Power Lines Blog

Five Tips for Leveraging Sponsorships in a Public Power Community


I know what you’re thinking: “Our utility doesn’t have money to throw at community sponsorships. And even if we did, we wouldn’t be able to support every worthy cause in town. And if we did spend money on sponsorships, our customers would overwhelm our call center asking why we are spending money rather than lowering their bills.”
These are all valid concerns. Community sponsorships are not something to be taken lightly or decided upon in a knee-jerk way. Instead, they should be a strategic decision based on careful consideration with a goal of measurable impact.

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Build Your Own Newsroom; Build Customer Trust


It’s getting harder to connect with customers through traditional news media and outreach. Engage with them directly by creating a digital newsroom, where you share your own articles, photos and videos through a journalistic lens and deliver relevant, honest, and credible content. Custom content is 92 percent more effective than traditional TV advertising at increasing awareness and 168 percent more powerful at driving preference.

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Five Things You May Not Know about Cybersecurity in Electricity


The electric utility sector is the only critical infrastructure sector that has mandatory and enforceable standards for cybersecurity. Public power believes the current regulations and standards established by Congress in 2005 provide a solid foundation for strengthening the industry’s security posture. These standards are dynamic. Close coordination among industry and government partners at all levels is essential to deter attacks and prepare for emergency situations.

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Distributed Generation Works When We Keep Decisions Local


Electric utilities and their customers are increasingly integrating distributed generation including solar. State and localities are in the best position to determine how to promote these technologies and ensure that rates paid for distributed generation take into account the costs of maintaining and operating the distribution network. The federal government should not seek to impose a one-size-fits-all approach to rate design.

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A Lineworker’s Twitter Takeover: Ten Tips for Engagement


We said, let’s get a lineworker to take over JEA’s Twitter account for one day — post live videos, answer frequently asked questions, and offer a behind-the-scenes look at their work. Customers wonder what lineworkers do, and often have misconceptions. We wanted to clear those and also increase our engagement numbers on Twitter. We received more than 20,000 impressions on the day of the Twitter takeover.

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What Public Power Can Learn from Down Under


In November 2016, we had the great opportunity to represent the American Public Power Association in a fact-finding mission to Australia. We tried throughout the trip to think about what small public power systems might pursue as a “no regrets” approach to distributed generation and AMI. What we saw reinforced that small public power utilities in the U.S. first and foremost to get their ratemaking right. 

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New Generation Capacity in 2015: Is the Increase in Merchant Generation Capacity a Positive Development?


Since 2011, the Association has been conducting analyses of the financial arrangements behind new electric generation facilities constructed each year. In past years, the vast majority of new capacity was constructed under long-term bilateral contracts or utility or customer ownership, with almost no project developers choosing to rely on more volatile wholesale market revenues. But in 2015, that trend shifted significantly, with almost 20 percent of the new capacity constructed under merchant arrangements. (A merchant plant is one that is not owned by a utility or end-use customer, and does not have a long-term bilateral contract for the sale of the power. These plants earn their revenues entirely from the wholesale electricity markets.)

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General Manager Compensation Model: Are You Paying with the Pack?


Public power utilities generally pay less than investor owned electric utilities. Public power utilities need to pay at least the average of what the rest of the public power pays. Electric utility general managers have nationally transferable skill sets and could easily be lured away by others offering more competitive compensation. Looking at more than 100 public power utilities, the American Public Power Association built a model that can be used to benchmark the lower bound of GM pay — see how your utility lines up.

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