Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Deloitte: $$ drive new diligence
    Jun 02, 2011 | Christopher Perdue

    As utilities look for ways to engage their customers with new products and services, a new study from Deloitte suggests they may find an eager audience. But there is still a lot of customer education that will be needed to supplement these new offerings.

    Comments: 1
  • New U.S. policy elevates security issues
    Jun 02, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Cyber security headlines yesterday noted that the United States now considers cyber attacks the equivalent to an act of war. The electric utility industry should feel a similar urgency. After all, the first impact of a cyber attack will be service disruption, which impacts the bottom line.

  • How does your utility fit into the national picture?
    Jun 01, 2011 | Phil Carson

    "Customer engagement" is one of the electric utility industry's new mantras and we offer readers a chance to find out where their utilitty sits within the industry on this vital matter. Take a survey while remaining anonymous and we'll send you the results when it's completed.

  • Great strides and a few grand missteps
    May 31, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    After all the hot air and hand-wringing over the U.S. government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, where does the smart grid stand? Two executives gave a frank assessment during last week's ConnectivityWeek. In one perspective, it's how well the purpose of these projects is communicated.

    Comments: 2
  • Cost and benefit estimates range widely, invite questions
    May 31, 2011 | Phil Carson

    The Electric Power Research Institute has estimated aggregate smart grid costs over the next two decades as reaching somewhere between $340 and $480 billion, with benefits in the range of $1.3 trillion to $2 trillion. One reader suggests that those estimates may rely on an overblown sense of the annual cost of power outages, often cited in the $80 billion range.

    Comments: 3
  • Reader insights on consumer-related columns
    May 27, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Readers who are directly involved in electricity consumer-related issues lent their insights to a week's worth of columns focused on end-users. They identified threats and opportunities for utilities. There's real value here. Read this column!

    Comments: 1
  • Yet less than half of utilities are preparing their customers
    May 26, 2011 | Phil Carson

    In a new survey, utility executives say customer buy-in is critical to support for grid modernization efforts and costs, yet a fraction are currently involved in customer engagement. The survey paints a complex portrait and executives remain committed to their traditional priorities. But a sense of urgency in building customer support appears to be lacking.

    Comments: 4
  • Strong return on investment, but tough sell?
    May 25, 2011 | Phil Carson

    EPRI estimates of the cost-benefit ratio on smart grid to be 3x to 5x over the next 20 years. The investment of billions of dollars makes sense to commercial/industrial customers who understand the relationship of improved power quality and reliability to their bottom line. The value proposition to residential customers is more diffuse and long-term value propositions are notoriously difficult to sell to consumers. For data and the upshots from an EPRI conference call on these topics and more, read this column.

    Comments: 4
  • Transforming the energy ecosystem, one cross-cultural conversation at a time
    Kate Rowland, editor-in-chief, Intelligent Utility magazine
    May 24, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    An all-day consumer symposium yesterday at ConnectivityWeek brought industry stakeholders from across the board together to discuss hot-button consumer-facing topics, and took the first steps towards coming up with consumer-friendly solutions. Panelists didn`t just talk, they joined roundtable breakout sessions between panels, where each and every participant worked collaboratively to identify potential steps forward.

  • Younger users less informed, more willing to change
    May 24, 2011 | Phil Carson

    A new survey provides insight into the motivations that might drive a change in American energy consumption habits. At the top of the list: jobs and energy independence for economic and energy security. Way down the list: environmental concerns. Behind the motivations, the driver is the recession.

    Comments: 3