Around the web: Celebrate Public Power Week with these resources

Public Power Week, You are leaving Western's site. Oct. 4-10, is a great excuse to remind your members that they are the “public” in public power, and to educate them about energy issues. America Public Power Association (APPA) has put together a list of online resources to help cooperatives and municipal utilities in their public outreach efforts, during Public Power Week and beyond. You can link to them from your website and include the resources in your publications and communications. 

  • DOE Energy Saver
    What better way to celebrate Public Power Week than introducing your members to this treasure trove of tools and information on saving energy and money at home. If your utility already shares Energy Saver tips through your website and bill stuffers, consider tying topics from Prices and Trends to a big-picture story about how public power benefits the community.
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Student’s Corner
    Very few people outside the power industry now what FERC does or the part the commission plays in keeping our lights on. Even adults could learn a thing or two from the games, quizzes and other multimedia on this website.
  • APPA Pride in Public Power campaign
    This campaign encourages public power utility managers, staff and governing bodies to promote the benefits of public power to the communities they serve. Find programs and tools to help you tell your story.

Source: American Public Power Association

Consultant predicts home batteries will cause load change, not grid departure

In the barrage of reactions from the power industry to Tesla’s Powerwall home battery, Redirecting to a non-government site a few clear-headed observers presented plausible scenarios and possible strategies for dealing with the potentially game-changing technology.

One of the more thoughtful opinionsRedirecting to a non-government site came from a speaker at the pre-conference seminar held at American Public Power Association’s 2015 National Conference and Public Power Expo in Minneapolis. Charles Janecek, senior utilities consultant at Leidos Engineering, declared that all the talk about grid defection missed the point, which is how the battery will change energy consumption patterns. “It’s not about sort of the extreme solution but understanding what it’s going to do before you get to that extreme solution,” he said.

Janecek was one of several executives from LeidosRedirecting to a non-government site who led the seminar discussion about the strategic planning implications of distributed generation. In his view, batteries are more likely, at least initially, to turn a utility’s traditional load on its head. Janecek imagined consumers relying on PV systems and battery storage throughout the summer, and buying power from their utilities in the winter. “That customer’s not leaving the grid, they’re not going away from you, but they’re almost leaving your grid for some months out of the year, and that type of operational pattern is something that is very different than any of us have really seen before,” he said.

That change in load shape, he added, has the potential to cause utilities lots of planning problems they aren’t expecting.

Leidos recently completed a distributed generation guidebook for public power utilities, copies of which were provided to seminar attendees.

Source: Public Power Daily, 6/10/15

APPA offers energy efficiency management certificate workshop

Early-bird discount ends April 13.

May 4-8 Antlers Hilton
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Celebrate the season of fresh starts with a new professional credential from the American Public Power Association (APPA). In conjunction with its Spring Education InstituteYou are leaving APPA is offering a comprehensive Energy Efficiency Management Certificate Program for utility professionals interested in starting or enhancing energy- efficiency programs.

Join your colleagues at the Antlers Hilton in Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 4-8, to learn what it takes to build a successful energy-efficiency program. The Energy Efficiency Management Certificate Program gives participants a firm grounding in all aspects of energy-efficiency program development, implementation, budgeting, marketing and management.

To earn this certificate, participants have two years to complete six required courses, pass an online exam and submit an energy-efficiency program business plan. All six courses are being offered during the Spring Education Institute.

An early-bird discount on registration is available before April 13. You do not have to be a member of APPA to enroll in the program. For more information, contact Meghan Riley, APPA’s Education Specialist, at 202-467-2919.

Source: American Public Power Association, 4/6/15

APPA offers new resources on integrating solar into your energy mix

Public power utilities seeking to integrate solar power into their energy mix should check out a new publication from American Public Power Association You are leaving (APPA). Solar Engagement Options for Public Power, explains the four ways — purchased power, utility ownership, customer engagement and community solar — and discusses the benefits and challenges of each option.

The publication covers costs and financing, solar forecasting and energy storage information. Public power case studies and charts are included to help utilities understand and evaluate the options. The Solar Electric Power Association You are leaving prepared this reference guide with funding from APPA’s Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments program.

For more on developing solar power in the utility setting, attend APPA’s new series of five webinars on distributed generation, Feb. 26-May 7.

The series will review how solar technologies benefit utilities and customers; explain the value of community solar; discuss the impact of rooftop solar on costs and retail rates; and outline the different ways in which public power utilities can provide solar options to customers.

  • Distributed Generation: A Primer – Feb. 26
  • Distributed Generation: Implications for Public Utilities – March 12
  • Understanding the Potential Value of Community Solar – April 2
  • Solar Rooftop Impact on Retail Rate Recovery – April 21
  • Solar Engagement Options for Public Power Utilities – May 7

Recordings of completed webinars are available for purchase.

