AUSenergy News Update 05/21/2015
May 21, 2015

In today’s AUSenergy News Update: Distribution automation becomes critical for utilities, ComEd and Ameren urged to offer time-of-use pricing, and natural gas futures rally to 4-month peak.

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 the push for smart meter technology throughout the customer base must happen.

Natural gas futures rally to 4-month peak on warm weather outlook

Summary: U.S. natural gas prices rose to the highest level in nearly four months Tuesday, as forecasts continued to call for warm weather through late May. Updated weather forecasting models pointed to hotter-than-normal temperatures on the East Coast through May 29, boosted early summer cooling demand for the fuel.

AUS Comment: With approximately 49% of households in the U.S. using natural gas for heating and cooling needs, it is no surprise that natural gas prices should see a surge when the weather gets warm. Once again, Mother Nature is out of our control and the best way to prepare for her ‘volatile’ nature is to lock in prices before her next rampage.

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