Renewables. The Smart Grid. Decoupling. Critical Peak Pricing.
Terms such as those are defining today’s discussion on electric energy issues. Yet as recently as five years ago, these terms were not commonly used, even by those charged with envisioning the future of electric energy.
What is happening in the electric energy business that has so fundamentally altered its focus? The easy answer is that the century old electric energy business is entering the modern information age. The heirs of Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse have met Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
Of course it is more complex than that. The electric energy business has always taken advantage of new technologies, including the latest advances in information technology. However, it is only recently that information processing and communications capabilities have progressed to the point that electric energy providers can reliably and expeditiously manage the vast amounts of “real-time” information generated by the electric energy business with its millions of customers.
More importantly, that information can now be analyzed and distilled for use by electric energy customers themselves – giving customers new and timely information about the patterns of their electric energy consumption that can help them manage their electric energy use and costs.
This post is one of a series intended to introduce you to the “new” electric energy business through open ended discussions on the key issues now facing the business: managing renewable sources of energy, providing customers with detailed information on their energy use, and designing new pricing arrangements to help customers save energy.
There is much to discuss.