Source: American Public Power Association, 3/10/15

APPA webinar series explores key account development

February 24
March 24
April 23
12 – 1:30 p.m. MST

The American Public Power Association You are leaving (APPA) is presenting three webinars based on the new APPA Key Accounts Field Manual, beginning Feb. 24.

The Art of Key Account Program Development and Enhancement will provide practical tips and guidance for public utility key account professionals on the three primary issues encountered when developing and maintaining effective programs:

  • Time
  • Gaining buy-in
  • Financial resources

Participants will also receive a logic model worksheet to help them navigate the process of goal setting and budget development.

The series focuses on getting your utility’s key accounts program aligned with your leadership, your community and your personal skill set. The instructor will discuss how to take ownership of a program and how key accounts professionals can gain support for their efforts.

The webinar topics include:

  • Starting from within—Leveraging individual strengths to develop a key accounts program that fits personal skill sets
  • Discovering clarity—Removing obstacles in order to identify the true need of a key accounts program for specific communities
  • Defining success—Setting proper expectations to ensure success
  • Gaining buy-in—Getting the right people on board to elevate the key accounts program

Webinar instructor Erick Rheam is the coauthor of the key accounts manual, a resource for key account representatives and those who manage a utility’s key accounts program. Rheam currently serves as vice president of business development for Automated Energy, a web-based energy information provider in Bloomington, Indiana. His previous experience in the utility industry includes working as a key accounts coordinator and key accounts manager for municipal utilities in Indiana and Colorado.

This webinar is worth 1.5 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits, .2 Continuing Education Units (CEU) or 1.5 Professional Development Hour (PDH) credits in the CPE Field of Study, Specialized Knowledge & Applications. Only participants who register and whose attendance is confirmed by the webinar report log will receive the completion certificate.

The cost for attending the webinar series is $200 for APPA members, or $400 for nonmembers. APPA members may register for individual webinars for $89 per webinar; the individual cost for nonmembers is $179.

Key accounts representatives and program managers can register online or contact Sara Krautbauer at 202-467-2965. Links to all presentations and an audio recording will be sent out shortly after the webinar occurs.

Sharpen public outreach skills at APPA Customer Connections Conference

Communicating with utility customers is becoming an increasingly important part of our job as power providers. The Customer Connections ConferenceRedirecting to a non-government site in Jacksonville, Florida, Oct. 26-29, is an excellent opportunity to explore the challenges of engaging our consumers, and the strategies and tools that can help.

American Public Power Association sponsors this annual event for utility professionals who work in customer service, economic development, energy services, key accounts and public communications. Meet with colleagues from utilities across the country to network and find answers to questions communicators face every day.

Program looks at today, tomorrow
This year’s agenda offers 40 breakout sessions highlighting the latest trends in communication, including:

  • DIY: Creating and Using Compelling Visual Communications
    Learn how to connect with customers through low-cost, easy-to-produce yet high-impact photo and video.
  • Five Ways to Measure What Matters
    Discover the latest trends and tools to measure results for your media relations, website performance, social media and marketing efforts.
  • Are We Communicating Effectively with ALL of Our Customers?
    This session looks at the challenge of engaging different audiences and shares secrets that can help meet the challenge.
  • Taking a Seat at the Strategic Planning Table
    Explore the lifecycle of the strategic plan from creation with utility executives to execution, and communicating with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Public Communication Roundtable
    Join your public communications colleagues for two open discussions on key challenges and tactics for success in the communications field.
  • Surviving the “Info Avalanche”
    Learn tips and tricks to process all the news, articles, feeds, blogs, emails, reminders and tweets that inundate utilities daily. Be ready to share and gain support from fellow infoholics.

Early bird learns more
Those who can make it to Jacksonville early will be rewarded with an impressive menu of pre-conference sessions on Sunday, Oct. 26. These seminars offer a deep dive into hot topics, with smaller classes, longer class times and a more interactive format. Sessions include:

  • Managing Change: Creating a Playbook for Utility Success
    This course will cover how to prepare for some of the most important industry changes that are coming in the next few years (new technologies, environmental regulations, economic pressure, market dynamics, new customer expectations, etc.) and provide practical examples of and a comprehensive approach to developing effective change management and strategic planning skills.
  • Customer Engagement for Advanced Grid Technologies
    A new guidebook to be published by APPA in the summer of 2014 provides information and resources on how to better communicate with customers about new grid technologies and their advantages. The tools and resources in the guidebook will be previewed at this pre-conference seminar.
  • Build Your Brand, Tell Your Story: Developing and Marketing Web & Social Media Content
    Participants will learn how to build a strategic content development plan and use video and social media to broaden the utility’s reach. The instructors will use a public power case study to demonstrate how rich content and social media channels can be used to market stories to media and customers while engaging all audiences.

Both pre-conference seminars and main conference sessions may be eligible for Continuing Education Units, Continuing Professional Education Units or Professional Development Hours. APPA provides a recommended credit level for each session.

