Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Naperville and its 'Customer Bill of Rights'
    Mar 31, 2011 | Phil Carson

    How can a modestly sized municipal utility navigate the myriad challenges of grid modernization and customer outreach and privacy with a realistic business case? To find out how one city succeeded, read this column.

    Comments: 2
  • Public power group lighting way for members
    Mar 29, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Municipal utilities must resolve the implications of their local open records laws, consumer privacy laws and even state constitutions in order to craft their own approach to customer energy data privacy policies. For insight into the process and the complexities, read this column.

    Comments: 1
  • Family vacation offers new learning experience
    Condor training at San Diego Zoo includes power line aversion
    Mar 29, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    A vacation visit to one of California's most celebrated zoos raises the issue of energy efficiency and a whole lot more. For columnist Kate Rowland, it was an interesting day, and spawned further zoo/energy research.

    Comments: 3
  • WIRES group touts 'smart transmission'
    Mar 29, 2011 | Phil Carson

    A column that questioned whether high-voltage, long-distance transmission lines really are smart investments (versus more localized, supply-and-demand strategies) brought a response: a 30-page white paper by the Working group for Investment in Reliable and Economic electric Systems (WIRES). A few points from the report are given here, with more to come.

    Comments: 2
  • PG&E sends plan to California commission
    Mar 28, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Last week, PG&E proposed an opt-out plan for residential customers in its central and northern California service territory who wish to refuse smart meters that wirelessly transmit energy use data. The issue now resides with the California Public Utility Commission, which will rule on the proposal in one of the most-scrutinized decisions of the year. If your utility is deploying smart meters, you need to read this column.

    Comments: 3
  • Readers suggest factors that will shape future
    Mar 25, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Can the United States continue to build out its generation, transmission and distribution systems as in the days of old? Or will the cost and acceptance of new technology segue the nation's grid into something that looks far different than today? To hear what readers have to say on these big questions, read this column.

    Comments: 4
  • Big transmission = big problems
    Mar 24, 2011 | Phil Carson

    A nationally connected grid isn't necessarily smart or secure or reliable. Keeping the least distance between generation and load lends itself to a more diverse, resilient, modern grid. That's not so much about IT and communications networks and sensors, but it sure is "smart grid" thinking.

    Comments: 4
  • IDC outlines drivers and targets for spending
    Mar 23, 2011 | Phil Carson

    IT spending at North American utilities is expected to rise this year, slightly above IT spending levels for all industries, according to a recent analysis by IDC. Find out why.

  • Utility fires up Smart Grid 2.0
    Kate Rowland, editor-in-chief, Intelligent Utility magazine
    Mar 22, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    As we begin work on compiling the UtiliQ rankings for 2011, let's take a look back at one of last year's leading utilities. The nation's ninth-largest community-owned electric utility, Austin Energy serves 388,000 customers and a community of 900,000. Its smart grid program covers 440 miles, includes 500,000 devices and involves 100 terabytes of data.

  • Operational complexity not for the meek
    Mar 22, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Our columnist spends a nine-hour day immersed in the operational details of the grid of yesterday and has a feverish dream of being in the driver's seat, operating the grid. It's almost too much, and that's before applying smarts to the distribution system, integrating renewable energy and a whole lot more.