Skip to main content
Tag

public utilities fortnightly

From 1985 With Lov(ins) – Prescient Predictions

By Energy Rant No Comments
As I get older, I’m more interested in old stuff, especially how our ancestors lived, the challenges they faced, and the technologies they used. As I mentioned last week, our ancestors needed to be more creative than we are today. They had to use their brains or work tirelessly to serve customers to be successful (some of this is still required today). Today, we simply make an algorithm to grind numbers to optimize processes. Compare the toil and ingenuity required to launch and  build Facebook compared to Boeing, Ford, IBM, McDonald’s or Hilton. The efforts and ingenuity required to build...
Read More

From Crazy to Rational; Slow or Fast(er)?

By Energy Rant One Comment
We’re picking up where I left off a couple weeks ago with the dead kWh. That post was based on the Public Utilities Fortnightly article, cleverly titled, The Kilowatt Hour is Dead – Don’t Send Flowers. For that, I focused on whether or not customers will get involved and make a significant impact on a boring 1.3% of their life expense. That 1.3% is the slice taken up by electricity costs of the average consumer. This time, I'm training my laser on an old-school thought from utilities AS EXPLAINED BY[1] the author, Mark Gabriel, the CEO of the Western Area...
Read More

The Kilowatt-Hour is Dead, Eh?

By Energy Rant One Comment
The subject line is a response to a recent article in Public Utilities Fortnightly, written by Mark Gabriel, the Administrator and CEO of the Western Area Power Administration. Mr. Gabriel[1] discusses what he sees coming for the utility industry. I am sure he is far more qualified to predict the future than I am, but I can provide my Lilliputian commentary in response to his projections. I may be playing a little loose with Mark’s article, but he seems to indicate the utility industry is on the verge of upheaval. He states the stalwart concerns of utilities, including the strength...
Read More

Untold Story of Disappearing Energy Jobs

By Energy Rant No Comments
On the subject of electricity generation sources and price, I’ve been reading numerous articles from various bona fide sources and started connecting dots. Public Utilities Fortnightly (PUF) has written about historically low electricity prices, as a percent of GDP or household spending, numerous times in the past year. Electricity price escalation has not kept pace with the consumer price index. As of last August, Steve Mitnick, of PUF shared data, which I plotted on the chart below. A year ago, I wrote about this topic as well in Low Electricity Prices - For How Long?. In that post, I explained...
Read More

Electric Utility Meet Amazon.com; Legislators Wake Up

By Energy Rant One Comment
This post, and the next couple, were spawned by an article written by John Hargrove in the latest edition of Public Utilities Fortnightly. The article’s title is, Utilities Can Do More to Partner with Customers. There may even be a follow-up to this article a few months from now. Wink. Wink. Anyone interested in this blog knows big changes are happening in the electric utility industry. For instance, I could write a series of posts on each of the following: State and federal subsidies are loading the grid with micro to utility-scale distributed energy resources, namely wind and solar photovoltaic...
Read More

Reverse Diversification Coming to a Utility Near You

By Energy Rant One Comment
In my Personal Finance class as an undergraduate, our instructor used the term diworsification[1] for large stalwart companies. Diworsification occurs when a company buys another company it knows nothing about and isn’t complimentary to the core business. Utilities got into this in the wild west days of 1990s deregulation, buying telecommunication and even real estate companies. That didn’t end well, and they went back to their core business of the regulated monopoly. In recent years we have experienced a reverse diversification of our power supply – namely in the reliable, conventional, thermal power plant sector. We still get almost half...
Read More
Wind Production Tax Credit

Capacity Market v Energy Market – What’s the Diff?

By Energy Rant 3 Comments
We are taking a break from exergy this week, and we are going to examine what is happening in distorted electricity markets around the country. This will be somewhat of a sequel to Regulating Deregulation and Wind's Other Big Subsidy. Too much of a good thing, or as they say, unintended consequences, is pushing the grid in some places toward instability. By the way, I scoff at the term “unintended consequences.” There are only two types of consequences: intended and ignorant ones. Utility Dive notes that Texas (Electricity Reliability Council of Texas – ERCOT) and the Southwest Power Pool are...
Read More

Energy and Demand Resource Soup

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
The AESP 2017 National Conference is in the rear view mirror. While I was, unfortunately, not able to attend many sessions, most of that time was spent talking with a lot of people. I absorbed a lot of information and hopefully some wisdom. This post discusses the increasingly complex and intertwined electric grid. Shifting Role to Grid Managers My findings from the conference jive with a recent article I read in Public Utilities Fortnightly (PUF). The subject of that article was the Power of Innovation, a utility executive’s roundtable that included representatives from Edison International, Exelon, Duke Energy, Oncor, Southern...
Read More
Business Triangles

Investing in Utilities

By Energy Rant No Comments
Most readers have likely seen the business triangle: cheap, fast, good [or accurate]; pick two. My first emotional reaction to the triangle was that it was something a lazy bum[1] would say. However, as a geezer, I think the law is valid for consulting. I will explain this in a future post. For utilities, it would be something else; maybe cheap, constant, yes. Those are the price, time, and quality attributes of utility delivery. For utilities, the term “constant” represents reliability. The term “yes” represents quality or accuracy. In this case, 60 Hertz and the applicable constant voltage. I explained...
Read More

Low Electricity Prices – Impacts and Longevity

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
As I’m sitting here reading about topics including electricity prices, electric cars, and utility innovation in Public Utilities Fortnightly, it occurs to me: why are so many organizations and companies in the utility industry named after Edison when the electric car company is named after Tesla? This makes no sense, whatsoever. Edison was the vehement direct current[1] advocate, and Tesla was the alternating current[2] advocate. They were fierce rivals. But the car uses Edison’s direct current, while the utilities, of course, produce and deliver Tesla’s alternating current. I can only conclude that Edison was a better marketer, but I’ll bet...
Read More