Intelligent Utility Mar / Apr 2014
In This Issue
  • Dislike is universal but can change
    You may think Europeans are more sophisticated than you Americans. Well, it turns out that when it comes to utility customer psychology, we are pretty much the same as our cousins in the US of A. There are some pertinent universal truths for the utility industry. Customers don’t like you. It’s true. They feel powerless against the mighty utility which almost always holds the whip hand: they...
  • Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) is one of the largest combined electric and gas companies in the United States and is also New Jersey's oldest and largest publicly owned utility. They currently serve nearly three quarters of New Jersey's population in a service area consisting of a 2,600-square-mile diagonal corridor across the state. PSE&G is the largest provider of gas...
  • When I started in this business in the early aughts—an old term for the first few years of a century that is, noticeably, a linguistic error but still better than many alternatives—deregulation was everywhere. It was a buzzword, the lead concept. Heck, “smart grid” wasn’t even a gleam in anyone’s eye yet. Wasn’t a single person talking about that. Nope. It was all dereg. Dereg was going to change...
  • I hate the term prosumer for one reason: I don’t want to be one. I don’t want to be forced into managing both the things I have to and all the tangential life things, too. Rather than being a prosumer, I want to be an endsumer (just left out of everything but the end result, thanks). But, I am not the norm, it seems. The blending of professional/productive/proactive with consumer—someone who is...
  • It’s unusual overall to have a woman in any high-ranking energy position. That’s the reason we started this focus on “women in energy,” after all: to shed light on those women making strides in a traditionally male industry.   And, women have made significant strides in energy, especially in areas where utilities dovetail with more creative industries, such as marketing. Our first article in...
  • Consumers Energy is one of the nation's largest combination utilities, providing electric and natural gas service to nearly 6.8 million of Michigan's 10 million residents, in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties. In this installment of our utility2utility article series, we spoke with Consumers Energy’s Patti Poppe, vice president of customer experience, about smarter metering for those millions of...
  • To me “space weather” sounds like the title of the latest SyFy Channel B-movie extravaganza scheduled somewhere between “Ice Spiders: and “Magnetic Tornado.”  (And, yes those are two actual SyFy Channel movies.  “Sharknado isn’t the only crazy flick SyFy’s created in the last few years.) According to the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI’s) topical expert Richard Lordan, however...
  • Working with social media is so different for many utilities—so out of their comfort zone—that many are simply at a loss about what to do. They stare at it, on occasion (whether “it” be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other programs), and then go look for the Excedrin. We at Intelligent Utility understand completely. We, too, are luddites at heart cruelly thrown into this social media...
  • When I was young—many eons ago, it seems—the phrase “bring your own” was attached to liquid libation. Today, it’s attached to your smart phone, your PC and even your thermostat—any tech “device.” “Bring your own device” – and discussions about its pros and cons – is everywhere these days.  According to an Ovum study released last year, three-fourths of employees in “high growth markets” (...
  • Ergon Energy is the government-owned electricity utility for the State of Queensland in Australia. With more than 700,000 customers spread over 1.7 million km squared, Ergon Energy has similar integration, geographical and technology challenges of a larger utility but manages these with a smaller customer base, in the face of rapidly evolving technology, growing solar generation penetration, and...