Paul Lau, who previously served as SMUD’s Chief Grid Strategy & Operations Officer, was named Chief Executive Officer & General Manager in October 2020. He reports to the SMUD Board of Directors. As CEO, he leads the sixth largest community-owned electric utility in the nation serving a population of 1.5 million residents and managing a $1.7 billion budget.
As Chief Grid Strategy & Operations Officer, Mr. Lau was responsible for the operations of SMUD’s power markets, transmission, and distribution grids, including the Balancing Authority of Northern California, the development of a holistic smart grid strategy, and SMUD’s research and development programs. In this role, he served as executive sponsor for SMUD’s deployment of advanced metering infrastructure and smart grid initiatives.
A 40-year SMUD veteran, Mr. Lau has held several other executive leadership positions, including Assistant General Manager of Power Supply & Grid Operations and Assistant General Manager of Customer, Distribution & Technology.
Mr. Lau serves on the boards of the Large Public Power Council, American Public Power Association, California Municipal Utilities Association, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Smart Electric Power Alliance, Electric Transportation Community Development Corporation, and the California Mobility Center and as a Commissioner of the Balancing Authority of Northern California. He serves on the boards of a number of Sacramento-area community organizations, including the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, Greater Sacramento Economic Council, and Valley Vision. He serves as Director-at-Large and is Past Chair of the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
Active in international energy issues, Mr. Lau serves as a delegate with the United States Energy Association, where he has helped with electrification, operations, and demand-side management in countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Jordan.
A registered professional electrical engineer in the state of California, Mr. Lau received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Power Engineering from California State University, Sacramento. He also is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum.