Data gathering and controllability offer the quickest path to reliability.
What's causing price volatility, and will it last?
Coal markets have changed dramatically in the last year, but uncertainty lingers over how permanent the changes will be. After relative stability in the 1990s, coal markets, like other energy commodities, have become increasingly volatile, although high prices should not be confused with increased volatility.
The technology behind demand-side response.
Across the country, policy-makers are working with both federal and state legislators and regulators to define policies and laws that will impact how utilities do business in the coming years. One policy receiving much attention right now may require electric utilities to offer voluntary demand-response programs to their customers. Demand-response programs allow customers to voluntarily adjust their daily energy usage in a manner that is acceptable with their needs.
How will the industry change in the future?
The utility industry of the future can be best characterized by three words: scale, synergies, and automation. Company leaders and the broader workforce will be touched by these three forces for change. We can already see glimpses of the future around us today. In response to the sweep of deregulation, many power companies no longer generate power. They have divested themselves of their generating plants, ceding that ground to independent producers to concentrate on distribution.
How IT can allow utilities to invest in customers-and even improve returns-without breaking the bank.
A high quality customer information system (CIS) at a utility company can build revenue streams and promote customer loyalty. But while those are admirable goals, it is not that simple to wade through all the various CIS systems and figure out what a company needs in order to achieve those benefits.
Utilities are finding strategic benefits in demand-based metering technologies.
It's been years since utilities regarded customers as mere check-writing extensions of their meters. In fact, utilities' information technology focus during the past decade has centered on gaining greater control over customer information. The objective: Focus on-and fill-customer needs. The results are everywhere:
Reliability demands will drive automation investments.
In the days and weeks following Aug. 14, 2003, politicians scrambled to assess blame for the blackouts that plagued the United States and Canada.
Even today, as the blame game proceeds, the precise cause of the grid's collapse remains uncertain. But Republicans, Democrats, and the utility industry alike seem to agree on one thing: the U.S. power grid needs major investment.
The industry continues to debate the costs and technology of automated meter reading, even as some regulators insist on immediate implementation.
It's Now or Never for Power Line Broadband