Power utility firms disappoint

Our frozen power gridThe power grid is frozen.

If power utilities were farmers, we would be both poor and malnourished.

The Clean Energy Venture Summit included a session on the Utility of the Future where a panel that included Austin Energy, Pacific Gas and Electric, Green Mountain Energy, IBM and others discussed installing systems for monitoring and regulation [of course] and optimizing overall efficiency. [worldchanging]

While reading the Summit’s results, weak and self-serving responses to our energy challenges, I noticed a tone and style I’ve heard many times before: 1) Moaning about complexity and overhead. 2) Burden-shifting to the consumer. 3) Delivery of little but a plea for more funding.

Power utilities remain an entrenched position adept at extra billing and fees.

“It won’t be easy to implement – it’s a complicated problem to combine an energy bus and an IT bus for every structure.

“There’s also major load swings we’re just beginning to understand…

“…such as load reduction through pervasive implementation of energy-saving light bulbs

“…and load increase as pluggable hybrids start appearing.

“…once we’ve solved the problem of energy storage.

Our utilities are not prepared. After decades of readiness, this is all we can expect???

How many times have we heard utilities prognosticate? How many pledges have failed? How poorly does this sector perform next to peers in other parts of the economy?

If a new light bulb is needed, it’s needed to brighten up our power companies.

About 1978 I organized seminars for Sacramento’s SMUD power utility and PG&E that introduced remote tiered metering, demand management systems, conservation management for commerce and consumer, as well as separate sessions to explain photovoltaic and wind power options.

After applause and coffee, one decade, two, three pass by.

Time and again, our utility firms have been invited to the game. Time and again, they’ve polished the brass and failed to blow the horn. Optimizing overall efficiency, indeed!

Be forewarned. Let’s not replace our lightbulbs all at once! Our utilities can’t stent the load reduction!