Insights from our Editorial Team
Nimbleness helped address customer concerns
Central Maine Power had a plan: install AMI and develop customer benefits in consultation with them, while creating the basis to move forward with distribution automation and power quality monitoring. The utility ran into meter opposition that caused it to modify its messaging and communication plan. And it completed its rollout, with an opt-out option, third-party plaudits and time to look ahead again.
Smart grid discussions may reveal details of customer benefits and notations about the use of “big data,” the current industry trend, but they sometimes ignore the basic necessities of a smart grid: smarter equipment, analytics ability and, at the core, interoperability. Having a holistic approach to both the smart grid and its necessities, such as interop, is the advice of Avista Utility’s Curtis Kirkeby, a senior electrical engineer in charge of technology strategy with more than 30 years in the industry.
Readers say the darnedest things
Incoming! That's what you get when you pop off in a daily column on important utility issues. You'll get it from those who know more, those who think they know more and those who should know better. But it's bracing and we all benefit from a diversity of opinion.
New consumer survey reveals gaps, best practices
Yet another consumer survey reveals low awareness of smart meters, but also effective communication practices. Customers value utility products and services, but utilities aren't communicating effectively, despite the tools and best practices at hand.
Fun just might work for killing vampire waste
Portland General Electric's new series of videos aimed at residential audiences hit the perfect pitch on friendly, simple advice for home energy effiiciency and customers actually log onto PGE's site to add their two bits. It's a start.
SGCC study shows education increases favorability
The more consumers learn about grid modernization, the more they like it and support it. But the needle measuring consumer awareness hasn't moved in a year, despite widespread smart meter rollouts. That's good news and bad news in one.
Making lemonade out of lemons
Looking forward, digital meter rollouts are coming to fruition, leading to projections of declining sales. Looking back, the rollouts were not fully considered. Utility benefits came first and direct, tangible customer value came a distant second. Today, despite that misstep, it looks as if industry inertia has been positively affected. But the AMI mission remains far from complete.
Innovator's legacy should be a best practice
John Hoffman died this week. Don't know him? Ever heard of Energy Star? The original idea was a brilliant way to motivate the masses to achieve energy efficiency. Given utilities' marching orders to achieve EE goals, reviewing Hoffman's ideas is worthwhile.
A utility's use of data reflects its vision for value creation
While utility data can (and should) be applied to a specific case, such as revenue protection or asset management, its value to all aspects of a utility's operation and business means that its use can also enable collaboration between former silos.
Lack of cyber attack proves nothing
Federal authorities are capable of overreach and redundant demands, but the lack of a major cyber disruption of the U.S. grid cannot be taken as a reflection that the power sector has done its work well. More angles on an issue that will never go away, post-9/11.