Power Lines Blog

What public power can learn from Down Under

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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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10 tips to secure customer data

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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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From cable TV to Netflix: lessons for electric utilities

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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?

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Who will distribute distributed energy resources?

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The electric utility industry often experiences episodes of marked change, during which operating practices and market structures are challenged, reconsidered, and sometimes transformed into fundamentally different business and regulatory models. We’re in the middle of such an episode now. The current change is driven largely by the growth of distributed energy resources — solar, wind, energy storage, etc. — as environmental concerns increase and as consumers want more of a say in how their energy needs are met.

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Smart meters are smart about privacy

Since 2012, utilities in the United States have set up more than 43 million Advanced Meter Installations (AMI), aka “smart meters” in homes and businesses, and more such meters are being installed every day. Why smart meters? What can they do and not do? Do they threaten your privacy? Do they give others control over how you use electricity? Let’s find out.

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