Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Colorado regulators: show us the value
    May 19, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Since the Colorado Public Utilities Commission capped cost recovery for Xcel Energy's SmartGridCity in late winter, the utility has argued that the project's potential value merits total, immediate cost recovery. The commission disagreed and insisted that ratepayer value be established prior to full cost recovery. Details here.

    Comments: 4
  • IDC: Distribution system upgrades underscore security needs
    May 18, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Cyber security remains a threat and utilities are challenged to address the vulnerabilities of their specific systems. Converting to digital technologies and upgrading the distribution system provide vulernabilities laden with regulatory uncertainties, but a webcast yesterday provided a refresher on the priorities and steps to achieve them.

  • NRECA releases open-source toolkit for utilities
    May 17, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    It's time for utilities to take the lead in the cyber security effort. NRECA's off on the right foot, and willing to share. Kate Rowland takes a look at the association's efforts, and reports as well on the Edison Electric Institute's thoughts on government-industry communication on the topic.

    Comments: 2
  • Xcel challenges Colorado PUC decision, loses
    May 17, 2011 | Phil Carson

    We last reported on Xcel Energy's SmartGridCity in Boulder in February, when the Colorado Public Utilities Commission rendered a written version of its decision to limit cost recovery for the project. But when $16 million hangs in the balance, as it does here, one might have expected more action in the case. Here we provide a synopsis of what's transpired.

  • Edison Electric Institute says yes
    Kate Rowland, editor-in-chief, Intelligent Utility magazine
    May 17, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    There's synchronicity afoot in the electric utility cyber security space. Over the course of the past week, many in the industry opted to disagree with Senator Richard Burr's smart grid technology comments. (Burr has, coincidentally, since resigned from the Senate Energy Committee in order to accept a much-sought-after appointment on the Senate Finance Committee.) Instead, we're looking to the positive. Here, I share Edison Electric Institute's David Owens' thoughts on the matter. Read on for his take on industry-government cyber security best practices.

  • Threats and opportunities abound in three simple points
    May 15, 2011 | Phil Carson

    That elusive animal, the consumer, has three qualities you must understand to guide your utility into the future. Here are resources and discussions relevant to those three qualities.

    Comments: 4
  • Readers offer expert insights on storage applications, costs
    May 13, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Energy storage: the notion is simple, the implementation is complicated. Various technologies work, but their value is highly application- and location-specific. We've illuminated several angles to how energy storage is applied and evaluated for cost effectiveness. But expert readers with direct utility experience offered their insights on the complexities, too. We offer their remarks in this column.

    Comments: 1
  • Sempra Energy, Consumers Energy and Snohomish County PUD share best practices
    May 12, 2011 | Christopher Perdue

    Christopher Perdue examines how three utilities are using data visualization to monitor real-time power system data to expose patterns, trends and correlations. 

  • Report details CIO skepticism that their utility is well prepared
    May 12, 2011 | Phil Carson

    A recent, global survey of IT executives found that cyber security threats are on the rise, while minimal progress has been made in terms of utility readiness for a cyber attack. Is this just security vendor spin or does this reflect a sobering reality? Read this column and decide for yourself.

    Comments: 1
  • Bonneville Power provides balancing services for wind
    May 11, 2011 | John R. Johnson

    The onset of increased wind penetration has driven utilities to provide a balancing act to account for wind energy's variable nature. The Bonneville Power Administration has to do this balancing act on a massive scale. Here's how BPA does it.

    Comments: 2