Power Lines Blog

Planes, trains & automobiles: coast to coast

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My last two weeks have been spent in planes, trains and automobiles. I have been in upstate New York, Southern California, and New York City. Public power systems across the country should be paying close attention to what is going on in New York and California, to glean lessons learned. We should be incorporating new ways to serve our customers when it makes sense to do so. The hardest task is distinguishing between the fads and the trends.

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Firehouse chili and energy efficiency in Ohio

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This week I traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to speak at American Municipal Power’s Annual Conference. AMP is a large joint action agency, serving public power distribution utilities (and a number of joint action agencies) in 7 states. AMP is very forward thinking—they’re developing a diversified portfolio of power supply resources (natural gas, coal, new run-of-the-river hydro, wind and distribution level solar), and running an innovative energy efficiency program.

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On the bleeding edge of technology

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The subject of smart grid technology came up. One APPA member utility said that the benefit to customers from installing this technology has not penciled out, given the associated costs. And they were frank to say that they preferred to wait a bit, to see how “early adopters” of this technology fared, rather than make an expensive investment that might turn out to have, as we now say, “issues.”

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