Insights from our Editorial Team

  • 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.

  • Systems integration still a work in progress
    Apr 17, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Utilities sold regulators and public on interval meters and its underlying systems partly as a means to improve outage management. But systems integration and data mashups to get there may be delaying such benefits. An Accenture executive describes current work in this area.

    Comments: 1
  • What if engagement = revenue?
    Apr 16, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Customer service is considered a cost center and innovations in that area look to efficiencies, traditionally. But what if new metrics for satisfaction actually created value for the utility through customer involvement in revenue-related behavior? A paper explores the possibilities.

  • Industry group: monetize the balancing function
    Apr 15, 2012 | Phil Carson

    There's a natural tension between the innovations created by vendors and the constraints that bind their customers. Today we hand the floor to one element of the energy storage community: the Coalition to Advance Renewable Energy Through Bulk Storage or CAREBS. 

    Comments: 4
  • AGA/EEI Customer Service Conference serves up Texas-sized portion of information
    Apr 12, 2012 | Kate Rowland

    In Fort Worth, Texas, this week, electric and gas utility customer service executives from across the country shared experiences and learned new approaches to engaging customers. Intelligent Utility magazine editor-in-chief Kate Rowland joined them, and reports back.

  • One advocate argues that economics will drive it
    Apr 12, 2012 | Phil Carson

    As more distributed resources connect to the grid, the more the grid itself will become a secondary feature, with generation and transmission serving as a backup system, argues one advocate of distributed generation. Economics and the American devotion to self-sufficiency will drive this trend, one that utilities can lead or trail. Some are, some aren't.

  • Business models are basic; will alternatives overtake them?
    Apr 11, 2012 | Phil Carson

    If business models precede technology roadmaps, then utilities should be aware of the alternatives being pursued by groups dedicated to a paradigm of decentralized power. In the latter case, falling costs create a rising tide that can float utilities' boats or sink them.

    Comments: 6