Have your say: Suggest topics for Pre-forum Workshop at Utility Energy Forum

May 13-15, 2015
Tahoe City, Calif.

The 35th annual Utility Energy Forum You are leaving WAPA.gov. is just around the corner and there is still time to shape the agenda.uef

What’s on your mind?
The program planning committee is accepting topic suggestions for the Pre-Forum Workshop for utility and government employees. The session is a roundtable discussion where power providers and government representatives can talk candidly about the issues that concern them most.

Community solar, distributed generation, net metering, new utility business models, partnering to stay in the game and microgrids are just few of the subjects that might be on attendees’ radar. But don’t stop there—this is your chance to learn from colleagues who wrestle with the same demons, and to take home new solutions, and possibly, new partners.

Paul Reid of Azusa Light and Power You are leaving WAPA.gov. and Ron Horstman, Western’s Energy Services Manager, are co-chairing the workshop. No topic is off limits, no idea too “out there,” for these UEF veterans, so expect a no-holds-barred session that will rock a few boats.

Use this online survey You are leaving WAPA.gov. to share what is keeping you up at night. Remember, participation in the Pre-Forum Workshop is limited to utility and government employees. Speak your mind, and complete the survey by Feb. 5.

And that ain’t all…
Of course, the Pre-Forum Workshop is only the appetizer for the information banquet that is the Utility Energy Forum. Utility managers and marketers, energy manager and program developers and customer service professional return to the forum year after year to stay current on the latest trends in the energy utility industry.UEFbot

This year’s theme, Transformation is NOW, will weave through sessions that challenge traditional thinking and encourage participants to find innovative ways to cope with the rapidly changing energy utility industry. If you have never attended the UEF, this is a good year to start, and if you are planning to attend, register today. Early bird discounts end March 14.

As if outstanding professional development and networking opportunities were not enough reason to attend, Lake Tahoe is beautiful in May and registration includes all (terrific) meals, as well as lodging at Granlibakken Resort You are leaving WAPA.gov..

Share your concerns today, and then join other utility and government employees to brainstorm the answers May 13-15. See you in Granlibakken.

Take part in SEPA’s annual utility solar survey

Deadline: February 4, 2015sepalogo

Solar Electric Power Association You are leaving WAPA.gov. (SEPA) is conducting the eighth annual survey You are leaving WAPA.gov. to provide data for its 2014 Utility Solar Market Snapshot, to be released in April 2015, and its new Utility Solar Market Report, scheduled for a June 2015 release.

The annual survey collects utility data on solar electricity installations in the United States, both photovoltaic and concentrating solar power on the customer and utility side of the meter. Past reports have garnered significant media attention from outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Renewable Energy World, Transmission & Distribution World, and Reuters.

Municipal and cooperative utilities are making an impact in solar development especially in terms of watts per customer. Kauai Island Electric Cooperative and Imperial Irrigation District You are leaving WAPA.gov. are two that made the 2013 Top 10 list for Annual Watts per customer. Each year, SEPA also announces the top ten annual and cumulative solar MW [megawatts] and Watts per Customer awards at its Utility Solar Conference.

Other Western customer utilities that saw significant solar activity in 2013 include Los Angeles Department of Water and Power You are leaving WAPA.gov., and Salt River Project You are leaving WAPA.gov. in Arizona, ranking 15th and 21st respectively.  Overall, 142 MW of solar was integrated by municipal utilities in 2013, including 12 that integrated 1 MW or more each. Cooperative utilities integrated 28 MW of solar in total, including eight that integrated 1 MW or more.

Please send your response by Feb. 4, 2015.  Early submissions are appreciated, and those submitting by the deadline will receive complimentary summary reports. For more information, contact Miriam Makhyoun at 202-379-1615.

Source: Solar Electric Power Association, 12/10/14

Tension exists between good customer service, maintaining customer loyalty

The latest EcoPinion Consumer Survey from consulting firm DEFGRedirecting to a non-government site  points to a conflicted consumer landscape in terms of customer expectations. The Conflicted Consumer Landscape in the Utility Sector surveyed more 1,000 consumers to examine perceptions of customer service and the need for more options, including budget management tools, payment and pricing choices and new communications channels.

The findings indicate that the majority of customers feel that their utility is providing enough choices and the right amount of information. However, a subset of consumers strongly feel that they would choose a different energy provider if they could. There may be a disconnect between customer service and the overall customer experience or perception of the utility resulting in low or weak customer loyalty.

DEFG believes that utilities must address the majority of consumers as part of an overall customer strategy that results in deeper engagement, and specifically address the needs and concerns of the consumer subset to increase overall customer satisfaction. Read more.

You must register to download the report. Once you join DEFG’s mailing list, you will receive email updates on the company’s EcoPinion surveys, white papers and annual consumer choice scorecards.

DEFG, a management consulting firm specializing in energy, works with clients to increase residential and commercial customer engagement in a commodity marketplace.

Public power utilities urged to take SEPA solar rankings survey

Western and the Solar Electric Power Association Redirecting to a non-government site, (SEPA) are inviting Western customers to participate in SEPA’s seventh annual survey Redirecting to a non-government site to provide data for the annual Utility Solar Rankings Briefing.

