Power Lines Blog

Staffing Strike Zone: Pitch with Customer and Revenue Data

Alex-on-Turning-Ratios-into-Metrics-Thumbnail

The right staffing level at a utility is a moving target that depends on many factors like service territory size and services offered. However, we can loosely define the “strike zone” by looking at national data and trends. Our analysis of data from more than 800 public power utilities can help you better understand the typical relationship between staffing levels, customer count, and revenue class.

Read More

Super Bowl 50 by the numbers: 100+ million viewers, $5 million commercials, two teams, one public power utility

34-SVP-and-the-Super-Bowl-Thumbnail-2-5-16

On the evening of December 19, 2011, the San Francisco 49ers were preparing for the final home game of the season in their 40th year in Candlestick Park. As tailgating fans began cascading into the stadium to watch their home team, a PG&E transformer exploded and the stadium went dark. Crews scrambled to get everything back to normal quickly – this was, after all, the marquee Monday Night Football game for the week – and their efforts were successful as power was restored after only delaying kickoff by 20 minutes.

Read More

From Cable TV to Netflix: Lessons for Electric Utilities

From-Cable-TV-to-Netflix-Thumbnail-1-26-16

Let’s face it: the electric utility business isn’t typically seen as high tech or innovative. But new technologies ranging from the internet of things to rooftop solar and real-time demand response are significantly impacting utility services. Cable television is also experiencing significant change on account of new technologies that customers can directly access. Is there anything electric utilities can learn from cable TV?

Read More

Supreme Court affirms FERC’s demand response compensation rules

34-Washington-Report-Thumbnail

The U.S. Supreme Court in January affirmed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s rules for demand response compensation in wholesale energy markets run by regional transmission organizations and independent system operators. The high court in a 6-2 decision reversed and remanded the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit judgment that set aside FERC’s Order No. 745.

Read More

Demystifying Self-supply and Other Arcane Electricity Market Concepts

Demystifying Self-supply and Other Arcane Electricity Market Concepts

Where there are no RTO-operated capacity markets, utilities either build their own generation or enter into contracts with generators to buy adequate capacity, keeping prices low for customers. These utilities are able to provide a reliable supply of electricity at a reasonable cost. There is no evidence that capacity markets are necessary. Instead, they primarily serve to create windfall profits for certain merchant generation owners.

Read More

Celebrate the Splendor of the Season While Avoiding Holiday Hazards

12 Dangers of Christmas Graphic

While the holiday season is considered the most “wonderful time of the year,” it’s important to keep in mind that it’s also the most dangerous time of the year for home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments respond to an annual average of 210 home fires that begin with Christmas trees and an additional 860 home fires per year that begin with holiday decorations.

Read More

Key senators seek GAO review of capacity markets

34-Washington-Report-Thumbnail

The Government Accountability Office is being asked by Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., to report back to the lawmakers on a wide variety of issues related to the operation of capacity markets run by regional grid operators.

Among other things, Murkowski and Cantwell said that they are "concerned about the relationship of the increments of new capacity cleared in an auction and the increments of new capacity actually installed."

Read More