Insights from our Editorial Team
Utility fires up Smart Grid 2.0
As we begin work on compiling the UtiliQ rankings for 2011, let's take a look back at one of last year's leading utilities. The nation's ninth-largest community-owned electric utility, Austin Energy serves 388,000 customers and a community of 900,000. Its smart grid program covers 440 miles, includes 500,000 devices and involves 100 terabytes of data.
Operational complexity not for the meekMar 22, 2011 |
Our columnist spends a nine-hour day immersed in the operational details of the grid of yesterday and has a feverish dream of being in the driver's seat, operating the grid. It's almost too much, and that's before applying smarts to the distribution system, integrating renewable energy and a whole lot more.
Readers weigh in on Marin County vs. PG&EMar 21, 2011 |
Our readers had insights into the motivation of Marin County residents battling PG&E over smart meters and solutions for the utility, which they say needs to work harder to earn its customers trust. If you work for a utility that's installing smart meters, you need to read this column.
Pilots aimed at localized, circuit peaks for capital deferment
Colorado Springs Utilities is a mid-sized, multi-service utility that is not capacity-constrained. Instead, it is focused on capital deferment of feeder and substation-related upgrades through pilots that smooth peaks on local circuits. The utility will introduce peak time pricing this summer without smart meters. To find out how, read this column.
The customer engagement challenge
The future of demand response and energy efficiency may be dependent on the quality of the interface we build between the customer, utility and the grid.
Best practices courtesy of two PUC chairmen
How can utilities gain regulatory approval for dynamic pricing programs and gain market acceptance for them? The chairmen of Michigan's and New York's public utilities commissions weigh in with their personal views. They say dynamic pricing will unlock the value of smart meters for consumers. Read more here.
Experts convene for California commission's workshop
Energy storage, the so-called holy grail of the grid, is being vigorously explored in California, which may have the most to gain. A California Public Utilities Commission workshop last week highlighted current technologies, paths to commercialization and barriers to uptake. For five things you must know about storage, click open this article.
All eyes are on Maine and California
As a general rule, misinformation spreads in a viral fashion. Accurate information isn't as sexy, and is a more difficult sell. Such is the case with the misinformation currently being spread about smart meters. With Maine and California PUCs now asking utilities for consumer opt-out options, there are potential precedents being set here, and they're dangerous ones.
Political stalemates on new generation favor efficiency
Japan's top utility must apply rolling blackouts in the wake of an earthquake and resulting tsunami that knocked out both nuclear reactors and fossil fuel plants. Our columnist suggests that grid modernization and a robust portfolio of demand response programs and energy efficiency measures may get a boost from the Japanese situation, though politicians and pundits are arguing over new investment in nuclear power.
California PUC asks PG&E for 'reasonable cost' options
The California Public Utilities Commission has directed PG&E to develop opt-out plans so those in its service territory who say they are harmed by electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) radiation have a "reasonable cost" alternative. That "reasonable cost" would be paid by those who opt out. Why do EMF complaints come only from Marin County? And will the CPUC's order create a precedent that hamstrings grid modernization?