Power Lines Blog

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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How Utilities Can Use Solar to Reduce Congestion and Save Costs


Distributed utility-scale solar allows utilities to locate electricity generation close to where the loads are heaviest. If you put a PV system near your heaviest users — factories, high-population areas, or heavily loaded substations — you can reduce transmission costs, boost voltage, and improve power quality. Take advantage of the solar revolution to benefit your customers and community.

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Survival of Clean Power Plan under a Trump administration looms as a question


President-elect Donald J. Trump has promised to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, eliminate the Waters of the United States final rule, and make other changes in the nation’s energy sector, including withdrawing from the international climate change accord that was reached in Paris, France, in December 2015.

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High Schoolers as Energy Conservation Ambassadors


E-Tracker, an innovative high school energy education program funded by the American Public Power Association’s DEED program, educates future customers about how the weather influences their families’ electricity bills. Discover how the program is improving customer satisfaction and building goodwill in 13 North Carolina communities. E-Tracker is a favorite among teachers, students, and utility staff — see how your utility can replicate the success.

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Six Tips to Celebrate the Holidays in Your Public Power Community


Your community service ethic is most apparent around the holidays. This time of year is perfect for reminding your customers who you are as a public power utility and why you do what you do. Here are six tips for celebrating “the most wonderful time of the year” in your community, based on what other utilities like yours have done over the years. Tell us what you’re doing to celebrate and share on social media with #PublicPower.

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