Insights from our Editorial Team

  • 'New' ideas and their upshots for utilities, explained
    Apr 29, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Advancements by utilities, documented in these pages, raise bigger questions than the tactical applications they're designed to address. From energy storage to energy advisors, from microgrids to customers, nothing utilities do occurs in a vacuum. Even regulated monopolies face competition, directly or indirectly, from ideas to rivals for  their customers' attention.

    Comments: 4
  • FERC's Wellinghoff discusses, and Minnesota co-op announces big project
    Attaching value to demand response and demand-side management
    Apr 26, 2012 | Kate Rowland

    Two different conversations today -- one held by FERC Chairman John Wellinghoff, and another led by Minnesota-based cooperative Great River Energy -- coalesced to point to the increasing importance of demand response and demand-side management to electric utilities in today's environment.

    Comments: 1
  • Readers keep us honest on bold assertions
    Apr 26, 2012 | Phil Carson

    We slung around a few "big bold new ideas" this week and then huddled behind sand bags as "incoming" whistled over our heads. Thanks, dear readers, and enjoy this slice of your fellow readers' reactions.

    Comments: 1
  • SMUD study promises answers to today's questions
    Apr 25, 2012 | Phil Carson

    If given real-time energy use data, customers will save energy. Different types of information may lead to different behaviors. Depending on your utility's needs and strategy, you may find this SMUD study valuable. While it answers some questions, others remain to be resolved.

    Comments: 1
  • Boulder effort moves forward, as do others
    Apr 24, 2012 | Phil Carson

    The upcoming battle between Boulder, Colo. and its incumbent service provider, Xcel Energy, has all the ingredients for a big screen thriller, except the white hats and black hats. Boulder wants control of its destiny, Xcel wants to protect its business. The two sides are inching towards conflict.

    Comments: 2
  • Recent coverage of 'big ideas' in this space
    Apr 23, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Danger! The power industry is awash in big  ideas and bold new thinking. We've featured a half-dozen or more big ideas in the past week. Have you considered them? Discussed them with colleagues? Or should the industry simply build more coal-fired power plants to ride into the future?

    Comments: 9
  • Researcher says focus on in-home devices is misplaced
    Apr 22, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Customers' energy data feedback can lead to behavioral changes, regardless of the device used to convey that data. Persistent behavioral changes, however, will require help from automated, programmable appliances in the home. One researcher had regulators' ears recently and delivered these and other research-based insights.

    Comments: 5
  • Oncor shares its measurable steps
    Apr 19, 2012 | Kate Rowland

    Outage management and outage communication are essential to a good utility-customer relationship. At the AGA/EEI Customer Service Conference last week, Oncor told the story of how it shifted from a traditional utility mindset to a re-energized, customer-focused company, particularly where it concerned outage communications.

    Comments: 1
  • Who will claim a relationship with energy consumers?
    Apr 19, 2012 | Phil Carson

    From the falling price of rooftop solar photovoltaics to gas-fired microturbines for commercial/industrial concerns, technologies and service companies may grab the brass ring before utilities manage to cement a relationship with their long-time ratepayers.

  • Rocky Mountain Institute partners with utilities for the future
    Apr 18, 2012 | Phil Carson

    The power industry needs big  ideas and an open mind. The Rocky Mountain Institute has ideas and rigorous modeling to support them. Could the two parties cooperate? They already are.