Regulatory & Legal

  • We can't escape the connections, but we can act

    Jan 09, 2013 | Phil Carson

    The power sector needs leaders to articulate the critical nature of infrastructure investment, stripped of the "smart grid" hype. Turn off the TV if you want to understand that our economic future and lifestyle is at risk if we don't ante up.

  • More systems integration talk, for `next time'

    Dec 05, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Americans love to point fingers, demand something for nothing and pretend they still live in the greatest nation on Earth. Alas, Hurricane Sandy's impact on Eastern utilities appears to establish a vast gap between expectations and willingness to adapt or pay. Recent coverage of the situation underscores why.

  • + WH talks CS of the future
  • Brazil’s meter regulations indicate smart grid market potential
  • Association's focus remains awareness, education

    Nov 05, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Terry Jarrett, utility regulator in Missouri, also chairs the NARUC Committee on Critical Infrastructure, which plays a key role in cyber security education for regulators and their regulated utilities. Jarrett says that keeping cyber security on state regulators' minds remains a challenge. 

  • Energy consulting and testing & certification company DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability was hired by Netbeheer Nederland - the Association of Energy Network Operators in the Netherlands - to study smart grid demonstration projects around the world, with a focus on technical, policy, regulatory and social aspects.
  • Association's focus remains awareness, education

    Nov 04, 2012 | Phil Carson

    In an extensive Q&A, Terry Jarrett, who chairs the critical infrastructure committee at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, says that knowledge and training are the primary resources needed by state regulators.  

  • NESCO: empower states, aggregate incident data, help frontline

    Oct 30, 2012 | Phil Carson

    A cyber security practitioner advocates state-level control of cyber security requirements for the distribution system, rather than a top-down federal role. Utilities should demonstrate proficiency in prevention, detection and response and the feds should stay out of it. 

  • NESCO: empower states, aggregate incident data, help frontline

    Oct 29, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Patrick Miller, president/CEO of EnergySec and principal investigator for its offshoot, the National Electric Sector Cybersecurity (NESCO), a public-private partnership operated by EnergySec with funding from the Department of Energy shares his views on cyber security.

  • ICC approach on cost recovery is slowing projects

    Oct 29, 2012 | David O'Brien

    A former regulator, now consulting with Commonwealth Edison in Illinois, expresses concern that Ilinois regulators are applying an inappropriate cost recovery mechanism to interest on billions of dollars in capital invested for grid modernization. 

  • Nimbleness helped address customer concerns

    Oct 28, 2012 | Phil Carson

    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.  

  • SGCC study shows education increases favorability

    Oct 22, 2012 | Phil Carson

    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

    Oct 21, 2012 | Phil Carson

    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

    Oct 18, 2012 | Phil Carson

    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.

  • Lack of cyber attack proves nothing

    Oct 16, 2012 | Phil Carson

    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.

  • What's the logic behind a potential cyber attack?

    Oct 15, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Two utility executives walk into a bar, order drinks and badger each other over the logic behind the cyber security threat. Who are these people? What is their intent? How would attacking the grid advance their interests?

  • Possible executive order raises industry concerns

    Oct 07, 2012 | Phil Carson

    This past summer, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 failed due to a Senate filibuster inspired by industry lobbying. The Obama Administration has publicly raised the possibility of an executive order that merely asks industry, including the power sector, to develop best practices in coordination with the federal government, for voluntary participation. 

  • If `data is currency,' sell high!

    Oct 02, 2012 | Phil Carson

    The advent of "do not track" features and a sense that an individual's Web-browsing behavior has monetary value to the person creating it spurred our columnist to muse on how valuable energy use data might be, especially if mashed up with other personal details.

  • New papers argue for a way forward

    Oct 01, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Prepay has been a success for Salt River Project for decades, with high satisfaction among certain customer segments that opt-in for it. Yet traditional consumer protections aren't well-suited to prepay and other programs enabled by grid modernization. Two new papers address the issue, one on regulatory hurdles, the other advocating a way forward. 

  • California rules soon on communities' rights

    Sep 30, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Several utilities with opt-out provisions for smart metering have reported very low numbers of customers are seizing the opportunity, perhaps due to the added cost they bear. Meanwhile, state regulators continue to examine issues of cyber security and data privacy related to digital metering.