Insights from our Editorial Team
Boulderites lash city council, Xcel Energy
The ratepayers of Boulder, Colo., aren't sure they trust their city council or Xcel Energy or other players in the municipalization drama unfolding in this college town of 100,000. Letters to the editor of the local paper reveal many strands in that drama, with implications for large, investor-owned utilities concerned about customer satisfaction and possible defections from their customer base.
Former partners head to showdown over 'municipalization'
Boulder, Colo., seeks energy self-determination and a speedier shift to renewable energy than its current provider, Xcel Energy, is offering. And Xcel disputes that the latter assertion is possible. Here's a chronology of recent events in Boulder's efforts to explore municipalization, which could cost Xcel as much as $100 million in annual revenue.
Commission's docket reflects disparate views
A docket on consumer data privacy opened by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio reflects disparate views of privacy's importance and urgency. Our columnist argues that vigorous privacy practices should be embraced now.
AMI not necessary for outage management
The story of Snohomish County Public Utility District's path to smart grid technology implementation continues here, with a discussion with Chris Heimgartner, SNOPUD's assistant general manager, distribution and engineering services. Sometimes, AMI isn't the first-response answer, or the best answer, for a particular utility's customer needs.
PG&E, SCE and SDG&E band together to meet state mandates
California's three large investor-owned utilities have joined together to propose a five-year partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to tackle the biggest challenges presented by the state's regulators, and recover the program's $150 million costs from ratepayers.
Central Vermont Public Service tackles AMI, automation, dynamic pricing
A small utility pursuing big goals finds that formal processes for external outreach and transparency coupled with internal change management can help employees succeed with their "day job" as well as a raft of smart grid-related projects. To learn what Central Vermont Public Service is doing to pull off this feat, read this column.
City wants own utility, Xcel says city will pay dearly
The "smarts" in smart grid will spread beyond the utility and, in the case of Boulder, Colo., the city is considering breaking away from Xcel Energy and forming its own muncipal utility. Can Boulder afford to go it alone and move faster on renewable energy than Xcel's ambitious schedule?
McKinsey report touts benefits
Energy Central's Christopher Perdue examines the importance of data management and analytics, especially given the proliferation of data that often results from utility smart grid investments.
IEE report agrees that utility benefits first
A report on smart meter value by the Institute for Electric Efficiency largely agrees that utilities benefit first from smart meters and smart grids, though benefits for consumers will come with time.
Utility drivers need translation to consumers
The logic of consumer benefits from the smart grid or smart meters flows from the benefits these technologies offer first to the utility. So how to articulate and communicate smart grid benefits to consumers is primarily based on the diffuse notion of more efficient, less-polluting utility operations. When utilities institute dynamic pricing and introduce pain points, consumers will see the benefit of energy use feedback and strategies for avoiding spiking bills. No wonder communicating with consumers is much-discussed.