Power Lines Blog

Saving the Monarch Butterfly: In the Spirit of Public Power

saving-the-monarch-butterfly-thumbnail

Through voluntary action, industry and communities can help to restore pollinator habitats and avoid having the monarch butterfly placed on the endangered species list. It is not that expensive or difficult to be part of the solution if we can engage communities to take action — and who better to leverage their positive relationships with their communities than public power?

Read More

Community solar garden captures innovation award for Moorhead, Minnesota

moorhead-solar-garden

Moorhead Public Service, based in Minnesota, recently received the Energy Innovator Award from APPA for giving residents what they want: clean solar power. The award-winning, 40-kilowatt (kW) Capture the Sun Community Solar Garden went online in 2015, after public outreach indicated strong support for more solar options.

Read More

FTC can offer guidance on solar power, but should be cautious on intervention

Washington-Report-Thumbnail

When it comes to solar power and consumer protection issues, the Federal Trade Commission can offer helpful guidance to the power sector and other key players on conduct that may raise red flags for the commission, but the FTC should be cautious about intervening in specific cases, the American Public Power Association recently suggested in comments to the FTC.

Read More

Make Your Mark: The case for marketing and advertising at community utilities

34-Make-You-Mark-on-Marketing-Thumbnail

Strategic marketing and advertising for your utility provides many powerful benefits to your entire public power community. Sponsored community banners, special events, bill stuffers, educational materials, presence at neighborhood meetings and digital interaction with videos and social media can pack a lot of punch without cracking your utility’s annual budget.

Read More

Five Myths About Pay That Are Killing Your Utility

5-Myths-About-Pay-7-29-16-Thumbnail

Public power decision makers are constantly evaluating the costs and benefits of capital investments and equipment. However, hiring the right drivers is often based on emotion or politics. Utilities that take a logical, measured approach to hiring and pay experience better performance. It isn’t just about money — it’s really about the allocation of limited resources.

Read More

Protecting The Code: A Decade of Leadership in Safety

Mike-on-10-Years-of-NESC-Thumbnail

In 2006, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers asked that I throw my hat into the ring to become chair of the National Electrical Safety Code. I was flattered to be considered for this lofty position to chair both the main and executive committees of “The Code,” but I wondered how I could ever handle chairing this utility-focused, industry consensus code for two full five-year cycles. Ten years as chair seemed at the time to be more of a prison sentence than an opportunity. However, I jumped in willingly, because they believed in me.

Read More

Grid Security Funding, Electric Vehicles MOU

Washington-Report-Thumbnail

There were two major pieces of news in July involving the American Public Power Association and the Department of Energy. The DOE said it will provide APPA with funding for member utility physical and cyber security efforts. Separately, the association and the DOE signed a memorandum of understanding related to electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure construction.

Read More

Capacity Markets Don’t Perform, Data Fails to Inform

Elise-on-PJM-Thumbnail-7-18-16

Mandatory electricity capacity “markets” operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and parts of the Midwest have cost electricity consumers more than $100 billion in less than ten years. These are NOT free markets; electric utilities and other load-serving entities in these regions must participate.

Read More