Power Lines Blog

5 things you may not know about cybersecurity

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The electric utility sector is the only critical infrastructure sector that has mandatory and enforceable standards for cybersecurity. Public power believes the current regulations and standards established by Congress in 2005 provide a solid foundation for strengthening the industry’s security posture. These standards are dynamic. Close coordination among industry and government partners at all levels is essential to deter attacks and prepare for emergency situations.

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Keep distributed generation decisions local

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Electric utilities and their customers are increasingly integrating distributed generation including solar. State and localities are in the best position to determine how to promote these technologies and ensure that rates paid for distributed generation take into account the costs of maintaining and operating the distribution network. The federal government should not seek to impose a one-size-fits-all approach to rate design.

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A lineworker’s Twitter takeover

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We said, let’s get a lineworker to take over JEA’s Twitter account for one day — post live videos, answer frequently asked questions, and offer a behind-the-scenes look at their work. Customers wonder what lineworkers do, and often have misconceptions. We wanted to clear those and also increase our engagement numbers on Twitter. We received more than 20,000 impressions on the day of the Twitter takeover.

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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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Is increase in merchant generation capacity a positive?

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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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