Advertising Benefits for July/August
Bonus Distribution: DistribuTECH Brasil; HYDROVISION Brasil; GRIDWEEK
Value Added: AdImpact – Measures Exposure, Interest and Action Taken.
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Roundtable with Utility Customers: What do They Want From Their Utility?
“Customers Speak Up”
Utilities are focusing a lot of time on consumer engagement, but what do customers really want? This Q&A focuses on utility customers across the country. Do consumers want to be engaged? What do they know about their energy usage? Be sure to read Associate Editor Jennifer Van Burkleo’s article to learn exactly what customers want.
Author: Jennifer Van Burkleo, Associate Editor
Trees represent the largest cause of outages during routine and exceptional weather events, making it critical for utilities to have a solid, comprehensive vegetation management plan. John Peters, of Asplundh, discusses the industry’s response to the “new normal” in extreme weather emergencies and how vegetation management fits into the various pre-storm hardening efforts, as well as post-storm response strategies.
Vegetation Management Sidebar
“Chemical Side Trimming Gaining Traction in Utility Market”
Unwanted trees can challenge vegetation managers who are trying to provide reliable power to customers by keeping vegetation cleared back from power lines and rights of way. Dow AgroSciences’ Travis Rogers writes about the options chemical side trimming offers when it comes to tree maintenance.
“Promoting Growth: Six Steps to Advancing Hydropower Development”
Coordination among agencies involved in hydroelectric project licensing can add considerable cost and difficulty to the process and sometimes can discourage new development. J. Mark Robinson, a former director of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office of Energy Projects, proposes six steps that could simplify the process and turn attention back to hydro.
Renewable Energy and the Grid
“Demonstrating Fast Demand Response and Integrating Intermittent Renewable Energy”
In its first year, Hawaiian Electric Co.’s fast demand response pilot has demonstrated the value of fast demand response to customers and utilities. Nearly 30 percent of the initial customer target list has been contacted, with 7 MW of load identified as potential leads and more than 2.7 MW of load expected to come through. Authors Yvette Yuen Maskrey, with Honeywell Smart Grid Solutions, and Earl Ifuku with Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc., describe the technical incentives needed for program success, including adequate budget funding to provide technical upgrades in buildings.
“Mitigating Solar Intermittency Using Energy Storage on a Utility Distribution System”
The increasing proliferation of distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) generation on the utility electrical distribution systems is introducing new power system dynamics that challenge how utility systems are configured to economically maintain circuit power quality and reliability. To address these challenges, utilities are increasingly considering new technologies, such as energy storage, deployed in new applications on the distribution system. Dan Sowder with Duke Energy writes about Duke’s innovative substation based energy storage system that’s designed to mitigate the rapid power fluctuations introduced to the distribution circuit by 1.2 MW of solar PV some three miles from the substation.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND DR
Commercial Customers, Smart Grid and Energy Efficiency
“Best Practices for Large-scale Enterprise Energy Management Systems”
As pressures mount to further reduce costs and carbon emissions, most industries seek to increase energy efficiency through sustainability programs. For many manufacturing companies, substantial results from energy and carbon-reduction programs remain elusive; for others, the savings achieved are often short-lived. Faced with these challenges, manufacturers must understand the obstacles that prevent companies from achieving their sustainability objectives and to learn and implement proven best practices already being deployed at successful companies. Ameresco’s Bruce McLeish and Jay Zoellner discuss best practices and benefits of large-scale energy management systems for commercial and industrial manufacturing companies.
Customer Service Reps’ Changing Roles
By talking customers through electric and natural gas usage, department representatives act as energy efficiency consultants, helping customers brainstorm ways to reduce their energy load and bills. Customer service also has increased its availability—and reduced call wait times—during major storm and outage events by enlisting temps and implementing a triage system for customer calls. Lisa Desrochers, of Unitil, describes the team effort to maintain and boost job satisfaction through programs and efforts designed to celebrate and appreciate employees.
Customer Service Reps Changing Roles
Are Field Techs the New Customer Service Reps?
Field technicians often are the only face-to-face contact a customer has with a utility. In the customer’s eyes, he’s the utility representative and should be able to resolve problems. Now that many customers have options to switch utility providers, the potential impact of field technicians on the customer experience is compounded. By empowering field employees to be technicians and customer service representatives, utilities can create more positive experiences for customers. Assaf Morag, with TOA Technologies, provides pointers about how utilities can create more transparency and open communication with customers through field technicians.
"Transitioning From First to Next-generation AMI"
Automated metering in utility operations began years ago with remote meter reading, followed by advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and commercial implementations of fixed networks for communicating to metering devices. These devices morphed into more than meters for measuring energy consumption as they became smarter with the injection of additional functionalities. Investments in fixed-network automatic meter reading and AMI typically are approached as singular, large investment projects in which a utility makes a one-time investment, deploys the new technology and extracts the benefits over 10 to 20 years. Black &Veatch’s Jeffrey Buxton discusses how this might be changing as the pace of technology changes.
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