Power Lines Blog

10 Tips: Keep Customers Secure With Grid Modernization

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Utilities well know that some customers are uncomfortable with utilities — or anyone for that matter — possessing fine levels of information about their lives. But more information means more benefits for everyone, customers included. Granular data means customers can better see their energy use patterns and find ways not only to save energy, but to save money.

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Powering A Better Community — Utility Starts Free Bike Share

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River Falls Municipal Utilities has led a community effort to launch a free bike share program in town on Earth Day. This is what public power can do to serve the community. We strive to improve because we’re owned and operated by people who live in this community. There will be no kilowatt hours saved nor will we deploy the latest technology. It’s simply a fun, collaborative project that just might make our town a better place and demonstrate our commitment to innovation.

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Electric Capacity Markets Are Failing the Northeast

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The Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions face serious challenges in maintaining reliability as a result of electricity capacity markets that are rife with problems. These markets actually impede the creation of new power resources — especially renewables — to meet future demand, while costing customers billions of dollars.

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Microgrids: A Solution in Search of a Problem?

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At the first sign of trouble, our community decides to disconnect from the broader grid. Why worry — we live on our own little microgrid with a limitless supply of electricity, right? The problem is that when we disconnect from the main grid, the collective amount of generation in our microgrid is suddenly unable to supply 100 percent of load.

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What’s at stake for public power in the electric utility case before the Supreme Court?

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The cases involve an important issue for APPA and its members: state and local control of generation resource planning and procurement. In an era of increasing federal regulation and technological change, it is important to understand why such local control remains good public policy and should be preserved.

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Managing Energy Demand for Smart Savings and Happy Customers

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Utilities are rolling out smart thermostats, prepay, and behavioral programs to educate and engage customers while giving them more choice and control. Utilities that offer value-added energy efficiency and demand response programs have a better chance of building relationships and trust with their customers. Customers are more likely to turn to these utilities for their energy-related needs.

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Last Word: Slow and Steady

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In Westerville, Ohio, the utility’s 5 year (and counting) grid modernization project is still going. Expected to wrap up in 2018, the project’s original timeline was extended by a vocal minority of customers who were uncomfortable with smart meters and made sure the city council heard them. The delay caused the utility to forfeit more than $4 million in federal grant funding. But in hindsight, the utility’s leader, Andy Boatright, sees the process as a slow and steady triumph.

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Teeing Up Net Metering & Capacity Markets During Energy Bill Pause

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The Senate has temporarily paused the passage of the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, S. 2012. Many issues of concern for public power remain in the bill. APPA will take full advantage of this “pause” to advocate to keep decision making on distributed generation local, and to preserve our right to self-supply generation in mandatory capacity markets.

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Cyber Threats Are On the Rise: Are You Covered?

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Cybersecurity sits across the enterprise with numerous stakeholders, no longer only the domain of the IT department. The emergence of cybersecurity as a governance issue that must be addressed by the board of directors is redefining the role of cyber insurance. It’s no longer just a financial instrument to transfer risk. Cyber insurance and, more importantly, the underwriting process itself, can be the catalyst to drive a culture of collaboration between stakeholders in the organization.

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