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Home / News / Politics / Bass announces recommendation for new LADWP chief

Bass announces recommendation for new LADWP chief

by Staff
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Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced Friday her recommendation for the new Department of Water and Power chief executive is Janisse Quiñones, a PG&E senior vice president and Coast Guard officer.

As CEO and general manager, Quiñones’ primary task will be to lead the department through the transition toward 100% clean energy by 2035, according to the mayor’s office. Since the early 2000s Quiñones has been a senior executive managing large scale operations in the utility and engineering industries with a focus on service reliability for customers, workplace safety and improving electrical infrastructure. 

“The Department of Water and Power has made important progress toward embracing clean energy, meeting its decarbonization goals, modernizing its infrastructure to be more resilient, getting to a reliant and resilient water future and ensuring vulnerable communities have access to affordable utilities. I look forward to working with Janisse to deliver for the people of Los Angeles,” Bass said in a statement. “This is a transformational period for the Department as we make decisions that will build toward the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035 and I am confident that Janisse’s experience overseeing large scale organizational operations, improving safety outcomes for workers and restoring and reconstructing electrical systems following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico equip her to lead the department.”

Bass also thanked outgoing GM Marty Adams “for his contributions to these outcomes and decades of leadership to the people of Los Angeles.”

“I am honored to be appointed as the next General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and I look forward to getting to know the LADWP family and supporting those that work so hard to deliver for the people of Los Angeles,” Quiñones said in a statement.

“Throughout my career, I have worked to make sure that communities have access to reliable, clean, safe and sustainable utilities, and I will continue with that same dedication in this role,” she said. “I look forward to working closely with Mayor Bass, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners and the committed employees of the department as we move towards our commitment of 100% clean energy by 2035. Together, we can achieve our transformational goals and shore up our systems to fight climate change and deliver for the people of Los Angeles.”

Quiñones most recently served as senior vice president of electric operations at Pacific Gas and Electric, which is one of the largest utility companies in the nation with approximately 16 million customers in northern and central California. At PG&E, Quiñones oversaw electrical system operations, the power generation fleet and electrical equipment that supports the California Independent System Operator.

Before that, Quiñones served as senior vice president of gas engineering for PG&E and as vice president of gas systems engineering for National Grid, a multinational utility based in London. She also served as vice president of operations for Cobra Acquisitions and director of design, planning, construction & vegetation management during a nine-year stint at San Diego Gas & Electric, which she started right after exiting full-time military service.

In addition to her experience managing large-scale gas and electric companies, Quiñones also serves as a commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves as the emergency preparedness liaison officer. In 2004 Quiñones served as an engineering officer and worked in cities including Los Angeles, San Diego and San Juan, where she worked to help rebuild the energy grid in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017. 

Bass’ recommendation — which must get approval from Board of Water and Power Commissioners, then the LA City Council — garnered support from conservation and clean-energy groups.

“The Sierra Club stands ready to support bold climate action at LADWP under Quiñones’s new leadership,” Teresa Cheng, the organization’s California field manager, said in a statement. “We are in a critical moment to confront the climate crisis, and we look forward to working together to ensure we are on track to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035. We also look forward to partnering with the Department to implement clean energy solutions and water independence measures that benefit all Angelenos, especially communities who have faced the worst impacts of fossil fuel pollution and climate change.”

Sheri Givens, president and CEO of the Smart Electric Power Alliance, said in a statement, “Janisse is exactly the kind of leader LADWP deserves: she’s straightforward, thoughtful, and genuinely cares about her teams and community. Her commitment to clean energy and her ability to handle complex challenges makes her perfectly suited to lead LADWP toward LA’s ambitious clean energy goals for 2035. I can’t think of anyone better to help Los Angeles achieve a sustainable future.” 

CEO Tracy Quinn of Heal the Bay, said in a statement, “As a Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard, Ms. Quiñones learned the value of clean water. We hope to partner with her to champion equitable water efficiency programs, investments in stormwater capture and increased water recycling — all of which will reduce the bacterial and plastic pollution flowing to our beaches.”

Other groups that issued statements supporting Quiñones’ appointment were Climate Resolve, Jingoli Power and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.

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