Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Former partners head to showdown over 'municipalization'
    Aug 04, 2011 | Phil Carson

    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.

    Comments: 5
  • Commission's docket reflects disparate views
    Aug 03, 2011 | Phil Carson

    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. 

    Comments: 1
  • AMI not necessary for outage management
    Aug 02, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    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.

    Comments: 4
  • PG&E, SCE and SDG&E band together to meet state mandates
    Aug 02, 2011 | Phil Carson

    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
    Jul 31, 2011 | Phil Carson

    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
    Jul 29, 2011 | Phil Carson

    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?

    Comments: 4
  • McKinsey report touts benefits
    Jul 28, 2011 | Christopher Perdue

    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. 

    Comments: 2
  • IEE report agrees that utility benefits first
    Jul 28, 2011 | Phil Carson

    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.

    Comments: 1
  • Utility drivers need translation to consumers
    Jul 27, 2011 | Phil Carson

    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.

    Comments: 4
  • Electric utilities explore the hybrid route
    Jul 26, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    "One size fits all" is definitely not the case when it comes to utility communications planning. From broadband over power line and microwave to WiFi, WiMAX or cellular, many electric utilities are using a hybrid approach to smart grid communications networks. Three utility executives discuss their plans here.