Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Utility executives discuss the issues
    Feb 24, 2011 | Christopher Perdue

    A smarter electric grid could fundamentally change the way people pay for and manage their electricity use. Smart grid investments could help reduce demand, save money and improve reliability and efficiency. But implementing the necessary changes can be challenging. Recently, seven utility executives sat down to discuss the issues facing today's electric utilities. Intelligent Utility listened in.

  • Cyber security concerns confirmed, assumptions upended
    Feb 23, 2011 | Phil Carson

    The Stuxnet virus that targeted fuel enrichment centrifuges in Iran has underscored cyber security concerns here at home and upended some assumptions. The bottomline: compliance is easy and cheap, real security is difficult and expensive.

  • An economist and a sociologist debate electricity pricing issues
    Kate Rowland, editor-in-chief, Intelligent Utility magazine
    Feb 22, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    Billed as a "Clash of the Dynamic Pricing Titans," a debate last week at the Kellogg School of Management University Club in San Francisco certainly had some sword clashing. But, in my view, the one-trick pony ridden by the consumer advocate was soon left in the dust, with the economist emerging as a clear winner early in the hour. Utilities need a clear path to optimize power delivery and cost, not a battle of wills regarding socialization and the definition of "necessity."

    Comments: 11
  • Pecan Street focuses on customer side of meter
    Feb 21, 2011 | Phil Carson

    A smart grid project in Austin, Texas, focuses on the customer side of the meter as the means to discover what will drive grid modernization and new policies and business models that go with it. The Pecan Street Project does not expose local ratepayers to risk and it seeks to take its lessons learned and best practices to the rest of the country.

    Comments: 5
  • NARUC's accelerated agenda aimed at IOUs
    Feb 18, 2011 | Phil Carson

    If you manage an investor-owned utility or serve as a state utility commissioner, you need to read this column on the development of consumer data privacy best practices, which begins March 3. That process may very well determine how you approach the subject and yesterday isn't soon enough to tune in.

    Comments: 5
  • Feb 17, 2011 | Christopher Perdue

    Our readers make the important point that each utility has unique attributes that need to be understood in order to have useful systems. For an OMS to provide the highest amount of value, utilities must have an accurate operational model and an appropriate input from field resources about the information they need to do their job. Moreover, utilities should be prepared for the OMS integration with AMI and other smart grid solutions by having a solid integration/response plan and understanding of what the responsibility of each solution/individual involved.

    Comments: 1
  • The National Action Plan and the PowerCentsDC program
    Feb 17, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Early stakeholder collaboration in smart grid-related projects isn't a pipe dream, it's described in a new case study by the National Action Plan (NAP) Coalition. We explore the rationale for this sort of approach and examine the NAP Coalition's case study approach, designed to allow readers to extract lessons learned and best practices.

  • A conversation with Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's privacy commissioner
    Feb 16, 2011 | Phil Carson

    A data privacy advocate suggests the utility industry think in terms of "custody and control" of consumer data, rather than "ownership." Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's information and privacy commissioner, suggests that getting data privacy right lays the foundation for trust and consumer involvement.

  • A conversation with Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's privacy commissioner
    Feb 15, 2011 | Phil Carson

    A fundamental human quality such as trust may well figure into the success of grid modernization efforts. One advocate argues that utilities had better embed data privacy into their systems now or risk losing their customers' trust. A two-part conversation with Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's commissioner of information and privacy, explores the topic.

  • Colorado PUC finally explains rationale
    Feb 14, 2011 | Phil Carson

    The Colorado Public Utility Commission finally issued its written rationale for capping cost recovery for Xcel Energy's SmartGridCity project. The commission rejected all third-party objections, offered its own logic and imposed requirements on Xcel that our columnist argues should have been imposed from the start. In the end, consumers may still be on the hook for the project's cost overruns.