Paul Lau named to succeed Arlen Orchard as CEO and general manager of SMUD

September 1, 2020

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
September 1, 2020

Paul Lau has been named to succeed Arlen Orchard as the CEO and general manager of California public power utility SMUD.

Lau currently serves as chief grid strategy and operations officer at SMUD and has been a member of the SMUD executive team for more than 12 years.

Lau’s appointment will be finalized at the SMUD Board of Directors’ Sept. 10 meeting. Lau would assume his new position October 3 and Orchard’s last day as CEO is October 2.

Orchard announced his retirement last fall after working at SMUD for more than 30 years.

Lau joined SMUD in 1982 as an electrical engineering student while completing his Bachelor of Science in Engineering at California State University, Sacramento and joined SMUD permanently as an assistant electrical engineer after he graduated in 1984.

Paul Lau (photo courtesy of SMUD)

Lau moves to SMUD’s top post after serving as chief grid strategy and operations officer since 2015. In that capacity, he had responsibility for SMUD’s power supply and distributed energy resources strategies, including the operating strategies of SMUD’s generation, transmission and distribution systems.

Lau has been a member of SMUD’s executive leadership team since 2008 and has held a variety of c-suite roles, including overseeing customer, technology and energy delivery.

Lau serves as Vice Chair of the Large Public Power Council Emerging Trends Task Force, on the Board of Directors of the Smart Electric Power Alliance, as a Board Member of the Electric Transportation Community Development Corporation and as an Alternate Commissioner of the Balancing Authority of Northern California.