CMUA President's Message

Seizing the Moment in Changing Times

By Arlen Orchard, CMUA President

It's more evident than ever that our industry is in a state of accelerating change that touches every part of how we do business. During the past year alone, California set a statutory goal toward a 100% zero-carbon energy portfolio statewide by 2045, and also adopted conservation and efficiency standards that will alter how water is managed in both urban cities and agricultural communities. We truly have entered a new era, and more transformative moves are likely on the way.

These changes, which I call the “three Ds” — decarbonization, decentralization and digitization — are driven by technological advancements, the evolving needs and preferences of our customers, and a number of major policy shifts. Thankfully, the public power utilities and community water agencies that collectively make up CMUA’s membership are well positioned to be a central player and leading force in these important conversations for years to come.

Why is that? One big reason is CMUA and its members have wisely seized the moment to become stronger and more proactive in addressing key legislative and regulatory challenges and opportunities. Together, our membership’s common interest is to provide value to the communities we serve, with the shared recognition that our influence is magnified when we speak with one voice on policy matters. Together, we are focused on building relationships and getting out ahead of emerging policy issues.

For all of us, together, it’s an exciting time to be an active participant in shaping California’s water and energy future. Whether it’s supporting the growth of clean energy and electric vehicles or developing new sources of clean water and expanding water storage, CMUA members have an important role to play in nearly all of it. Clearly, California is on the leading edge of innovation, both nationwide and around the globe. There’s no doubt our utilities and water agencies are helping drive progress forward.

The world is changing profoundly in many ways, but through it all CMUA’s guiding star will stay the same – to protect and reinforce the principles that enable our member agencies to provide reliabile, affordable and sustainable service, along with local and regional benefits to the communities we serve.

As CMUA’s president, my priorities are to ensure CMUA has the necessary resources to meet our membership’s expectations, to continue building CMUA’s value for its existing members, and to grow the ranks of new Members and Associate Members. We have made great strides toward these goals, and we are poised for great success in 2019 and beyond.

Arlen Orchard is CEO and General Manager of SMUD.