What’s New and Upcoming in the Utility World - April 2014

Published: Thu 05 Jun 2014
A blog entry by Smart Grid Watch

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Smart Grid Watch
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The utility industry is a dynamic and ever-changing landscape with no shortage of topics to discuss. I'll be writing a recap each month of some interesting news shaping the utility industry, and I invite readers to contribute and share their thoughts as well. During April, the topics that were of most interest to me ranged from California legislation to utility mergers:

1. California Title 24 is set to begin in June 2014. According to this code, thermostats, HVAC systems, building automation systems, and other technologies should have communication capabilities based on OpenADR standard. This can spur development of bi-directional demand response and smart thermostat technologies. 

2.  I’m seeing reports of increased activity for utilities when it comes to social media and online activity. For instance, utilities are sharing their success stories via Twitter, mobile apps and more. A recent benchmark from Northeast Group ranks utilities in relation to these efforts.

3.  There’s quite a bit of activity around the globe with new projects and pilots. For instance:

  • The Department of Energy (DOE) is bringing back a $4 Billion grant to fund renewable energy,  
  • New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a set of landmark standards to innovate energy supply and security, and 
  • There were project announcements from China, Germany, Ghana, Israel, Montenegro, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. 

4.  Exelon is set to buy Pepco Holding for $6.83 Billion in cash. Exelon continues to consolidate the utility landscape in the East region.

Key takeaways for solution providers – There’s good activity in creating long-term analytics, social media, and customer engagement strategies. Solution providers can help in creating roadmaps and strategies that include people, process, and technology changes.
Key takeaways for utility companies – Customers are getting involved gradually and listening to what utilities have to say about saving money. Data analytics and cloud services can be helpful in ramping services for utility consumers. 

What are your key takeaways from this news roundup? Are there other important stories you think I missed?


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