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The CIO Forum: IT Weathers the Storm

In the rough-and-tumble energy biz, IT departments are paddling hard to stay afloat.
Fortnightly Magazine - November 1 2002

Midwest or PJM. We have started talking about, from a technology standpoint, what would we need to do. A lot of it comes back to making sure we get standardization around data and nomenclature-that's really going to provide a lot of value to the market participant. Today, if they want to transact business in the Midwest or PJM or whatever region, it's different nomenclature, different rules. . .

[W]e need to get a larger, scalable solution to meet the needs going forward. Billing and settlement is an example of one of those applications areas. For example, one of the things that we've been doing in working with MISO and SPP is understanding what decisions have they made recently around those applications and those functionalities. We're looking to see if there are opportunities for synergy around vendors and licensing, so that we could leverage that as we go and move toward the joint common market, which is on that two- to three-year horizon. . . If we have those discussions and make some of those decisions today, it will simplify what we have to do going forward.

For an enhanced market portal, will all the grid operators need to use the same type of software?

What we've discussed to date around the enhanced market portal is that, working with MISO, SPP, and PJM, we've been talking back and forth, trying to define first what it is we want, and then evaluating what technology is out there to meet the needs. We all agree that it's critical to agree first on what it is we need, and then to meet the need. With respect to the technology, we're looking at a joint technology solution around that portal. What we haven't decided yet is whether that solution will run centrally as one version, or if [it will be] the same solution running decentralized.

Going forward, what are your top two or three goals for the coming year?

Over the next 12 to 18 months, our focus is on the market growth that's ahead for PJM, which speaks to integrating the former Alliance members into PJM, and supporting the joint common market for the MISO/SPP and PJM. . . [W]e need to lay a lot of the groundwork, the planning, and start some of that work, in order to be successful in the 2004-05 timeframe, where we do have specific deliverables.

Steering toward Shoals: PG&E Readies for a Breakup

An interview with Roger Gray, vice president and chief information officer, Information Services and Technical Services, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

What's been happening with IT at one of the nation's largest utilities in the last year? How has the bankruptcy affected your department's work?

Our day-to-day work to support the utilities is largely unchanged. We had major projects kept on track and [we] intend to complete [them]. It didn't have any significant budget impact or project impact, because we're so driven by maintaining a large infrastructure-we continue to have to support that-and we had, for example, projects like a new customer information system that we are

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