Martin J. Blake
The members of The Prime Group are sad to report that Marty Blake passed away on the evening of October 6th after losing his fight with cancer. Marty was not only a colleague and co-worker, he was a long-time friend. Marty was one of the founding partners of the Prime Group, which was formed in 1996. Most of us here at the Prime Group have worked with Marty for years and will miss him dearly.
Dr. Martin Blake was a Principal of The Prime Group and served as a rate consultant, cost of service expert and strategic planning facilitator for Prime Group clients. He also tought training classes and presented workshops on a variety of electric and gas utility industry topics. Dr. Blake testified on numerous occasions as an expert witness before federal and state regulators.
Prior to joining The Prime Group, Marty Blake worked for Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E) where he was responsible for all utility marketing programs for electricity and natural gas, utility strategic planning, and all matters regarding state and federal regulation, including the development of rates and tariffs. In this capacity, he frequently testified in both state and federal regulatory proceedings.
His accomplishments in the regulatory area at LG&E included preparing and filing one of the first Comparable Transmission Tariffs with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in August, 1994. He was the principal witness and was LG&E's chief negotiator in reaching a settlement with FERC Staff. This was the first comparable transmission tariff settlement that was approved by FERC. He was Chairman of LG&E’s Clean Air Task Force that was responsible for developing the strategy to comply with and take advantage of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. He led the effort that resulted in the company receiving permission from FERC to charge market-based rates for its firm and non-firm bulk power in exchange for granting other utilities open access to its transmission system. He prepared the market power analysis and was LG&E’s witness in this case. LG&E was the second utility to obtain approval to charge market-based rates. He also negotiated with intervenors an agreement that defined a set of demand side management (DSM) and energy conservation programs, including related cost recovery mechanisms, and was elected Chairman of the DSM Collaborative that was established to provide oversight for these programs. He was the principal witness in obtaining approval for these programs.
Under his leadership, the electricity and natural gas marketing programs at LG&E were judged as best-in-class in a management audit conducted by the Kentucky Public Service Commission. He was a member of the off-system sales team that formulated and implemented the utility’s off-system sales strategy and met monthly to assess target markets and establish wholesale pricing guidelines. He has served on the Interregional Transmission Coordination Forum, the General Agreement on Parallel Paths, and the group developing the Midwest ISO. He is a nationally known speaker on utility industry competition and regulatory issues.
After leaving LG&E, Dr. Blake assisted utility clients in developing strategic plans, conducting individual customer profitability analyses, developing marketing programs and in developing menus of pricing options for customers to better prepare utilities for a more competitive environment. Dr. Blake testified before several state regulatory commissions regarding strategic marketing, rate and planning issues. He also conducted numerous marketing and sales training courses.
He served a four-year term as Commissioner and Chairman of the New Mexico Public Service Commission. In this capacity he made policy and adjudicatory decisions regarding rates, terms of service, financing, certificates of public convenience and necessity and complaints for electric, gas, water, and sewer utilities. He served as Chairman of the Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners Electric Committee and as Chairman of the Committee on Regional Electric Power Cooperation.
He was a Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at New Mexico State University and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Louisville. For the last thirteen years, he has been an instructor teaching ratemaking for electric utilities at the NARUC Annual Regulatory Studies Program at Michigan State University. He has won numerous teaching awards. He has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics form the University of Missouri, a Master of Arts in Economics for the University of Missouri and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Illinois Benedictine College.