Power Lines Blog

Visiting the Land of Zion: Working Together in Public Power

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UMPA is another example of the strength that public power gains from working together to accomplish things that would be very hard for individual member utilities to do on their own. As our industry gets even more complex, and retail electric customers grow to expect an ever expanding array of services, working together through joint action agencies will be even more important to meet customer needs.

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Downton Abbey Energy Edition: Season Two

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The second installment of QER is focused specifically on the electricity sector, from generation to end use. I participated on a panel at the Feb. 4 meeting that addressed how the country can plan, build, maintain, and operate the appropriate amount of bulk power generation and transmission for future needs. I told my fellow panelists and audience members that I felt like I had been asked to appear in the opening episode of Season Two of the PBS hit series, Downton Abbey — “Energy Edition.” And I was only half-joking.

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Homegrown Makes a Difference

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It’s not uncommon on restaurant menus today to see where the ingredients in your meal are coming from: beets dug from a family farm in Virginia, pork pastured on a green field in South Carolina, blueberries from wild bushes in Maine. That menu might even tell you how many miles your food traveled to your plate, and the growing trend seems to be the closer the better. “Buy Local” is the buzz phrase — and those who do are called “locavores.” Maybe buying local should also be considered when it comes to power.

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The Annual Gathering of Public Power

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APPA staff has just gotten back from our 2015 National Conference in Minneapolis, which went from June 5 through 10. Our annual gathering is an opportunity to meet and learn from each other, and to remember why we do what we do. In the end, it really is all about the retail customers — providing them with reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible electric service. The ways we do that are going to change, but the mission will not.

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Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Public Power 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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Teach Them Public Power and Learn XBoxes

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Public power systems need to engage with their communities and highlight their contributions. But every bit as important is the education of our future retail customers. These young people need to understand just what it takes to produce and deliver their power. Kicking off that process with a “teachable moment” in the 5th grade is a great way to start.

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