AUSenergy News Update 02/23/2015
Feb 23, 2015

In today’s AUSenergy News Update: Distribution automation becoming critical for utilities, ComEd, Ameren urged to offer time-of-use pricing, Supreme Court asked to hear appeal of FERC Order 745.

Distribution automation quickly becoming critical for utilities

Summary:   With power interruptions resulting in losses of up to $150 billion annually, utilities worldwide are turning to advanced automated solutions to protect assets, enhance reliability, and minimize operations and maintenance costs.

AUS Comment:   Due to the initial high cost of automated solutions, utilities need to make sure that investing in this technology in the early stages of its development, will be cost effective and wise. No one wants power interruptions, but perhaps an investment in support of renewable energy distribution may be a more practical way to go.

ComEd, Ameren urged to offer time-of-use pricing

Summary: Illinois’ biggest utilities, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and Ameren, are being urged to consider time-of-use pricing plans that would reward customers for energy efficiency and shifting electricity use to off peak hours.

AUS Comment:  We agree with the Citizens Utility Board and the Environmental Defense Fund that customers should have choices that help them to use their energy more efficiently. By allowing customers to choose their time-of-use, they can elect to operate appliances during off-peak hours, helping to lower energy costs, reduce stress on the grid, and reduce the need for new power plants. This also means an even greater need for smart meter technology throughout the customer base.

Supreme Court asked to hear appeal of FERC Order 745

Summary:  A petition has been filed with the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that invalidated Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 745 – an essential tool for grid operators to help balance supply and demand. If the Supreme Court declines to hear the appeal of Order 745, environmental groups contend that FERC will lose an important tool to strengthen grid reliability, save people money, and reduce pollution.

AUS Comment: Demand response is a powerful tool, a clean and cost-effective way to meet electrical demands without having to build new power plants. It is a flexible resource that provides participants with an incentive to lower their energy use and save money at the same time. A DR program hurts no one and helps everyone. We hope the Supreme Court reviews this appeal and recognizes how the proposed changes would hinder the DR marketplace.

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