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Fortnightly Magazine - September 2004

Outsourcing, Reliability, and IT: When will the Three Meet?

ECM
Rajiv Bahl

ECM

Outsourcing, Reliability, and IT

When the grid collapses or a hurricane wipes out power to millions of customers, how does a customer information system (CIS) information technology (IT) manager ensure his or her outsourcing partner works as an extension of the IT organization by providing system reliability? When customer privacy of a competitor is questioned, how can the company be certain that the team members of the outsourcing partner have had sufficient background security checks, and that company data is safe?

The Customer as Strategic Asset

ECM
Stephen L. Prince

ECM

Achieving financial returns from increasing customer satisfaction.

Every utility focuses on effectively managing infrastructure and capital assets. However, one important balance sheet asset may be overlooked and under-leveraged-the customer.

Demand-Side Management and Metering Tech

ECM
Susan Covino

ECM

Demand-Side Management & Metering Tech

Combining real-time usage data with the newest technology can earn benefits for utilities.

Some amount of confusion on the part of end-users of electricity is inevitable as the electricity industry evolves. Confusion seems to be a necessary ingredient of change. At PJM Interconnection, we see fusion as the answer to confusion. First is the fusion of technology-both computing and communications technology-with the electric industry.

What is an Advanced Meter?

ECM
Sharon Allan

ECM

The technology behind demand-side response.

Across the country, policy-makers are working with both federal and state legislators and regulators to define policies and laws that will impact how utilities do business in the coming years. One policy receiving much attention right now may require electric utilities to offer voluntary demand-response programs to their customers. Demand-response programs allow customers to voluntarily adjust their daily energy usage in a manner that is acceptable with their needs.

Frontlines

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Frontlines

Imported natural gas contains more Btus and fewer impurities than the domestic variety, raising questions for LNG development.

It started as a small problem that was supposed to stay small. When Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan called for a global natural gas market in 2003, the industry knew inherently that the quality and composition of natural gas imported from places like Qatar and Nigeria would vary from the gas used domestically in the United States.

People

New Opportunities:
We welcome submissions to People, especially those accompanied by a high-resolution color photograph. E-mail to: photos@pur.com

People

New Opportunities:

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) named Steve Larson executive director. Larson most recently was executive director of the California Energy Commission and chief deputy director of the department of finance.

PG&E Corp. elected Leslie H. Everett senior vice president and assistant to the chairman. PG&E Corp. also elected Russell M. Jackson senior vice president, human resources.

Power Measurements

What's causing price volatility, and will it last?
Andy Roberts and Gary L. Hunt

Power Measurement

What's causing price volatility, and will it last?

Coal markets have changed dramatically in the last year, but uncertainty lingers over how permanent the changes will be. After relative stability in the 1990s, coal markets, like other energy commodities, have become increasingly volatile, although high prices should not be confused with increased volatility.

Perspective

A Year After the Blackout:
John B. Howe

Perspective

A Year After the Blackout:

Grid reliability is still at risk unless the industry quickly takes action.

Commission Watch

IOUs, RTOs duke it out over standardization.
Lori A. Burkhart

Commission Watch

IOUs, RTOs duke it out over standardization.

Have regional transmission operators (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs) asked for excessive levels of credit from customers, to the extent that the burdensome requirements foreclose full market participation by competitive entities? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) must face that difficult question as it investigates whether to institute a rulemaking on credit-related issues for service provided by ISOs, RTOs, and transmission providers.

Business & Money

After FERC's Market Power Ruling:
Mike Beck and Craig Hart

Business & Money

After FERC's Market Power Ruling:

Will financiers dominate the market?

The recent approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of its "interim" market power screen and policies on investor-owned utilities (IOU) affiliate transactions is changing the market dynamics for buying and selling generation assets. Yet, while the market test has drawn plenty of comments and complaints, the long-term effects are still uncertain.

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