PLMA was founded in 1998 by Joel Gilbert, P.E. who saw a growing need for a collegial organization where professionals grappling with peak demand issues could gather, share ideas, and create solutions. Joel partnered with Elliot Boardman to serve as Executive Director and together they organized the first meeting to test the concept. When the markets peaked that summer at more than $4,000/MWh, the meeting sold out and the after meeting became the organizational forum for PLMA.
It is fun to look at what led up to this. Joel was working as a consultant on a peak shaving program Northeast Utilities (NU) was designing. The electricity markets were just first facing locational prices, and NU wanted to know what the economics of peak shaving might look like in their most congested zone in Southwest Connecticut. After studying several years of pricing, Joel saw a clear trend - the value for congestion-relief was rising rapidly in Southwest Connecticut. The value for operating standby diesel generation was now clear, but the only business case NU and others were considering was total interruptible tariffs to capture this opportunity. The idea of letting customers displace their actual hourly-use of power by paralleling the generator was still not acceptable nor popular. As the project moved along and the next summer of data was available, Joel could see price spikes becoming likely.
About the same time, Elliot Boardman, who was the Executive Director of the Association of Energy Service Professionals invited Joel to speak on a panel with Neil Wolkoff, the VP of Operations at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), to discuss the future of energy trading. Neil and Joel became instant friends as a result and Neil encouraged Joel to think through how to build a subordinate exchange to aggregate demand side resources so they could be traded against the supply side agreements on their exchange. That conversation led Joel to design the Demand Exchange, the first online energy trading platform, at Apogee, and launch it first at Coweta Fayette and Entergy.
Joel contacted Elliot Boardman and suggested he and his wife Pat join himself and his wife Susan for a brainstorming session in Atlanta to consider forming an organization focused on this issue. They met and decided that, with the encouragement and financial support of Neil Wolkoff, it was worth taking a gamble on holding the first meeting.
The price spikes Joel forecasted happened at ECAR that summer, shocking the industry into awareness. No one except Joel could believe there could be a price in the wholesale electricity market over $4,000 per MWh. PJM never anticipated this either and had limited their price to three digits, so their markets hit $999 for hours on end to accumulate these high prices in the individual hours.
Needless to say, that first meeting of the now PLMA in Florida was an absolute sell out. Ironically, it is now called the infamous Hurricane Meeting because one hit just as the meeting ended. The final session at that meeting was to decide whether there was a need for an organization and what should it be called. And the rest is history.
PLMA Board Chairs
2017: Nashville, TN and Cambridge, MA
2016: San Francisco, CA and Delray Beach, FL
2015: Tucson, AZ and Charlotte, NC
2014: Denver, CO and Philadelphia, PA
2013: Austin, TX and Atlanta, GA
2012: New York, NY and San Francisco, CA
2011: Las Vegas, NV and Chattanooga, TN
2010: Santa Monica, CA and Alexandria, VA
2009: Annapolis, MD and Chicago, IL
2008: Baltimore, MD and Austin, TX
2007: Toronto, Ontario and Portland, OR
2006: Washington, DC and New York, NY
2005: Atlanta, GA and Arcadia, CA
2004: San Diego, CA and Orlando, FL
2003: Washington, DC and New York, NY
2002: Dallas, TX and Annapolis, MD
2001: Washington, DC (both spring and fall)
2000: New Orleans, LA and Destin, FL