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Fortnightly Magazine - June 2010

Rethinking Revenue Assurance

Reducing leakage to improve the bottom line.

Victor Milligan

Utility companies are actively engaged in a range of activities with the goals of reducing the effects of weak demand, a higher uncertainty in energy costs, increased capital costs, and stagnant rate cases. Among these efforts, a rigorous revenue assurance capability likely will produce the greatest immediate and long-term return, as it can produce 1 to 2 points of revenue recovery through a single, unified investment.

Tipping Point

Industry giants start the EV revolution.

Steven Andersen

Reports of the electric car’s death are greatly exaggerated. Technology, economics and politics are driving a new start for electric vehicles; already dozens of EV models are heading for U.S. showrooms. Electricity won’t replace gasoline overnight, but utilities are planning today for tomorrow’s transportation load.

Plugging In

Can the grid handle the coming electric vehicle load?

Dean Murphy et al.

As electric vehicles become commonplace, will the grid be able to handle the extra load? Too many cars plugging in at once might cause disruptions and necessitate costly infrastructure upgrades. Handling the vehicle load in a smart way, however, will ensure a smooth transition to the plug-in future.

CEO FORUM: Dealing with Disruption

Leaders adapt to strategic shifts in the utility landscape.

Michael T. Burr

The industry is getting more complex every day. Senior executives at Southern Company, PPL, TXU Energy, Direct Energy and PJM discuss business trends, resource strategies, electric vehicles and customer engagement in the smart-grid era.

Business Case Tradeoffs

Shaping long-term smart-grid strategy.

Andy Trump

Making the business case for the smart grid is an important utility goal. It provides the justification for making or deferring required investments. Utilities might find it necessary to engage in a cycle of continuous strategic planning.

Proving Smart-Grid Savings

Real-world projects show tangible returns.

Alyssa Danigelis

Much is riding on successful smart-grid deployments. Experiences at several utilities demonstrate the costs and benefits of today’s automation technologies.

The Body Electric

The smart grid and its biomorphic destiny.

Clement Chen

Smart grid technology is bringing inanimate objects to life. In connecting nodes and equipping the system with distributed intelligence, the network is developing toward an environment that becomes quasi-biological over time. Such an organic system might defy deterministic ideas of planning and control.

FIT in the USA

Constitutional questions about state-mandated renewable tariffs.

Steven Ferrey et al.

Despite state efforts to follow the European model of state-mandated feed-in tariffs to promote renewable power, these actions won’t pass Constitutional muster. The Supremacy Clause makes a formidable legal barrier.

Recharging Employees

How to make sustainable performance improvements at any utility.

Cheryl Hyman et al.

Sustained performance improvement is often a difficult objective to achieve in a large company. Many such attempts involve various cross-functional initiatives that leave companies with unfinished projects, lower morale and disappointing results. Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) has found that the key to sustained performance improvement is the establishment of a cadre of high-potential managers to address company-wide initiatives full-time.

Hybrid Storage

Ultracapacitors and batteries work together to solve power quality problems.

Chad Hall

Ultracapacitors and batteries work together to solve power quality problems.

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