Fortnightly Magazine - September 2007

How to Achieve High Performance

Lessons from the top 40 utilities.

(September 2007) A senior executive at Accenture broadens the financial metrics behind the Fortnightly 40 to expound on the high performance behind this year’s ratings—and show the way for utilities aspiring to make the list in future years.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure Special Report: A Planning Guide for AMI

How to manage the metering selection process.

The complex process of selecting an AMI system takes considerable time, goes through distinct phases, and is subject to outside influences that will interrupt progress. The authors list several success factors that must be addressed to avoid the risks of poor choices, ruined budgets, and failed implementation.

Spaced Out

Geospatial applications are laying the groundwork for the next round of infrastructure development and customer interaction.

As utilities grapple with aging infrastructure and outage management, they are evaluating their GIS and considering the best way to keep up with the shifting demands of the electric-power industry.

Sub-Primed and Ready

Will the turmoil on Wall Street spur a massive flight to utilities?

There remains a concern that during the next economic downturn investors will pass on utilities again. The reason is that the industry’s risks are still opaque to investors.

People

(September 2007) DPL Inc. promoted Bryce Nickel to vice president of transmission and distribution operations. DPL also announced the promotion of Kevin Hall to director, transmission and distribution engineering. MDU Resources Group Inc. promoted Cynthia J. Norland, assistant vice president of administration, to vice president of administration. Portland General Electric Co. named Jay Dudley vice president, general counsel, and compliance officer. And others...

Letters to the Editor

A lengthy letter to the editor addresses whether the Energy Information Administration’s gas-market forecasts, as laid out in a recent article, are biased. The authors of the original piece, Timothy J. Considine and Frank A. Clemente, then respond to the letter.

Razing the Regulatory Compact

Smart-grid technologies will dismantle the regulated utility business model, says economist Lynne Kiesling.

When consultants start talking about creating new service models, the eyes of utility executives and regulators tend to glaze over. But that is destined to change, according to Lynne Kiesling, a Ph.D. economist and senior lecturer at Northwestern University. The primary reason: smart metering.

The Best Little Nodal Market in Texas

Sweating the details for 2009.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) introduced wholesale market competition in 1996, following the organizational change of ERCOT from a pure reliability council to an independent system operator (ISO) the same year. This makes ERCOT one of the earliest adopters of competitive electric markets. Stakeholders and regulators in ERCOT are trying to work out the details of implementing this market.

The Greening of Utility Customers

A survey finds that consumers would support higher costs of “clean coal” and alternative fuels.

More than three quarters of the consumers surveyed believe that alternative energy brought benefits, and a slight majority, 54 percent, would pay an additional 5 percent on their electric bills. The survey also found that 62 percent would be willing to pay higher rates to support “clean-coal” technologies

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