Meet, eat, recognize excellence
In addition to abundant education opportunities, you will hear from expert speakers, network with colleagues and honor creativity and ingenuity in communications.

The opening keynote speaker, Dr. Chris Kuehl of Armada Corporate Intelligence,Redirecting to a non-government site will talk about the issues that will dominate the coming year, and how they will affect our communities. Consultant Dennis Snow, a former Disney executive, will wrap up the conference with a presentation on creating a service-driven culture.

Special events include networking receptions hosted by industry sponsors, meals with friends at local restaurants, and “The Year in Public Power Videos” reception. Attendees will view video submissions from other utilities and present their own at an informal reception. Viewers will then vote for their favorite video and the “Audience Choice Award” will be presented at the closing session on Wednesday. All spots must be received by Oct. 10, and a utility representative must be at the conference to present the entry.

Ideas wanted for 2013 Customer Connections Conference!

The American Public Power Association (APPA) is asking utility professionals to help them design the program for the 2013 Customer Connections Conference Redirecting to a non-government site. The annual event is coming up November 3 to 6, at the Hilton Hotel and Executive Tower in downtown Portland, Ore.

Share your ideas for what you’d like to see on the program by filling out a survey Redirecting to a non-government site by Wednesday, March 20.

The Customer Connections Conference offers informational sessions and roundtable discussions for public power utility professionals in the areas of:

  • Customer services
  • Economic development
  • Energy services
  • Key accounts
  • Public communications

Your suggestions for session topics and speakers will help the planning committee create a program that is relevant and valuable for APPA member utilities. If you have thoughts or suggestions not covered in the official survey, or would rather provide your input directly, please email APPA.

Nominations open for 2013 Public Power Wind Award

Western, the Department of Energy and the American Public Power Association Redirecting to a non-government site (APPA) are looking for a public power utility that has distinguished itself in wind power leadership for the 2013 Public Power Wind Award. Nominations are due March 25, 2013.

This marks the 11th year DOE, APPA and Western have collaborated on the Wind Cooperative of the Year award. The Public Power Wind Award provides recognition to public power utilities that have helped make the United States a leader in wind power. Previous winners include: Palo Alto Utilities, Denton Municipal Electric, CPS Energy, Princeton Municipal Light Department, Nebraska Public Power District, Cowlitz and Klickitat PUDs, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Waverley Light and Power, town of Hull, Fort Collins Utilities, Austin Energy, and Aspen Municipal Electric.

A panel of experts from the power and wind industries evaluate nominees in four areas:

  • Corporate leadership
  • Innovative marketing
  • Benefits to customers
  • Project creativity

All APPA member utilities are eligible to apply. Anyone can nominate a public power utility, and self-nominations are allowed. Nominations must be submitted by close of business on March 25, 2013, to Randy Manion, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 28123, Lakewood, CO 80228-8213.

This year’s winner will be recognized at the APPA National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, the week of June 14, 2013.

APPA, NRECA applaud DOE move on water heaters

Electric utility groups are applauding the Energy Department’s (DOE) decision to reconsider a rule it issued last year that would limit the size of residential water heaters manufactured after April 2015.

In April 2010, the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency issued a final rule on energy conservation standards for residential water heaters. Electric utility groups feared the rule would interfere with demand-response programs in which consumers allow their utilities to control their water heater’s cycling based on grid conditions.

On June 6, DOE issued a request for information seeking comments on how the rule would affect utility programs that use high-storage-volume (above 55 gallons) electric storage water heaters to reduce peak electricity demand.

The American Public Power Association (APPA) Redirecting to a non-government site, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Redirecting to a non-government site, PJM Interconnection Redirecting to a non-government site and the Steffes Corp. Redirecting to a non-government site issued a statement June 12 applauding the DOE’s move to request more information on this issue.

“APPA is pleased that the Department of Energy has taken this important first step toward relieving the 2010 constraints imposed on electric water heaters in utility demand-response programs,” said President and CEO Mark Crisson. “Large-volume electric water heaters provide an environmentally friendly and cost effective means for utilities to improve overall system efficiency.”

NRECA CEO Glenn English concurred, noting that electric co-ops have relied on the energy storage capacity of residential water heaters to help manage demand on their distribution systems.

DOE will accept comments through July 13. Information on submitting comments can be found in the RFI. APPA encourages its members that have water heater programs to submit information. Read more.

Have your say on residential water heater conservation standards

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently met with American Public Power Association (APPA) regarding rulemaking on energy conservation standards for residential water heaters.  Based on the meetings, APPA created a survey asking utilities about their water heater load control programs.

The results from this survey will give APPA the information needed to continue working with DOE to amend the conservation standards for residential water heaters.  APPA would like to have responses to this survey no later than close of business, Friday, March 9, 2012

This is a great opportunity for Western customers to contribute to rules that will affect their programs into the future. Also, if you have a story to share about water heater load control at your utility, you can contact Energy Services Bulletin. You just may be the next headline story!