Intelligent Utility Magazine May/June 2010
In This Issue
  • As always, it is more than just technology
    ORIGINALLY, I PLANNED TO FOCUS ON THE TOP 11 NEW IDEAS  and technologies out there in the intelligent utility space. I envisioned this list as the ''cool technology list,'' but we always hear so much about the technology. So I figured I would expand the list's horizons and account for all the other factors that fuel the success of a smarter grid and more intelligent utility. As I got...
  • Allegheny Power is building an advanced utility infrastructure
    WEST VIRGINIA HAS STAKED A CLAIM AS THE FIRST STATE  in the nation to have what is being depicted as a legitimate statewide smart grid plan in place and is moving toward implementation.And while other states may argue West Virginia's status of being first, there's no missing the indications that both Appalachian Power-a unit of American Electric Power-and Allegheny Power, the West Virginia...
  • Professor teaches utilities to walk the smart grid talk
    INSIDERS AT COMMONWEALTH EDISON figured they would ace their advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) pilot program rollout. Who, after all, wouldn't be thrilled to delve into a survey and eight scintillating pages of intricate text detailing all the bells and whistles that automated metering infrastructure makes possible? Their customers, it turns out. Consequently, last summer's introduction...
  • California pushes forward, but are consumers ready?
    THE OLD ADAGE THAT RESIDENTIAL consumers don't truly understand electricity pricing has come back to haunt electric utilities as they begin to introduce smart metering and dynamic pricing. Reliability, on the other hand, is a concept consumers have no trouble getting their heads around. The trouble, to date, seems to be the ability to interrelate the two. In fact, consumer acceptance and adoption...
  • Are we ready for real-time pricing?
    IT'S A REAL-TIME WORLD OUT THERE, BUT the electric utility customer can't participate. The utility customer can only change his rate plan on his next billing cycle and, in many cases, only when the meter is replaced. He can change his cable TV plan at any time via the Internet and this change takes place immediately. The electric utility customer can cancel or start service at 1:33 p.m. on March...
  • Western synchrophasor efforts promise improved visibility
    IF YOU'RE FLYING A PLANE IN BAD weather, you can always switch from piloting visually to depending on your instruments. For those piloting an electric grid, there is no precise analogy. Grid operators have lacked sufficiently detailed data for real-time, situational awareness that can allow them to prevent blackouts.In programs just getting under way, however, the nation's three major...
  • A California university teams up with smart grid software partners
    ''WHAT I LIKE MOST ABOUT MY JOB IS that I cannot exceed the imagination of my colleagues,'' said Byron Washom, the University of California at San Diego's director of strategic energy initiatives. ''I bring in former utility colleagues of mine, and the first thing they say when they visit the [UCSD] campus is time travel.'' However, for UCSD insiders like Washom, the innovations his colleagues...
  • Exploring the Middle Kingdom of demand response
    WITH PRESSURES ON UTILITIES TO reduce peak loads and integrate variable renewables, third-party demand-response (DR) solution providers are playing an important role as a bridge between the power supplier and commercial, industrial and institutional customers to manage peak demand. Whether utilities see third parties as competitors or helpmates, they are an expedient route to getting DR quickly...
  • Smart technology is changing utility insiders' focus
    IT'S NO SECRET THAT THE UTILITY INDUSTRY is undergoing radical change. One industry executive recently summed up the changes impacting utilities as the most dramatic since the days of Edison.That statement carries a lot of weight given that Edison's lightbulb is now well over 100 years old. However, smart grid and other invasive technologies will likely change the face of the utility as we know...
  • Stalwarts weigh in on ROI for industry
    GETTING CONSUMERS TO LEARN HOW electricity is priced is a good thing. That could lead to efficiency and conservation, resulting in lower rates. That's understood. But do those benefits outweigh the costs and will investors step up?The issue is now before a multitude of state regulators who must decide how the assets that make up the intelligent utility will get financed. Utilities oftentimes are...
  • SEC and AEP implement radical storage solutions
    BY THE END OF THE YEAR, MANY COMMUTERS WILL BE adding a new twist to their daily routine. When they pull into the driveway at night, they'll plug their new electric vehicle into a conventional outlet and let it recharge for the next day. The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt electric cars will be introduced in the United States this year, luring drivers who have become wary of gas prices that once again...
  • Renewables are moving into the mainstream
    RENEWABLE GENERATION, IN MANY FORMS, IS NO LONGER the new and untested addition to the electric grid. Wind and solar generation, in particular, have moved into the mainstream. Based on long-term potential, effective siting advantages and other variables-such as state-by-state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS)-some renewable energy sources will continue to accelerate, while others may level off...
  • DTE Energy enabling last-mile upgrades
    WITH THE RAPID GROWTH OF DISTRIBUTION TECHNOLOGY-including more effective sensors, volt-VAR control and dynamic feeder reconfiguration-the distribution end of numerous electric utility systems offers considerable near-term potential to advance the smart grid.In fact, GTM Research recently published findings showing that 77 percent of the more than 50 North American utilities within its survey...
  • HAN solution lies in the software design
    WIDESPREAD CONSUMER ACCEPTANCE OF THE HOME AREA network (HAN) is crucial to the success of the smart grid. There are a myriad of issues why consumer uptake has been disappointing, even in SmartGridCity in Boulder, Colorado.In most American households, the home network itself already exists based on multiple compliant technologies, be it wired or wireless. The inhabitants of such households may...
  • Con Edison's mobile Web outage reporting application is a hit with customers
    THIS WINTER STORM SEASON, CON EDISON DECISION makers confirmed what they already suspected-customers are certainly apt with their apps.Smart phone users took to the investor-owned utility's newly launched mobile Web application like penguins to ice and ducks to water during especially wild February and March weather that walloped their neighborhoods.''I don't think anybody has as much...
  • The smart grid from various utility perspectives
    SMART GRID IS A TERM THAT IS USED REGULARLY IN today's utility lexicon. Like many often-used terms, with broader use it begins to lose its precision in defining something specific and universally understood. In fact, as smart grid programs continue to evolve, the definition of what a smart grid is meant to accomplish may become more unique with each particular utility. The underpinning electric...
  • Generation utilities faced with driving water efficiency, as well as energy efficiency
    MAINTAINING CLEAN WATER RESOURCES ISN'T AS compelling a public concern as curbing greenhouse gases. But the challenge will have a solid impact on the future of electricity generation. While smart grid technologies enhance power utilities' communication with customers to increase awareness of consumption and provide demand-response programs and energy-efficiency incentives, fewer opportunities...