Intelligent Utility Magazine January/February 2010
In This Issue
  • Reciprocal Efficiency
     UTILITIES ARE USING DISTRIBUTED GENERATION RESOURCES AS MORE THAN SIMPLY sources of supplemental power during peak demand or as an alternative when base-load generators cannot deliver reliable electricity. Judging by the global warming debate and a desire for draconian cutbacks in carbon emissions, the drive toward greater efficiency and environmentally friendly sources of generation is...
  • The Grid Prepares for an EV Wave
    ALL VEHICLES RUN BETTER WHEN TUNED FOR MAXIMUM performance. While auto and battery makers scurry for a competitive edge to make electric vehicles (EVs) practical for everyday driving, the ultimate success in the future marketplace will largely be dependent on a well-tuned electric system: one that offers convenient, widely available, fast-charging, cheap off-peak rates and ultimately facile...
  • Pepco Builds the Architecture for Smart Appliances
    ALTHOUGH IT HAS A BLUEPRINT IN PLACE, FOR PEPCO Holdings, Inc. (PHI), coordinating smart appliances with a more advanced electrical grid is for the future.''We know smart appliances will have a place and customers will take advantage of them - we just aren't sure when,'' said Rob Stewart, manager of technology evaluation and implementation for Pepco Holdings. Pepco, Delmarva Power and Atlantic...
  • Energizing Defense Contractors
    DEFENSE CONTRACTORS AREN'T EXACTLY SHOOTING for the stars. But they are aiming for a greater share of the ever-changing energy business. Their scientific and technical expertise, coupled with their well-capitalized businesses, give them an inside track into the world of intelligent utilities, green energy and emissions reductions.READY TO EXPANDMost of those spacecraft and weapons makers have...
  • We Hit the Road with Oncor to Discuss Its Smart Initiatives
    LAST ISSUE, WE TALKED WITH ONCOR ABOUT ITS CYBER SECURITY WORK in order to prepare for a smarter grid. This issue, I wanted to take some time to discuss Oncor's broader smart grid efforts. Late last fall, I had the incredible opportunity to take a smart grid road trip with Oncor. The road trip not only cut across the wide open Texas landscape, but also across the many groups who play critical...
  • OG+E Gets Stimulus to Move On
    SUBSTANTIVE PROGRESS IN ESTABLISHING SMART GRID INFRASTRUCTURE isn't always easy to see or measure.But that progress may soon become much more noticeable-in the wake of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) fall 2009 announcement of utility recipients in its economic stimulus grant program.One of the awardees on the DOE's lengthy list is Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E), which has...
  • Utility Execs Launch Own Ventures
    THE RESHAPING OF THE UTILITY INDUSTRY HAS created unexpected opportunities for utility executives. The emergence of the smart grid has created transformations both within utility companies and within companies that serve them. One key insight discovered by the latter companies is that utilities are reluctant to buy products or services from anyone who does not understand their business. That...
  • Regional Energy Initiatives Emerge
    THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT (ARRA) has placed an unprecedented focus on state and local energy issues. With half of the approximately $580 billion in ARRA funding having been pegged for states and localities, those efforts that, over time, best pool and manage regional resources will charge ahead of the pack to fruition. That all-important word - collaboration - sets the stage for...
  • NC Greenpower Model Translates to Smart Initiatives
    WHEN YOU THINK OF THE SOUTHEAST UNITED STATES, you don't usually think of renewables. NC GreenPower is working to change that, specifically in North Carolina.NC GreenPower focuses on engaging the consumer and even supporting economic development in the renewables arena. Despite its renewables focus, NC GreenPower's approach could serve as a model for organizations tasked with engaging consumers...
  • Northeastern states face homegrown issues
    ''PUBLIC AWARENESS IS ALWAYS THE FIRST STEP IN winning a political battle in the United States,'' said Theodore Roosevelt in his gubernatorial efforts to promote conservation to the largely indifferent citizenry of New York state.To move smart grid initiatives forward in the Northeast United States, keeping the public aware of what a more intelligent utility can mean to their lives is critical....
  • Sandia National Labs Studies Power Network Surety
    THE SUNNY AND WINDY SOUTHWEST OFFERS PERFECT weather for producing renewable generation. Intelligent utilities in the region are hoping to tap into as much of its promise as possible, while still ensuring reliability as they add more intermittent generation.Based in New Mexico and California, the Sandia National Laboratories is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) multiprogram R&D laboratory. In...
