Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Hard analysis needed of practices and technology
    Nov 01, 2012 | Phil Carson

    As the media documented the damage to the grid by Hurricane Sandy, before economic losses can be properly estimated, questions were ubiquitous and largely unanswered. Good answers will take time. What utilities do with the answers may determine our future quality of life. 

    Comments: 11
  • Sober discussion needed in wake of extreme storms
    Oct 31, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Killer storms last fall. Killer storms this spring. Killer storm this week. What w're learning about grid modernization and resiliency in the wake of extreme weather events should inform investments going forward, if hype, spin and unsubstantiated claims are subtracted.

    Comments: 4
  • NESCO: empower states, aggregate incident data, help frontline
    Oct 30, 2012 | Phil Carson

    A cyber security practitioner advocates state-level control of cyber security requirements for the distribution system, rather than a top-down federal role. Utilities should demonstrate proficiency in prevention, detection and response and the feds should stay out of it. 

  • ICC approach on cost recovery is slowing projects
    Oct 29, 2012 | David O'Brien

    A former regulator, now consulting with Commonwealth Edison in Illinois, expresses concern that Ilinois regulators are applying an inappropriate cost recovery mechanism to interest on billions of dollars in capital invested for grid modernization. 

  • NESCO: empower states, aggregate incident data, help frontline
    Oct 29, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Patrick Miller, president/CEO of EnergySec and principal investigator for its offshoot, the National Electric Sector Cybersecurity (NESCO), a public-private partnership operated by EnergySec with funding from the Department of Energy shares his views on cyber security.

  • Nimbleness helped address customer concerns
    Oct 28, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Central Maine Power had a plan: install AMI and develop customer benefits in consultation with them, while creating the basis to move forward with distribution automation and power quality monitoring. The utility ran into meter opposition that caused it to modify its messaging and communication plan. And it completed its rollout, with an opt-out option, third-party plaudits and time to look ahead again.  

  • Oct 28, 2012 | Kathleen W. Davis

    Smart grid discussions may reveal details of customer benefits and notations about the use of “big data,” the current industry trend, but they sometimes ignore the basic necessities of a smart grid: smarter equipment, analytics ability and, at the core, interoperability. Having a holistic approach to both the smart grid and its necessities, such as interop, is the advice of Avista Utility’s Curtis Kirkeby, a senior electrical engineer in charge of technology strategy with more than 30 years in the industry.

  • Readers say the darnedest things
    Oct 25, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Incoming! That's what you get when you pop off in a daily column on important utility issues. You'll get it from those who know more, those who think they know more and those who should know better. But it's bracing and we all benefit from a diversity of opinion.  

    Comments: 1
  • New consumer survey reveals gaps, best practices
    Oct 24, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Yet another consumer survey reveals low awareness of smart meters, but also effective communication practices. Customers value utility products and services, but utilities aren't communicating effectively, despite the tools and best practices at hand.  

    Comments: 3
  • Fun just might work for killing vampire waste
    Oct 23, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Portland General Electric's new series of videos aimed at residential audiences hit the perfect pitch on friendly, simple advice for home energy effiiciency and customers actually log onto PGE's site to add their two bits. It's a start.