Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Dec 06, 2012 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

    Before 2002, Texas looked like the rest of the United States—at least, as far as electricity was concerned. There were monopoly utilities, vertically constructed and vertically managed dotted across the landscape, a mirror to other geographies, whether coastal or bread basket: Back then, all utilities looked pretty much alike. But, unlike the rest of the U.S., Texas is now a self-contained competitive market that has pushed the focus horizontally out to the Texas consumer across the state. And, the tech benefits have responded to that growing market.

    Comments: 1
  • More systems integration talk, for `next time'
    Dec 05, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Americans love to point fingers, demand something for nothing and pretend they still live in the greatest nation on Earth. Alas, Hurricane Sandy's impact on Eastern utilities appears to establish a vast gap between expectations and willingness to adapt or pay. Recent coverage of the situation underscores why.

  • `Distractions' (investigations) may hamper improvements
    Dec 04, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Systems integration gets more emphasis in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, from a consultant who specializes in service restoration after major events. And if you think the storm was a doozy, wait til you consider the investigations and lawsuits now brewing. 

  • New `report' espouses mainstream ideas, but in odd company
    Dec 03, 2012 | Phil Carson

    A new paper that argues against stimulus funding for smart meters and calls for reforms that allow communities to pursue municipalization is "a day late and a dollar short." Especially as it links arms with an anti-meter effort undercut by minimal (and shrinking) opt-out rates. Good ideas, late to the party, odd company.

    Comments: 2
  • `The mantra going forward is efficiency,' says IEE's Wood
    Dec 02, 2012 | Phil Carson

    "We used to think of energy efficiency as end-user programs and that's just not the future," says Lisa Wood, executive director of IEE. "The future is optimizing the grid and managing power flows. It's about operations as much as end-user programs. So we've changed our focus to be more in tune with what's happening in the industry." 

  • Insights from the NRECA
    Nov 29, 2012 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

    Originally put in place simply to replace old books and paper maps, GIS now benefits from an operational “creep” into other systems. Once the advantages became obvious, the uses for GIS began to multiply.

    Comments: 4
  • Readers split on inevitability vs. new approach
    Nov 29, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Should we accept that major storms will take out the grid and focus on preparation, restoration and resilience? Or is a different approach merited when extreme weather is forecast to be the norm? Readers weigh in.

  • IEC 61850 allows too many vendor options, observer says
    Nov 28, 2012 | Phil Carson

    A global standard, IEC 61850, is not performing as intended. And North American utilities need to pay attention because, although they've largely taken another path to substation automation, IEC 61850 could still appear in their future.

    Comments: 2
  • Austin Energy veteran looks ahead to new paradigm
    Nov 27, 2012 | Phil Carson

    John Cooper, co-author of The Advanced Smart Grid, updates his views on grid modernization and the trend away from centralized power towards "the edge." Is Cooper onto something or is he blowing smoke?  

    Comments: 1
  • Wouldn't preventive measures be cheaper than addressing damage?
    Nov 26, 2012 | Phil Carson

    New York has appealed for federal aid to the tune of $42 billion, with $9 billion allocated for preventive measures. Does that include any utility-related monies? Or will the state's utilities line up with their own rate cases to cover repairs and preventive measures? And what would those preventive measures be?