Let’s face it, regulators won’t let U.S. utilities die; they SHOULD update rules to better serve customers by allocating costs to those who benefit from them

The tally of utilities and governments around the world imposing or boosting fixed charges for grid-supplied electricity is rising to make up for the decline in traditional, rate-based revenue.  In the U.S. this has been due primarily to ever-improving energy efficiency and the end of year-to-year increases in electricity usage. Now, the demand curve looks […]

How much is a homeowner’s rooftop solar system worth to civil society?

How much value should owners of rooftop solar systems receive credit for in reducing their use — and the environmental impact — of utility-generated electricity?  That is THE question Minnesota is tackling, the first state ever to do so. It is one of the most closely-watched state energy initiatives in the U.S. because of the […]

Fast Fix: Opower’s 5 Universal Truths About Utility Customers – Do You Agree?

Customer Service Week hosted a discussion this morning with Opower‘s VP-Analytics Nancy Hersch and Customer Insights Senior Manager Lauren Llewellyn about five truths about utility customers the company is finding in its quantitative and qualitative research. Since early 2012, Opower has reached beyond North America conducting this research, working now with 90+ utilities around the […]

With demand response & distributed energy growing: how long will regulators preserve traditional utilities’ business models?

In the six months since a consultant to the Edison Electric Institute wrote a paper describing “Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business,” many utility officials, analysts, investors and consultants have been mulling over how investor-owned electric utilities may have to change principally due to the growth of demand […]

Southern California Edison’s smart grid progress provides valuable lessons for utilities

With more U.S. homes receiving smart meters and more utilities deploying their smart grid infrastructures, there are handful of utilities that have made notable progress with valuable lessons to share for the rest of the industry. I’m talking primarily about CenterPoint Energy in Houston, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern […]

If half of U.S. consumers don’t know what a ‘smart meter’ is, how are they supposed to engage?

That is perhaps the most interesting question raised by the latest “Consumer Pulse” research by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. In its third survey by the Collaborative of at least 1,000 consumers throughout the U.S. since 2011 reflecting the U.S. demographics, 54% of Americans who are heads of households and at least 18 years old […]

Energy ‘datapalooza’ draws more apps; know the cost of that old refrigerator?

The Obama administration threw a its third datathon (my word) this week dubbed the  “Energy Datapalooza.” It featured about 150 entrepreneurs, policymakers and software developers, among others, and aspired to offer ways to learn new ways to save energy and lower bills from what is supposed to be free and secure data. Government and private […]

Culture, talent, focus and customer service propelled Maryland’s Astrum Solar to #2 on Inc. list

Inc. magazine is out with the 2012 version of its fastest growing private U.S. companies. Astrum Solar of Annapolis Junction, Maryland landed the #2 spot by creating a culture, recruiting the talent, establishing a customer focus and securing utility capital to sell and lease solar electric systems to homeowners as good, or better, than any […]

Support for cleaner energy surcharges, carbon expectations, firms controlling their energy costs–Deloitte study

More companies are setting formal energy cost-cutting goals and in the process making energy management a strategic discipline. That is one dimension of Deloitte’s second annual survey designed to help executives make energy-related investment and business decisions. Conducted for Deloitte’s Center for Energy Solutions by the Harrison Group market research firm, the survey also found […]

Green Button approaching critical mass – 27 million households now getting access to their energy data

NOW, we’re getting somewhere with the Green Button Initiative. Nine investor-owned utilities from across the country have jumped on board enabling an updated total of about 27 million households to access their electricity usage data. This is a huge step forward for motivated consumers to better understand how they can save on their energy bills […]