Intelligent Utility March / April 2012
In This Issue
  • Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    As 2011 came to an end, the Innovation Observatory released a report indicating that 80 percent of the worldwide investment in building electricity smart grids by 2030 will be concentrated in 10 countries.Over the next five years, the United States will dominate global capital expenditure, culminating by 2030 in a spend of US$60 billion on intelligent smart grid infrastructure. Ultimately,...
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  • Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    State government and energy officials joined Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie and Japan-based New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) President Hideo Hato in early February as the two men signed a memorandum of understanding to memorialize ongoing efforts between the State of Hawaii and NEDO. (NEDO is an arm of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.)The two...
  • In early February, the Daily Telegraph in London reported that 40,000 people in Britain signed up for a pilot program called the Big Switch, in which the collective purchasing power of consumers will be tested.British Energy Secretary Edward Davy called the bulk buying of energy "a game changer," producing lower energy bills for consumers.The newspaper reported that this is the first time...
  • No. 1 utility racks up three consecutive wins
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    THE THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM, OR SO THE OLD SAYING GOES. FOR San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), all three times have been magical, actually. Last year marked the third year the California utility captured the UtiliQ crown as the most intelligent U.S. utility.Sempra Energy-owned SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides energy service to 3.5 million people through 1.4 million...
  • No. 2 utility builds foundation for the future
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    PACIFIC GAS & ELECTRIC (PG&E) CONTINUES TO CLIMB THE UTILIQ ladder. Garnering a fourth place finish in 2009 and third place in 2010, PG&E has finally grabbed a silver spot in the 2011 UtiliQ rankings right behind fellow California utility San Diego Gas & Electric.Incorporated in California in 1905, PG&E is one of the largest combination natural gas and electric utilities in...
  • Large electricity co-ops of the U.S. shine
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    BEGINNING WITH THIS ISSUE, WE ARE TAKING A CLOSER look within our Top 12 for 2012 at the unsung heroes of electric utilities across the United States, from large co-ops to small, both large and small municipal utilities, and large and not-so large investor-owned utilities.The first thing we realized is that every co-op works as an entity, and singling out one person from within that entity is...
  • No. 3 utility has its hands full
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    YOU WILL HAVE TO FORGIVE THE FOLKS AT AUSTIN ENERGY IF they don't notice they dropped a spot in the Intelligent Utility's UtiliQ Top 25 Intelligent Utilities rankings, from second place in 2010 to third in 2011.They have been such busy campers continuing to transform energy consumption and delivery in the Texas capital-and unveiling Austin Energy's first proposed rate increase in 17 years-that...
  • EPRI technical executive discusses the importance of distribution management
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    THE ELECTRIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM IS undergoing an evolutionary change thanks to the implementation of smart grid technology.With the addition of millions of points of new data on the grid, it's even more imperative that utility operations be able to monitor and control, in near real time, what's happening on the distribution network.Enter the distribution management system (DMS), which Robert...
  • Trends explored at Knowledge2011
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    WE SAT DOWN WITH ELECTRIC UTILITY CHIEF INFORMATION officers gathered in Florida for Knowledge2011 to discuss the issues of most importance to their companies in 2012. Their comments, edited for style and length, follow.What is the biggest challenge facing the electric utility industry?HATRIDGE   Certainly, an aging workforce is a business issue with us. The big challenge of that is not...
  • PECO’s progressive innovation, putting the customer first
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    IN THE DAYS BEFORE HURRICANE IRENE pounded the East Coast last August with wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour and torrential rain storms, PECO mobilized its arsenal of field staff, local and national personnel, to respond to the record-breaking Category 1 storm. But equally important to those last-minute preparations were the steps PECO took in the almost two decades preceding the storm:...
  • PG&E, Southern Company and others transitioning pilots to full-out rollouts
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    IN A POWER OUTAGE, RESTORATION TIME becomes the most imperative issue, from a customer's perspective. Automation, thanks to devices out on the feeders and a good, two-way telecommunications network reaching out from the utility's control room, can isolate the outage within minutes and reroute electricity routes around it while the issue is being resolved.Fault location, isolation and service...
  • OGE Energy’s CIO talks about change management
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    TO ME, THE BIGGEST ISSUE IS JUST, SIMPLY, CHANGE.The change is transformational within the industry and how we do business, because we're being hit from so many sides with so many different things.If you talk about the IT department specifically, again, it can't be a silo in itself, because people, processes and technology all have to work together. It's an interesting industry, because in so...
  • SMUD’s assistant general manager talks about sharing success stories
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    I THINK THERE ARE A COUPLE OF KEY ISSUES. FIRST, BECAUSE there's so much discussion about smart grid, what we don't want to do is over-promise and then under-deliver to our customers. Because no matter how you look at it, if smart meter is any indication of the first impression that they have of smart grid, some companies have done it very well, but some companies have not. So now that we're...
  • Quick insights can be gleaned from incomplete data
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    LLOYD TOKERUD, SENIOR MANAGER OF ANALYTICS FOR First Choice Power, a competitive retailer in Texas, was hired from PepsiCo to lead the utility's analytics group. I spoke with him recently about issues in data analytics.First Choice Power has been in business since January 2002, when deregulation in Texas took effect. The retailer was acquired by Direct Energy last November.Perhaps Tokerud's most...
  • SMUD and others finding value in grid data
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    AS THE UTILITY ANALYTICS INSTITUTE, A DIVISION OF ENERGY Central, wraps up its Annual Grid Analytics Report-the action-packed sequel to our first report, Market Outlook and Forecast-we'd like to discuss some of the grid analytics findings from the report.First, it's important to understand what we mean when we say grid analytics. Grid analytics are analytics that enable utilities to ensure better...
  • Colorado Springs Utilities balances overloaded circuit with customers’ help
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    UTILITIES HAVE A COMPELLING STORY TO TELL ABOUT THEIR efforts in grid modernization, but that story has to reach their customers and ring true. In a February Intelligent Utility Realities webcast on utility best practices in customer engagement, Angie Thoma, Colorado Springs Utilities' smart grid project manager, discussed her utility's Appaloosa Pilot Program, a capital deferrment project that...
  • SGCC identifies seven key themes to address
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    OVER THE COURSE OF 2011, THE SMART GRID CONSUMER Collaborative (SGCC) conducted three foundational pieces of consumer research, intended to provide a better perspective on the U.S. residential electricity consumer.Within this research, featured in the SGCC's latest report, 2012 State of the Consumer, seven key themes came to the fore. A few were somewhat surprising, given what we have been...
  • CenterPoint’s VP of customer service talks about demonstrating value
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    THE GREATEST CHALLENGE I FORESEE FOR 2012 IS THE continued focus on the utility around the customer and the engagements, whether that is the smart grid and how will it demonstrate the value and the benefits of the grid for consumer engagement, or whether that be customers' expectations and how they are increasing based on how they interact with other providers of services.I see that as the...
  • SMECO’s callout strategy
    Intelligent Utility March / April 2012:  Automating the Grid
    IF A TRANSFORMER BLOWS OR AN AUTO ACCIDENT BRINGS down a pole, a callout is what gets crews to the scene of the outage. But my colleagues at Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) haven't picked up their phones to launch a callout in five years. That hasn't damaged our relationship with our customer-members. And it hasn't hurt SMECO's power restoration work, either. That's because we make...