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The CIO Forum: The Changing Face of Energy I.T.

Budgets are expected to increase, even as new IT challenges present themselves.

Fortnightly Magazine - January 2006

had great independent relationships with all the public landowners and public agencies that affect land use in our state, including the federal folks.

Another big area was reliability measures. In Wisconsin, our commission has mandated that people actually follow the reliability rules, so some of the skirting around the edge that other people have seen we haven’t seen in Wisconsin. We certainly welcome other people having to play by the rules.

Fortnightly: What’s happening with transformer technology?

MCW: Every year you see material improvements that cuts the transformer loss, which is something we’re constantly looking at. The loss component—the amount of energy used to heat up this equipment—is one of the things that costs everybody in our state a lot of money. We have relatively higher losses because most of our equipment is relatively fuller of electricity, and losses work by the square of the current. So if you’ve got double the current you’ve got four times the losses. Since all of our stuff is full and overloaded already, we have a higher loss component than many. We’re quite conscious of trying to lower our losses as part of our mission.

As for manufacturers of this technology, you still get a small amount manufactured by GE and Westinghouse, but increasingly it’s people in central Europe. ABB has some significant plants, Siemens has some significant plants. Overall, we’ve found that central European technology is both more efficient in terms of these kinds of things we’re talking about and actually more cost-effective in terms of first costs.


Ken Fell, CIO

New York Independent System Operator

Fortnightly: How has the technology at your organization changed since you joined NY-ISO?

Ken Fell: We became an ISO in November of 1999. I joined Sept. 1, 2000. I’m not a utility guy. My background includes General Motors, Sprint, and a software development start-up.

The technology here has changed significantly in the past year. We’ve changed all of our EMS (energy management systems) and market ops software. We worked with ABB to replace that. We brought in enterprise integration technology, new portal technology, and we’re working a lot more with more state-of-the-art integrated software utilizing JAVA optimization and simulation technology, data-warehousing technology, etc. The technology has changed substantially and will continue to change over the next three to four years.

Fortnightly: What are the unique challenges NY-ISO is facing in the coming year?

KF: It’s probably twofold. Number one, we have to become a mature company over the next year. By that, I mean we need to refine and improve our execution on our processes we have here.

The ISOs themselves are basically deemed to be financial services type of companies, so we have to pass pretty stringent process audits. In the case of NY-ISO, we also made a decision to become Sarbanes-Oxley compliant. We’ve been able to pass both of those in the last year, but we will need to continue to fine-tune our processes and how we execute. For us, that’s a pretty difficult thing to do, not because we aren’t capable but because we’re pretty