Calendar of Events

Oct 20, 2014 to Oct 23, 2014 | Orlando, FL
Oct 27, 2014 to Oct 31, 2014 | Clearwater Beach, FL
Nov 05, 2014 to Nov 06, 2014 | Las Vegas, Nevada

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Public Utilities Reports

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Frontlines & Op-Ed

The New Normal

Our economic future depends on adaptability.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

For the past several months, analysts and pundits have been using the term “the new normal” to describe post-recession economic conditions. The phrase describes a variety of changes, from stock-market returns to personal savings rates, but it boils down to this: After the recession, the economy will go through a soft recovery, and it won’t return to pre-recession levels of financial and market activity in the mid-term future.

Hobson's Hamburger

It’s time to end the uncertainty about carbon costs.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

This summer marked a pivotal moment for the energy industry. In June, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), a.k.a., the Waxman-Markey bill, which among other things would require the U.S. economy to cut its greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions 83 percent by 2050.

Letters to the Editor

(August 2009) When I hear the new buzz word term dynamic pricing I think of politicians who may be socialist or liberal, but who call themselves “progressive.” Now, what thoughtful person would not vote for a progressive. Do you want to vote for someone who isn’t progressive? That would make you some kind of Luddite. The same holds true for the people now running around the country calling for “dynamic pricing” i.e., charging $5/kWh for up to 100 hours per year, and calling any other form of pricing “dumb rates.”

Security vs. States' Rights

Will Congress dare to put local wires under federal control?

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Congress hasn’t amended the Federal Power Act in any way that would change the status quo, and a bright line still separates the distribution business from the federally regulated bulk-power system. Pending legislation, however, might change that.

CEOs on Change

Utilities adapt to a shifting landscape.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

The U.S. utility landscape is more dynamic and uncertain than it’s been since Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse waged their infamous war over alternating current—and the results might be just as fundamental to the industry’s future.

Green Imagineering

Perception trumps reality at Florida ‘solar city.’

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Once upon a time, a real estate developer dreamed of building a planned community. The developer, Syd Kitson, envisioned a “city of tomorrow™” in southwestern Florida, designed for efficiency, convenience and harmony with nature. Instead of driving cars everywhere, the 45,000 residents of Kitson’s Babcock Ranch would ride bikes to school, and walk to the cinema. They’d take a tram to visit friends in another hamlet, on the other side of a lush wildlife preserve.

Green with Envy

Efficiency products will proliferate, for better or worse.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Recently an acquaintance of mine, who shall remain nameless, gave a diamond engagement ring to his girlfriend. She joyfully accepted the ring. But soon her joy turned to disgust when she learned that her lovely “diamond” actually was a cubic zirconium. Last I heard, she’d broken off the engagement and was dating her ex-fiancé’s former boss.

Letters to the Editor

Commissioner Rick Morgan of the Public Service Commission for the District of Columbia based his article, “Rethinking ‘Dumb’ Rates”, on the faulty premise that there is a consensus, either in the regulatory community or electric industry, or both, trending toward the immediate adoption of smart meters and dynamic rates and, worse yet, that such change should be embraced now just ‘cause it is today’s pretty amazing new stuff.

Money to Burn

Smart-grid stimulus targets the wrong problem.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

The $800 billion stimulus bill has spawned a feeding frenzy among would-be recipients of the money. Smart-grid technology companies, for example, are excited about the bill’s $4.5 billion in 50/50 matching grants to “modernize the electric grid.” However, not everybody is cheering.

Obama vs. Reality

Even blue-sky goals fall short.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Obama has set high expectations for his administration. But as the president acknowledged in his inaugural address, fulfilling those expectations won’t be easy. For the U.S. power and gas industry, the specific questions are whether Obama really means what he says about energy policy; whether his policy priorities are sufficient to accomplish the goals he’s set; and whether his “Yes we can!” strategy can survive in the real world, with all its practical constraints and party politics, after the “change” buzz subsides.

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