ said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey.
But Paul Patterson, an energy analyst at Glenrock Associates, said the shift is more likely typical of normal corporate shuffling. “This, to me, doesn’t significantly change their strategy,’’ he said.
Daly has agreed to stay on in an executive advisory role until the end of 2021 to provide expert consultation in areas such as advocacy for transmission, energy efficiency and other strategic projects.
Both Daly and Hanemann will report to Ralph LaRossa, chief operating officer of PSEG, an executive many assume to be the likely choice to replace Izzo, when he decides to retire. LaRossa is also president and COO of PSEG Power.