Insights from our Editorial Team
Reviving cell phone hazards may go viral
Two unrelated news events call for attention, in that they are likely to reverberate in the utility world. The World Health Organization just concluded that cell phones are "possibly carcinogenic." And Xcel Energy has offered to make Boulder, Colo., the "most green" city in the world by 2020. Both events are likely to spark debates; the first about smart meter opt-out policies, the second about the biggest carrot that a city is likely ever to see.
Utility files its smart grid deployment plan to 2020 with CPUC
Yesterday, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) filed its Smart Grid Deployment Plan (2011-2020) with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). It's by no means light reading -- the application and supporting documents total 407 pages -- but its scope provides an excellent planning document for other electric utilities road mapping their own smart grid deployments. Kate Rowland looks at what this means for demand response and energy efficiency opportunities within the utility in the next decade.
Consumer counsel opposes maneuver to escape PUC's cap
Xcel Energy continues to argue for greater cost recovery for SmartGridCity in Boulder, Colo., in motions filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, despite repeated rulings by regulators. Colorado's Office of Consumer Counsel has objected, arguing that Xcel has exhausted its procedural options and reminding regulators of their "hard" cost cap in this case.
TVA's new 'demand charge' calls for 'solution on a shoestring'
Nashville Electric Service has begun paying a demand charge for the aggregate peak demand of its residential customers after a change in policy by its supplier, the Tennessee Valley Authority. To ensure stable rates to those customers and maintain financial stability, Nashville Electric is implementing voltage conservation measures. Read this column to discover how this solution answers Nashville's challenge.
Oncor, CenterPoint echo lessons learned from implementation
Three major utilities share lessons learned in the deployment of meter data management systems. Baltimore Gas & Electric, Oncor Electric Delivery and CenterPoint Energy shared insights into managing million-plus interval meter deployments and the impacts across systems and business processes during a one-hour webcast yesterday. We provide a synopsis and links to the webcast replay and slide deck.
Deloitte: $$ drive new diligence
As utilities look for ways to engage their customers with new products and services, a new study from Deloitte suggests they may find an eager audience. But there is still a lot of customer education that will be needed to supplement these new offerings.
New U.S. policy elevates security issues
Cyber security headlines yesterday noted that the United States now considers cyber attacks the equivalent to an act of war. The electric utility industry should feel a similar urgency. After all, the first impact of a cyber attack will be service disruption, which impacts the bottom line.
How does your utility fit into the national picture?
"Customer engagement" is one of the electric utility industry's new mantras and we offer readers a chance to find out where their utilitty sits within the industry on this vital matter. Take a survey while remaining anonymous and we'll send you the results when it's completed.
Great strides and a few grand missteps
After all the hot air and hand-wringing over the U.S. government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, where does the smart grid stand? Two executives gave a frank assessment during last week's ConnectivityWeek. In one perspective, it's how well the purpose of these projects is communicated.
Cost and benefit estimates range widely, invite questions
The Electric Power Research Institute has estimated aggregate smart grid costs over the next two decades as reaching somewhere between $340 and $480 billion, with benefits in the range of $1.3 trillion to $2 trillion. One reader suggests that those estimates may rely on an overblown sense of the annual cost of power outages, often cited in the $80 billion range.