In June 2009 PJM Interconnection asked CBI and Raab Associates, a long-time CBI partner, to conduct an assessment of PJM's stakeholder process and overall governance structure. PJM is the US’ largest regional transmission organization (RTO) and co­ordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in 13 states and the District of Columbia. With over 600 member companies, 56,000 miles of transmission lines, and 51 million customers, PJM utilizes a complex governance structure for coordinating its members. PJM’s stakeholder process includes a broad, multi-layered system for making decisions and providing recommenda­tions on two of PJM’s primary objectives: ensuring reliability and maintaining competitive markets.

Working closely with PJM’s Gover­nance Assessment Team (GAST), CBI and Raab Associates created a carefully tailored, participatory approach to gather and inventory PJM member concerns. To acquire a broad understanding of stakeholders’ views, CBI interviewed 75 member com­panies, staff, management, and the PJM Board; conducted focus groups; and observed meetings. Using this information, CBI developed an online survey for all PJM member compa­nies to complete.

Survey results provided CBI and Raab Associates with exten­sive insight into members’ overall goals, objectives and satis­faction level, as well as detailed information on more specific issues within the stakeholder process.

Among its findings, the assessment team noted that:

  • Members had a high degree of agreement regarding what the stakeholder process does well and does not;
  • Members regard the process as an excellent arena for them to express their views and understand each other’s perspectives;
  • Respondents also stated that the process is not particu­larly effective at helping stakeholders reach consensus;
  • All sectors strongly agreed that it is beneficial for issues to be vetted through the stakeholder process even when members can’t reach agreement;
  • Most members believe a more effective stakeholder pro­cess is necessary to ensure that PJM fulfills its mission of providing reliable service and competitive markets.

Upon completion of the assessment, CBI and Raab Associ­ates issued a report detailing the actions PJM should take in order to address the issues raised. PJM reviewed the report and decided to move forward to a phase two, facilitated pro­cess to optimize their stakeholder process. Phase two focuses on eight specific areas including building transparency among the Board and members; increasing clarity and expectations for participants’ roles and responsibilities; and providing sup­port for lower level standing committees.

PJM and CBI are developing a handbook and a detailed plan to implement these phase two recommendations. When implemented, the recommendations will lead to:

  • Greater efficiency in finding areas of consensus
  • More consistency within working group processes
  • Improved work planning and control of workgroup direction
  • Enhanced stakeholder education on key issue topics
  • Better informed members through improved reporting
  • Greater clarity and separation of PJM’s multiple roles in stakeholder process
  • Clearer responsibilities for all
  • Greater assurances for minority positions
  • Improved transparency between members and the Board
  • More efficient process for implementing tariff changes

In June of 2010, the PJM Members Committee received the recommendations of the Governance Assessment on improving the overall process.