Calendar of Events

Jul 13, 2014 to Jul 16, 2014 | Dallas, TX
Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY

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Public Utilities Reports

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Frontlines & Op-Ed

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.

California Dreamin'

Left-coast lawmakers envision a greener America.

Michael T. Burr

As the new U.S. government takes shape, at least one trend seems clear: California is taking over the country. Well, maybe not “taking over,” exactly. But leading.

Good News for Coal

Resolving the climate debate gives coal a path forward.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

I met Congressman Rick Boucher (D-Va.) in November. He was speaking to attendees at EEI’s Finance Conference in Phoenix, and after his speech many people remarked that they wished other members of Congress were even half as well versed about the utility industry’s issues as Boucher seems to be.

Green Bailout

Congress pours tax benefits into efficiency and renewables.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Of the many provisions in the bailout bill, few of them actually establish new federal policy. Instead, most just continue existing provisions that already were set to expire, and probably would have been enacted in some form—if not this session, then next session.

A Time to Lead

The financial crisis calls on utilities to invest in America’s future.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

True story: At the dinner table recently, my 11 year-old son—who’s running for 6th grade student council—bemoaned the arguments he’s having with other candidates. I asked what they’re arguing about, and he said “Everything.” “Oh really? What’s your position on the mortgage bailout.” “It sucks!” he blurted. I countered, “But if we don’t do it, the financial system will collapse.”

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