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.
Electric Power Research Institute
For Public Utilities Fortnightly's 75th Anniversary CEO issue, the magazine looked to the horizon and asked these new captains about the planned course for their companies, and for an entire industry.
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 grid does not need a Marshall Plan for new investment.
We don't know what caused the Aug. 14 blackout, but somehow we know that our transmission system needs $50 billion to $100 billion in investment and upgrades. And utilities need higher returns to raise that kind of money. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons.
The reality is that we aren't short $50 billion or $100 billion in our transmission system. The study said to support that proposition just doesn't do the job.
Has the Aug. 14 blackout finally made it more than a pipe dream?
Former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson ticked off a whole lot of people in the industry when he pronounced the United States a superpower with "a Third World electricity grid."
Yet while debate continues about the causes of the Northeast blackout, there's no arguing that the majority of transmission and distribution in this country is controlled via mechanical technology largely developed in the 1950s.
FERC should consider a two-part tariff to boost transmission investment.
Transmission, rather than generation, is generally the constraint preventing customers from getting the power they desire.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) appointed Thomas A. Leach to a two-year term on its Consumers Advisory Council. Leach is the business manager and financial secretary of Local Union 126, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.