Burying power lines could double current electricity rates – depends on who pays

What is it that public officials and ratepayers don’t get about burying power lines? This is an enormously expensive undertaking that would significantly drive up the rates everyone pays for electricity. Is it worth it? I strongly doubt it. Even so, utilities should not hide behind cost estimates to obfuscate their performance in restoring power. […]

Outage outrage — lessons from derecho storm: heed the worst case outcome

For the more than 5 million customers who saw their power wiped out by the so-called “derecho” storm that swept across six states in the upper Midwest and Mid-Atlantic U.S. June 29, there was little if anything energy and telecommunications companies did to minimize the damage, the 22-person death toll and political fallout. Like it […]

Consumer energy data from the ‘Green Button’: how long before adoptions match the hype?

The White House wants it. Some California utilities get it. But will more than a few U.S. utilities sign on to help ratepayers better understand how they use electricity with one-click access to their data? One year after the Obama Administration began talking about the idea, and in the roughly six months since it formally […]

Engaging consumers about smart grid apps: face-to-face better than Facebook

From the successes, hiccups and outright failures of utilities trying to deploy smart grid applications, those worth emulating are few. As previous posts on TheEnergyFix demonstrate, Southern California Edison is widely hailed for rolling out programs that are working. So is Oklahoma Gas & Electric. Another success story to emulate is the “PowerCents DC” effort […]

Pepco customers in Washington, DC area: listen and laugh to this before Hurricane Irene wipes out power

If you live in Washington, DC or the close-in Maryland counties, treat yourself to this melody by the “Morning Majority House Band”  on WMAL 630 AM radio about an extended power outage likely to wipe out electricity for area Pepco customers due to Hurricane Irene. Even if you don’t live there, read and listen and […]

Matching smart grid apps to customer lifestyles

Among the lessons emerging from various utility pilot programs around the country where homeowners respond to dynamic pricing and demand reduction incentives is this pre-requisite: to change behavior utilities need to truly e-n-g-a-g-e their customers. And the most effective way to accomplish that is to be sure the utility has a large stockpile of customer […]

It’s time for all utilities to buy electricity under power purchase agreements

Power purchase agreements – aka “PPAs” – are an established tool for spreading the cost of energy over 20 years or longer as a means of ensuring a revenue stream for renewable energy project developers, stabilizing and predicting energy costs and displacing dirty coal with cleaner sources of electricity. The time has come in just […]