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The 5 testing steps that allow utilities to roll out smart devices with confidence

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid devices, smart meters, connected home, home energy management, product testing, electric utilities
As utilities roll out new technologies, they sometimes find problems after the initial installations. That mistake can be costly and the negative publicity damaging. Guest contributor Angus Panton offers guidance to help utilities ensure that doesn’t happen: advance testing methods that can spot problems in meters and other devices before they’re delivered to customers.

Warning: California is rewriting the financial rules for utilities. Will your region be next?

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, policy and regulation, distributed energy, renewable energy, California Public Utilities Commission, electric utilities
The California Public Utilities Commission is rewriting requirements for how utilities value distributed energy resources. Guest author Tom Osterhus says the changes will bring new value opportunities, but will be dangerous for utilities that fail to adapt. Click to read his explanation of what those changes will look like and what their impact will likely be.

The 4 priorities that allow utilities to profit from the connected home market

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy management, smart homes, connected homes, smart grid strategy, customer engagement, electric utilities
New technologies are frequently viewed with suspicion in the utility industry. Consider the developing “connected home” market as an example. Guest contributor Angus Panton makes the case that the new market offers substantial growth opportunities for utilities… as long as they attend to four key issues early on.

Another expert writes a requiem for today's "traditional" utilities

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, electric utility business model, electric utility trends, distributed generation
One view of the future for electric grids and utilities is a scenario that includes two types of distribution utilities, one responsible for maintaining grid operations and another that will sell energy services. Click to read an explanation of one increasingly popular concept of the new utility model: “distribution service operators.”

What to do today to prepare for Big Change tomorrow (from a telecom veteran)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, Big Data, utility business model, utility transformation, smart grid strategy
With massive change coming in the utility business environment, it’s not hard to understand that figuring out how and where to begin to cope with it is a challenge. In the age of the data driven utility, guest author Thomas Zimmermann counsels utilities to take an incremental approach for the best outcome to what will be a major transformation.

The 5 essentials for better customer engagement

smart grid, modern grid, customer engagement, customer engagement srategy, electric utilities
Most utilities have customer engagement programs of some kind by now. But are they doing enough, doing it right? Guest author Martin Milani explains why a comprehensive strategy that cost-effectively engages customers across all touch points and programs is far better than stand-alone solutions. And he shares proven approaches for ensuring meaningful engagement.

What Disney can teach you about messaging to utility customers (yes, Disney)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, customer engagement, energy conservation, smart grid strategy, electric utilities
Persuading customers to get serious about conserving energy has been a tough nut for utilities to crack. But CEIVA Energy CEO Dean Schiller, a former Walt Disney executive, shares some refreshing and engaging thoughts (with examples) on how to get, and keep, customers’ attention.

Regulator / utility collaboration – the 3 states that do it best (and other tips for better relationships)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, policy and regulation, state regulators, smart grid strategy, electric utilities
It’s crucial, particularly in these challenging times, for utilities to be able to sit down and work with regulators. Nick Wagner, a member of the Iowa Utilities Board with a long list of additional credentials, shares his thoughts on why communicating with regulators early and often is so important… and how to go about it.

How to keep your smart meters safe from attack (and not just cyber-attacks)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart meters, smart grid security, cybersecurity, strategy, electric utilities
In the first installment of his two-part series, Kris Ardis of Maxim Integrated alerted you to seven serious threats to smart meter security and what their consequences could be. Now he’s back to share technology that can thwart those dangers.

7 serious smart meter security threats that do NOT involve hacking the network

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart meters, smart grid security, cybersecurity, cybersecurity strategy
In the first installment of a two-part series, Kris Ardis of Maxim Integrated defines smart meter security risks that don’t involve hacking into the utility network. They do involve the smart meter life cycle itself, and the possible consequences he describes are more than alarming.

Sure the utility business model is changing, but not so fast

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, utility business case, distributed generation, electric utilities
The changing utility business model has been the source of considerable debate and handwringing. Yes, there are plenty of challenges confronting utilities now, but is wholesale change really coming soon? Jared Anderson of Breaking Energy recently interviewed an expert on the topic, and he had some very interesting things to say.

Lessons for utilities: How Japan massively screwed up renewables

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, renewable energy, renewables, Japan, Germany
Japan made a series of bad choices in its efforts to adopt renewables, despite having plentiful solar, wind and geothermal resources. A recent blog post from the Rocky Mountain Institute draws what may be some surprising conclusions about what went wrong in Japan coupled with a comparison to Germany’s approach. Click for details.

Quinone-based batteries could reduce need for metals, but project costs are high

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, flow batteries, Lux Research
Battery costs must drop if the stationary energy storage market is to grow as hoped over the next few years. New technologies look like promising ways to get around the need for metals like vanadium, but two Lux Research analysts report that project costs remain a concern.

The next big smart grid race? It starts at the end of the driveway (the distribution transformer)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, distribution transformers, smart meters, grid optimization, electric utilities
The smart grid initiative has so far mostly been taken up with smart meters, and AMI has been regarded as the tool to enable the beginnings of a smart grid. But what’s next? Guest author Brett Sargent points to the distribution transformer and explains why it’s the next big thing.

What utilities forget when they analyze storage (Hint: It has to do with benefits)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, utility business case, strategy, electric utilities
Reducing the cost of energy storage technologies is important. It’s good business. But guest author Rogers Weed points out that it is just as valuable to increase the benefits storage systems provide. As he points out, business cases are referred to as cost-benefit analyses for a reason.

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