The conventional wisdom about utility spending is correct, but key factors affecting customer satisfaction aren't obvious—and are tricky to control.
Grid, Heal Thyself
Automation technologies promise a reliability revolution.
CenterPoint Energy, which usually sees 16 to 20 major thunderstorms sweep through its heavily treed service area every year. The self-healing grid capabilities the utility is developing could mean that an advanced system will automatically reroute power to reduce outages and isolate directly affected areas before repair crews are even dispatched. That futuristic model will require time to mature and a lot of hard work, but CenterPoint’s Mercado says that it will end up being stronger than a concrete pole. “What we want to do is harden our grid with technology.”