Electric Light & Power magazine, the voice of the electric utility industry since 1922, has named Oklahoma City-based OG&E Electric Services as the best electric utility in North America and is awarding OG&E its prestigious Utility of the Year designation for 2011.
Editor in Chief Teresa Hansen and her editorial staff measured North American utility customer satisfaction, financial health and renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts to select the winner. Industry chatter at conventions, trade shows and conferences drew additional points.
“This year everyone’s talking about OG&E’s smart meter rollout and whether the model can be replicated as successfully elsewhere,” Hansen said. “OG&E has installed nearly half a million smart meters—they’re still installing 1,500 a day—and OG&E customers remain the happiest among midsize utilities. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s rates are consistently low compared with other states, and reliability is very good. OG&E got high marks for both, plus it contributed to the parent company’s strong earnings in 2010.”
Hansen will present the Utility of the Year award to OG&E Chairman and CEO Peter B. Delaney on Jan. 22 during the third annual Electric Light & Power Executive Conference. The conference attracts leaders from electric utilities across the globe to brainstorm utility-related technology solutions and share lessons learned.
An interview with Delaney begins on Page 38 of the November/December issue of the magazine, and Delaney’s photo is on the cover. He said he expects OG&E to flourish in the future.
“I’ve never been more excited about the future of OGE than I am now,” Delaney said. “We have a great group of employees who are excited to build on our great foundation and execute our future plans for the benefit of their fellow members, our customers and our shareholders.
“I’m proud of what our OG&E members accomplished to receive this award. The work they do is 24/7; it’s difficult and sometimes dangerous. And considering the year we’ve had weather-wise, keeping the power on in extreme circumstances was a significant accomplishment. We had back-to-back blizzards this winter, tornados and flooding in spring, followed by the worst heat our state has ever seen since records have been kept.”
And all of it occurred during OG&E’s deployment of smart meters, devices that enable two-way communication between OG&E and customers’ meters. The smart meters also allow for remote service connects and disconnects and inform the utility immediately if a customer’s service is interrupted.
“OG&E plans to share its successful smart metering model at our executive conference in January,” Hansen said. “This is going to be huge for other utilities. There’s no reason customers of other electric utilities can’t be as happy as OG&E’s.”
Previous winners of the Utility of the Year award include Canada’s Hydro-Quebec in 2010, Chicago-based Exelon Corp. in 2009 and Allentown, Pa.-based PPL Corp. in 2008.
PennWell, the Tulsa-based parent company of Electric Light & Power magazine, has been known for providing comprehensive coverage of several strategic markets since 1910. Today PennWell Corp. is a highly diversified, business-to-business media and information company with 320 profit centers, including 130 print and online magazines and newsletters, 60 conferences and exhibitions on six continents, and an extensive offering of books, maps, websites, research products, digital media and database services.