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Fortnightly Magazine - September 2004

Voltage Regulation: Tapping Distributed Energy Resources

Voltage Regulation
John D. Kueck, Brendan J. Kirby, Leon M. Tolbert, & D. Tom Rizy

Voltage Regulation

Reactive power is the key to an efficient and reliable grid.

Special ECM Section


Deregulation, competition, and the back-to-basics utility strategy have created tremendous pressures for utilities to cut operating costs while improving customer service. In this environment, companies are being challenged to build the utility of the future-a lean provider of power generation, transmission, and distribution run tightly and efficiently, creating a low-cost, high-performance business.

Business Process Outsourcing: Myth or Reality?

Dan Sullivan and Diane Shelgren


Business Process Outsourcing

The utility HR department is the new battleground.

Today information technology (IT) outsourcing contracts are being signed on an almost weekly basis and are rapidly extending into business process outsourcing (BPO) deals covering a whole range of areas-customer care, human resources (HR), finance and accounting, and procurement, to name a few.

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

Rajiv Bahl


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

Stephen L. Prince


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

Susan Covino


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?

Sharon Allan


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.


Richard Stavros, Executive Editor


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.


New Opportunities:
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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.