SEPA will release the results of the survey in April 2014, and follow that with its new Utility Solar Market Report in June 2014.  Past reports have received significant coverage from media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Renewable Energy World, Transmission & Distribution World, and Reuters

The annual survey collects utility data on solar electricity installations in the United States, both photovoltaic and concentrating solar power, on the customer and utility side of the meter. “The industry, utility resource planners and customers interested in solar need to know who is installing systems, in what quantities and at what cost,” said Western Renewable Energy Program Manager Randy Manion. “This is essential market information for identifying strategies for expanding the use of solar.”

Municipal and cooperative utilities are making an impact in solar development especially in terms of watts per customer.  In 2012, seven of the top ten Watts-per-Customer rankings went to cooperative and public utilities ranging from 160 to 560 watts per customer. 

Each year, SEPA also announces the top ten annual and cumulative solar megawatt (MW) and Watts-per-Customer awards at its Utility Solar Conference Redirecting to a non-government site. Last year Sacramento Municipal Utility District Redirecting to a non-government site (SMUD) placed ninth among utilities overall for Annual Solar MW and received first place for Municipal Annual Solar MW. SMUD integrated 66 MW of solar, mostly through the build-out of 54 MW of centralized projects in the feed-in tariff program the utility launched in 2010. Imperial Irrigation District Redirecting to a non-government site (IID), another Western customer, claimed the seventh spot for Annual Watts per Customer with 190 W per customer account.  IID integrated the 23-MW Imperial Valley Solar Project Redirecting to a non-government site, the ninth largest solar project built in 2012.

Salt River Project Redirecting to a non-government site in Arizona and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Redirecting to a non-government site also saw notable solar activity in 2012, with annual solar rankings of 17th and 18th respectively.  Overall, municipal utilities integrated 138 MW of solar last year, and 20 integrated 1 MW or more each.

Cooperative utilities made a strong showing as well, integrating a total of 36 MW of solar, including eight that integrated 1 MW or more. Kauai Island Utility Cooperative occupied the number two spot with 282 watts per customer added in 2012, up from 12th place in the previous year.  Most of the solar integration came from the newly built 6-MW Port Allen Solar facility Redirecting to a non-government site, the largest solar facility in Hawaii.

The deadline for completing the survey is Feb. 4, 2014, however, early submissions are appreciated. If you prefer to fill out the survey as a Word document, contact Miriam Makhyoun at 202-379-1615. Those submitting by the deadline will receive complimentary summary reports.

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.

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!

Deadline approaches for smart grid communications survey – Jan. 6, 2012

There is still time to contribute your views to a national survey on the effectiveness of smart grid communications being conducted by Distributed Energy Financial Group, LLC External link information. Each respondent will receive the analysis report.

The survey assesses the electric sector from diverse perspectives. So far, every U.S. state and several Canadian provinces are represented, with respondents from vertically integrated utilities to competitive suppliers to public interest organizations to consultants.

You will answer questions about smart grid activities in different stages of development. Some utilities are taking a “slow build” approach, while others are “flying under the radar”; some are relying on “active engagement” of consumers. You will be asked about different approaches regarding consumer education and engagement, lessons learned, and how utilities can save time, reduce costs, engage consumers, and achieve their goals.

DEFG LLC always shares its summary report with everyone who takes the survey. Last year, nearly 600 people responded to a survey on prepaid energy, and this topic — smart grid communications — is similarly timely and vital.

Take the survey External link information today, and while you are at it, drop Energy Services a line and share your thoughts and experiences on smart grid communications.

Take SEPA’s utility solar integration survey

The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is now collecting responses to the 2010 Utility Solar Integration Rankings Survey.  This annual survey collects utility data on solar electricity installations in the United States, both photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP), on the customer and utility side of the meter.  The resulting rankings have appeared in such media outlets as the Wall Street Journal, Renewable Energy World, Transmission & Distribution World and Reuters. The information also helps utilities (regardless of rank) to compare their solar capacity with their peer utilities. 

All electric utilities are eligible to take the survey.  You can access the online survey until Feb. 14, 2011.  SEPA will release the 2010 Utility Solar Rankings Report in May 2011, and awards will be presented during SEPA’s Utility Solar Conference from July 26 to 27, 2011, in San Diego, Calif.  Please contact Becky Campbell with any questions.

FERC extends response period for demand response survey

It’s not too late to participate in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) voluntary demand response (DR) survey.  FERC has extended its original July 31 deadline to Aug. 20 specifically to get more input from public power utilities.

The survey is collecting information on utilities’ demand response programs, including implementation of smart grid initiatives and time-of-use rates. According to Michele Suddleson of the American Public Power Association (APPA), many policy makers use the survey results to gauge how quickly various sectors of the industry are moving to implement DR. Given the strong national focus on these issues, it is important to show that the public power sector is actively pursuing demand response solutions. 

Please download the survey form (pdf) and e-mail your responses to FERC by close of business, Friday Aug. 20. FERC provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) from previous surveys on its website, or you can direct your questions to 1-888-585-9232 between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Help Public power show its success in the area or demand response!

‘Smart grid vs. smart meter’ report available

EcoAlign, a strategic marketing agency focused on energy and the environment, has released an EcoPinion survey report on consumer perceptions and expectations of smart grid. Utilities face the challenge of not only educating consumers about what the smart grid is, but also of meeting consumer expectations about what the technology can do for them.

Is It Time To Separate Smart Meters from Smart Grid?, the eighth EcoPinion survey from EcoAlign, concludes with recommendations on how to implement a “smart” communications and marketing strategy aligned with the smart grid roll out.

Download the report for free.