Insights from our Editorial Team
As utilities ramp up spending on technologies designed to protect the power distribution system and make the electric grid more intelligent, the emphasis on security continues to grow. Thought leadership sponsored by Intel.
Both approaches reveal serious shortcomings
Addressing cyber security for the power sector drives many conversations: mandates versus voluntary programs, IT versus industrial control systems, technology versus people, the list goes on. We reprise some of the logic to these apparent dichotomies and provide further reading.
Homeland security calls for `best practices'
On 9/11, the secretary of Homeland Security states that cyber security is "the most threatening risk we have." Much has changed in 11 years, but not as much as you'd think. We discuss the cyber security issues that can be touched on publicly, which focus on "how to think about cyber security." And we provide resources to in-depth discussions of same.
If "customer" implies choice, there's a ways to go
Playing nice when you need something doesn't build trust or turn "ratepayers" into "customers." Choices and the empowerment to make them are the basis for the new utility-customer relationship. Otherwise, the change in terminology is without merit.
No one-size-fits-all solution here
Just as we all have different-sized feet, utilities of different sizes and different geographic issues need different network communications solutions to fit individual needs. For a long time, the debate - and it was a debate - between the use of WiFi or broadband and public or private communications networks seemed to be more about trying to find a one-size-fits-all solution, rather than a variety of solution, rather than a variety of solutions (sometimes used within the same utility) in which everyone wins.
Now, not so much.
Two takes on last week's "Five Grid Issues"
Are fossil fuel emissions really a bad thing or much ado about nothing? Are smarter grids more resilient or is that just industry hooey? Is our columnist a "zealot" or just another misinformed stooge? Two readers take different tacks.
Power retailing is a rough-and-tumble business
A new report on best practices in data analytics reveals how a Texas retailer prioritizes customer retention efforts and maximizes resources. These practices also help raise the bar for the overall customer experience. Internally, cross-functional teams help demolish silos.
Utility's smart meter learnings inspire new approach
PG&E is applying hard-won lessons in customer engagement to ensure that small- and medium-sized business customers are prepared for state-mandated dynamic pricing progams taking effect this November. The utility used interval meter data to identify which customers would be adversely affected and ensured they had full information on the program and guidance on how to mitigate impacts.
Metering informs customers, operations, capital planning
Data analytics are improving the meter-to-cash cycle, reliability and storm preparedness at United Illuminating in Orange, Conn. A conversation with UI's managers reveals how and why.
What we should be talking about, now
Utilities are admirably going about the business of modernizing the grid, reaching out to customers and adapt their businesses to shifting paradigms. But five issues may present radical challenges and rarely get discussed. Buckle up.