Entergy, Georgia Power Lead on Business Customer Satisfaction
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
Business customers are increasingly satisfied with their electric utilities, according to J.D. Power's annual rankings, released this week, which found overall satisfaction rose 18 points on a 1,000-point scale compared to last year due to better communication efforts and price improvements. But the report also revealed a growing divide between utilities focused on customer service and those which are not. According to J.D. Power, the gap between the highest- and lowest-performing individual utility has increased to a 13-year high of 192 points.
Con Edison Chairman and CEO John McAvoy discussed the utility’s investments in infrastructure, transition to renewable energy and its planned rate hike at the Edison Electric Institute’s Financial Conference recently. Con Edison delivers electric, gas and steam to 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y., and has three primary lines of business: utilities including Con Edison Co. of New York and Orange and Rockland Utilities; Con Ed Transmission, which includes electric and gas transmission projects; and its clean energy business.
Utilities hoping to efficiently balance the growing demand associated with electric vehicle adoption must view residential time-varying rates as "a bridge to direct load management," according to a new report from SEPA. Spurred by declining vehicle prices and the availability of new models, the report says Navigant is now forecasting more than 20 million emissions-free vehicles on domestic roads by 2030, with an annual consumption of 93 TWh.
Duke Energy awarded $300,000 in grants to two Raleigh, N.C.-area transit companies to fund electric bus-charging stations. Duke provided GoRaleigh — the city’s public transit bus service — with $200,000 to help offset the cost of purchasing five new electric buses and installing five electric bus-charging stations. GoRaleigh operates 84 buses, serving about 17,000 passengers per day, and covering 144 square miles. It is converting its diesel fleet to natural gas and electric fueled vehicles. The new electric buses will arrive in August and September of 2020.
New analysis from Lazard concludes the cost of renewable energy continues to fall, though the firm's most recent levelized cost of energy analysis, released recently, also warns the rate of decline is slowing. Solar and onshore wind remain cost competitive with the marginal cost of existing conventional generation technologies, according to the new analysis. Costs for utility-scale solar have been falling about 13 percent annually for the last five years, while onshore wind costs have declined a more modest seven percent annually.
The customer is king and America’s electric companies have widened their customer-centric approach to develop and maintain strategies that enable them to continue providing customers with a 24/7, 365-day experience, while also addressing investors’ demand for growth, executives said at the Edison Electric Institute Financial Conference. Panelists during the Monday panel session discussed questions around why customer centricity matters to the utility industry, the capabilities that need to be developed in the industry going forward, as well as how customer centricity should be valued. Customer segmentation, for example, has become an “absolutely required” component of customer centricity, according to the executives.
Denmark’s Ørsted is the leading developer of U.S. offshore wind projects and, thanks to its acquisition of Lincoln Clean Energy last year, a major player in onshore wind. Next on the agenda: utility-scale solar and storage. Ørsted on Wednesday announced plans to build a 460-megawatt solar-plus-storage project in West Texas, near existing oil and gas infrastructure in the Permian Basin. Ørsted said the Permian Energy Center, due for completion in mid-2021, will make it the first developer to own the “full spectrum” of renewable technologies at utility scale in the U.S. — onshore and offshore wind, solar PV and storage.
Arizona's Salt River Project recently announced plans for two solar+storage projects that will push the utility more than 60 percent toward its goal of adding 1 GW of new utility-scale renewables by the end of fiscal year 2025. The Sonoran Energy Center will be the largest solar-charged battery project in the state, utility officials said. Sonoran will include a 250 MW solar array charging a four-hour battery system capable of storing 1 GWh.