Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Public-private partnerships touted as model
    Jun 24, 2011 | Ken Silverstein

    The Obama Administration, technology investors and our columnist tout the efficacy of public-private partnerships as cost-effective means to spark innovations that will fuel economic growth. Our columnist argues that a heavy hand in budget cutting could imperil these efforts.

  • Demand may be rising, due to storms and aesthetics
    Jun 23, 2011 | Ken Silverstein

    Storm-ravaged utilities, particularly in the Southeast, increasingly are placing new transmission lines underground. Aesthetics, too, are driving "undergrounding." Costs remain multiples of overhead lines. And serving underground lines is difficult, costly and time-consuming. Read this column for examples of projects that are proceeding.

    Comments: 2
  • Customer service is going mobile
    Jun 22, 2011 | Christopher Perdue

    In today's market, customers expect their service providers to communicate through a variety of channels, according to their individual preferences. When a utility can provide choices in how and when customers can interact with it, that can build a better relationship with the customer.

    Given the prevalence of smartphones, it has surprised to me that most utilities have not exploited this channel to allow customers to pay their bills and manage their accounts. A recent announcement from TXU Energy may signal that this is changing.

  • New association focuses on advocacy and education
    Kate Rowland, editor-in-chief, Intelligent Utility magazine
    Jun 21, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    Over the past year, smart meters have been both exalted and reviled by electricity consumers. From coast to coast, electric utilities' smart meter deployments have received mixed responses from state regulators, public utility commissions and consumers alike. Last week's announcement of the newly formed the Smart Meter Manufacturers' Association of America offers the industry a cohesive smart meter advocacy and education group, as president Dave Elve explains here.

    Comments: 1
  • EPRI expert offers guidance on issues, how to proceed
    Jun 21, 2011 | Phil Carson

    The process of thinking through and implementing cyber security can be daunting. In this column, the third in a series, we interview Annabelle Lee, technical executive at EPRI, on how to approach the topic and concrete steps that can lead to solutions. If you own, operate or serve an electric utility, you need to read this article.

  • EPRI expert offers guidance on issues, how to proceed
    Jun 20, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Today we're delving into the Stuxnet virus as proof that control systems are vulnerable, the differences in securing IT systems and control systems and the shift in mindset that needs to accompany the shift from an analog, electro-mechanical world to a digital, ICT-based world.

  • EPRI expert offers guidance on issues, how to proceed
    Jun 17, 2011 | Phil Carson

    In the first installment of a three-part series, Annabelle Lee, a technical executive with the Electric Power Research Institute, demystifies effective approaches to cyber security. Lee formerly worked for the National Insitute of Standards and Technology, where she led the process that created NISTIR 7628, "Guidelines for Smart Grid Cyber Security." In this column, Lee addresses how to approach the topic and achieve effective security. If you own, operate or serve an electric utility, you need to read this series.

  • The smart grid and other developments mean a major change for distribution operators
    Jun 16, 2011 | Christopher Perdue

    New developments such as utility smart grid investments, the advent of electric vehicles, more distributed generation, the aging of utility infrastructures, more demand response and higher capacity of intermittent generation on the grid means a major change in the way distribution operators manage the system.

  • Voltage conservation, smart meters and EMF, industrial customer demands
    Jun 16, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Three issues drew our readers' passionate responses this past week: How much of the grid's cost should industrial customers pay? Will health concerns over cell phones give smart meter opponents more ammunition? And is a utility using voltage conservation risking brown-outs and damage to end-user equipment? Plus the Quote of the Day. Read on!

    Comments: 1
  • NERC CIP forms foundation, but more needed
    Kate Rowland, editor-in-chief, Intelligent Utility magazine
    Jun 15, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    Cyber security discussions ongoing in the United States Congress would benefit from the clear identification of issues in Monday's release of a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Kate Rowland spoke to a co-author of the report.