Demand Response: Breaking Out of the Bubble

Using demand response to mitigate rate shocks.

In the minds of many policy-makers, DR has become associated with rate shocks, rate volatility, unpredictability, and loss of control over energy costs—the very things DR was designed to overcome. What can be done to change this?

Smart Grid, Smart Utility

The intelligent-grid vision is becoming clearer as utilities take incremental steps toward a brighter future.

Building the intelligent grid will require less technical innovation than it does strategic innovation—a characteristic not typically ascribed to U.S. regulated utilities. But the utility culture is changing—by necessity, if not by choice.

Letters to the Editor

(December 2006) Charles A. King, California ISO: “Kicked Off and On Schedule” reasonably captures many of the implementation issues and stakeholder concerns surrounding the California Independent System Operator Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade program. However, I was somewhat disappointed that the article offered few details about the benefits MRTU will provide.

AMI/Demand Response: For Real This Time?

Smart metering is coming of age. Is the utility world ready for it?

Some states, including Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas, have been considering smart-metering questions as part of rate cases and resource-planning discussions. Other states, such as Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, and Virginia, have initiated EPACT Section 1252 inquiries separately from other proceedings. The tenor of the discussion also varies from state to state, with high-cost power states generally more attracted to AMI than low-cost states are.

East Vs. West: Growing the Grid

The models and motives behind tomorrow’s transmission expansion.

Major transmission projects based on two distinct models are showing signs of life. What can these projects teach us about future transmission investment?

Special Section On Metering: Thinking Smart

Legislation and technology developments give a jump-start to smart metering

What a difference a year makes. In 2004, automated metering infrastructure (AMI) was in something of a slump, but the Energy Policy Act of 2005, an uptick in natural disasters, and encouraging results from pilot projects have strengthened the business case for investing in AMI.

What a difference a year makes.

In 2004, the automated metering industry was in something of a slump. After the 2003 Northeast blackout, and facing rising gas prices and diminished investor confidence during a time of war, many utilities put automated meter reading (AMR) on the back burner.

Special Section On Metering: Needed in New England: Stronger Market Connections, Savvier Electricity Usage

The region’s retail and wholesale electricity markets should be linked via dynamic pricing.

The time has come to start the transition from the current economic demand-response programs to demand response that arises naturally through market-based retail pricing.

Over the past few decades, utility sponsored conservation and load-management programs have helped thousands of customers better manage their energy costs. While these programs have helped lower overall electricity use, they generally have not provided an economic incentive for customers to reduce their consumption at specific times in response to wholesale electricity prices.

Market Resurgence

Banks are reshaping the energy-trading landscape. When the dust settles, utility companies will face different strategic horizons.

Utility executives face volatile energy markets, skyrocketing fuel prices, and changing federal energy policies. How are utilities benefiting from the turnaround in energy trading?

Encore for Negawatts?

Congress renews PURPA’s call for conservation and load management, but the world has changed since the 1970s.

The “N-word” in the title first appeared in this journal more than 20 years ago, courtesy of the celebrated environmentalist Amory Lovins and his widely quoted piece, “Saving Gigabucks with Negawatts” (Fortnightly, 1985). Scroll forward a few decades. With restructuring of wholesale electric markets at FERC, plus formation of regional transmission organizations and independent system operators, the game was changed.