  • Utilities Work Hand-in-Hand with C+I Customers
    AS DEPLOYMENTS OF ADVANCED SMART METERS ROLL OUT BY THE MILLIONS, homeowners face the likelihood of managing their utility bills like never before. Usage information provided on an hourly basis - if not in real-time - will help consumers recognize which appliances eat into their monthly savings the most and when to run them to minimize costs.The same is true for commercial and industrial...
  • Small Commercial Customers Next in Line
    FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A SMALL COMMERCIAL ENTITY, THE DEVELOPING smart grid and burgeoning opportunities to improve energy efficiency may not rate very high on its list of things to cultivate and invest in to advance the enterprise and grow the bottom line.The small commercial energy user, in fact, has generally been preoccupied just trying to stay afloat and battle fierce competition, make...
  • A look at the role it plays
    THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS, BY VIRTUE OF ITS AMERICAN RECOVERY and Reinvestment Act, kicked this country's movement toward a more intelligent electric grid into high gear, both in terms of deployment and consumer awareness.It could be reasonably argued that, within an electric utility's departmental structure, no one is feeling this pressure more keenly than the IT department, where work is...
  • What it is and where we are
    AT THE TURN OF THE 20TH CENTURY, EARLY ELECTRIC POWER DEVELOPERS used batteries as part of the electricity generation and delivery structure. However, batteries were quickly surpassed by other generation, transmission and distribution technologies. For the past 100 years, electricity has been the only major commodity that is not stored anywhere in the value chain. As such, the electricity...
  • But MDM + OMS aren't yet married
    IT WAS ONLY ABOUT 10 OR 15 YEARS AGO WHEN OUTAGE MANAGEMENT AT utilities consisted of collecting slips of paper from trouble complaints to the call center, sorting them on long tables and using eyeballs to try to discern patterns. In fact, it may still be done that way at some small utilities, but probably not many, if any. Once patterns were discerned and potential trouble points identified,...
  • PG+E shares smart meter lessons learned
    IT WAS THE PERFECT STORM, IN SO MANY WAYS.Weather, for one, had something to do with it, but it wasn't really that kind of storm.In August 2009, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) found itself in a maelstrom in Bakersfield and Fresno, Calif., as customers in those areas began to react, negatively, to the increase in their electricity bills over the year before.The rain of complaints became...
  • Northeast Utilities prepares for smart meters + plug-ins
    UTILITIES ARE MOVING FROM CONCEPT TO REALITY AS THE WAYS IN which electricity is used and delivered are radically altered in the early 21st century. Earlier this year, we explored Northeast Utilities' ongoing work with reclosers and a distribution supervisory control and data acquisition system. In this issue, we look at two more recent initiatives at Northeast Utilities: smart meters and...
  • Results of CL+P consumer engagement
    WILLIAM OPALKA'S ARTICLE COVERED CONNECTICUT LIGHT AND POWER'S (CL&P's) work as they planned to forge ahead with their pilot tests. In December, I had the chance to cover some of CL&P's results in our new e-newsletter, Intelligent Utility Daily. This article includes two pieces from that coverage.DECEMBER 16, 2009While perusing the news, I noticed the headline ''CL&P finds it can't...
  • Weather damage averted by line smarts
    SOMETIMES IT'S NOT SO MUCH A MATTER OF CLEANING UP AFTERWARD AS it is averting potential problems ahead of time. From the use of geographic information system (GIS)-enabled weather tracking to the optimization of real-time transmission line ratings, transmission and distribution utilities are working to avoid storm and weather-related outages in the first place, wherever possible.Real-time...
  • Retired NSTAR CIO shares his views
    I WAS CHATTING WITH GENE ZIMON, RECENTLY RETIRED SENIOR VICE president and CIO at NSTAR, about what utilities need to do to deal with building out smart grids. Zimon is of the opinion that the greatest need they will have is for a communications and data management infrastructure to deal with all the real-time information with which they are about to be inundated.Currently, most utilities have an...
  • Looking to other industries for CIS know-how
    THINGS ARE CHANGING, AND QUICKLY, FOR ELECTRIC UTILITIES AS THEY face massive structural change in the way they interact with their customers. And these new relationships will be profoundly different than those utilities have experienced in the past. They're going to feel it in many areas, not the least of which will be their customer information systems (CIS) and customer relationship management...