Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Eyes wide shut
    Are utilities underestimating the impact of new technologies & new entrants?
    Mar 26, 2014 | Jack Azagury

    To say that the traditional utility model is at a crossroads is perhaps an understatement.  Following the drop in energy demand after the financial crisis and continued regulatory pressure to reduce rates, as well as the proliferation of distributed solar power across Europe, Australia and the west coast of the US and adverse weather effects in North America, not to mention the moratorium on nuclear generation in Germany and Japan, and the continued pressure on power prices in North America due to the abundance of cheap natural gas, there has been significant pressure on utility earnings in most parts of the world.

  • Securing Power
    Strategizing for Emergency Management
    Mar 25, 2014 | Gargi Chakrabarty

    When Superstorm Sandy lashed the eastern seaboard on October 29, 2012, it created storm surges 14 feet above normal and flooded highways, roads and tunnels. Millions of customers lost power. That included more than a million customers in New York City.

  • New Study Turns Traditional Smart Grid Business Case Analysis on its Head
    Low-Cost CVR May Pay for Your AMI System
    Mar 22, 2014 | Jerry Jackson, Ph.D.

    A recently-completed study identifies a new smart grid investment strategy that can transform a poor AMI business case into an attractive investment. Many electric cooperatives and public utilities have rejected AMI systems because expected meter-related benefits are not compelling enough to outweigh costs. Adding demand response savings boosts benefit-cost ratios; however, the uncertainty and long lead times surrounding these customer engagement programs add more risk.

    Comments: 2
  • Filling a critical gap in Order 1000
    Transmission benefits: filling a critical gap in Order 1000
    Mar 20, 2014 | Jim Hoecker

    In his first Illinois Commerce Commission decision four years ago [Illinois Commerce Commission v. FERC, 576 F.3d 470, 476 (7th Cir., 2009)], Judge Posner of the Seventh Circuit did something that had not been done before.

  • Many utilities are focused on cyber risks, and they end up with very different risk-assessment results.
    Cyber Risk
    Mar 18, 2014 | Andrew Ginter

    At a large utility earlier this month, for example, an executive said, "We don't have a security problem: we have a compliance problem." Utilities like this put lawyers in charge of their NERC-CIP security programs, not security experts. At a different utility, another executive said, "We know there will be a 'first big cyber incident' in this industry. We are determined not to be that first victim." This second utility is deploying both strong cyber security and strong physical security systems. Why are there such discrepancies?

    Comments: 1
  • Dec 19, 2013 | Howard Scott - PH. D.

    Microgrids may be a dagger aimed at the heart of utilities and their large, centralized power grids. If consumers, business and industry abandon the main grid in favor of microgrids, it will threaten the utility compact and also have serious societal and national security implications.

    Comments: 1
  • Dec 18, 2013 | Darrell Delamaide

    Before there was the grid, there was the microgrid. Electrification in the United States often proceeded from a diesel generator and local distribution in an isolated town to the development of the big utilities and complex grid of generation, transmission and distribution of the 21st century.

    Comments: 2
  • Dec 17, 2013 | Gary Stern

    If you want to take the fastest route to become chief executive of a major energy company or utility, serve as chief financial officer. As just a few examples, Lynn Good, Duke Energy's CFO from 2009 through 2013, took over the reins from former CEO Jim Rogers on July 1.

    Comments: 1
  • Dec 16, 2013 | Dian Grueneich

    States will see more changes in their electricity systems over the next 15 years than they have in the past half century. And leading states, such as California, are embarking on an unprecedented effort to rapidly and fundamentally change their electricity supply and delivery systems.

    Comments: 1
  • Dec 15, 2013 | Frank Koditek

    Frank Koditek with Belden, Inc., reveals how the right cable can help with performance and mitigate cost issues. The wrong cable, however, can cause critical failures and cost massive amounts of money. He offers a quick guide to help you choose.