Refining the business case for advanced distribution investments.
As utilities plan their capital budgets for the next few years, investments in advanced distribution systems face an uncertain future. Customers question the value—and propriety—of some programs, while long-term strategic goals depend on seamless integration. What will be the path forward for smart grid technology?
A purposeful approach to setting energy prices.
Changes in regulatory requirements, market structures, and operational technologies have introduced complexities that traditional ratemaking approaches can’t address. Poorly designed rates lead to cross-subsidies, inequitable outcomes, and perverse incentives. An objective-based approach can better communicate costs to customers in a way that better serves operations and policy goals.
Can time-of-use rates drive the behavior of electric vehicle owners?
Time-of-use (TOU) pricing might seem like the ultimate solution to ensure electric vehicle charging loads won’t overburden the grid. But will TOU rates guide drivers’ behavior when it’s time to top up their batteries? Early indicators suggest the answer varies among vehicle owners and pricing plans.
Building a business case around smart grid data.
Much has been said about the smart grid’s potential for transforming the utility business. But while the industry has focused on technology, process and organization, another factor—data—likely will prove to be a key transformational driver. Benefits for utilities and their customers depend on how effectively companies make use of a torrent of new and powerful data.
Real-world projects show tangible returns.
Much is riding on successful smart-grid deployments. Experiences at several utilities demonstrate the costs and benefits of today’s automation technologies.
Grid upgrades spark an interactivity revolution.
The smart grid is opening the floodgates on customer data, just as consumers are getting comfortable with retail self-service and mobile apps. With dynamic rates, distributed generation and electric vehicles just around the corner, big changes are coming in the utility-customer relationship. Will IOUs let upstarts control the new energy market?
Engaging customers will require more than TOU pricing.
Imagine a setback thermostat programmed at the factory that the consumer couldn’t modify. Who would want this device? You could give the customer a big enough discount to get her to accept the device, but she would be happier and you could save about as much energy if the customer could decide on the temperature and time settings.
Two utilities win customer support for dynamic pricing and demand response.
If the recent backlash against California’s proposed new building codes proves anything, it’s that ratepayers won’t buy into the smart-metering concept by themselves. The industry will have to sell it. How then should electric utilities, municipals and cooperatives go about introducing smart grid technologies? Two major utilities—Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) and Southern California Edison—are in the early stages of doing just that
State-policy turmoil reshapes utility markets.
As many states move toward re-regulation, we speak to commissioners in Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia to learn how policies are evolving—and how far the regulatory shakeup will go
New federal policies portend a wave of demand-response programs, and perhaps a new era in resource planning.
When President Bush signed the energy bill on August 8, he set in motion a chain of events that might lead to major changes in the way utilities price and meter retail electric services—and ultimately in the way they value and use non-traditional energy resources.