Power quality offerings are a mixed blessing to utilities, study finds

ATLANTA, Aug. 28, 2002 — Utilities looking for a profit center may do better offering power quality to residential customers than to C&I customers.

Power quality offerings for C&I customers have simply not proven profitable for utilities. The caveat: C&I customers expect power quality services from their utility; thus they become a customer satisfaction/ retention tool.

In 2002, 54% of utilities surveyed said they offer surge suppression to C&I customers, compared to 42% reporting such in 2001 and 33% in 2000, according to Chartwell research published in Power Quality and Surge Suppression for C&I Customers, a new industry report released in August.

As the need for power quality offerings grows — today’s technology-driven industries have stricter power quality requirements at the same time the T&D system is aging — utilities are stepping up to the plate. The offerings are winning some popularity among customers, even leading to profitability in some cases. The most profitable area of power quality for C&I customers is probably the sale of surge suppression devices.

In addition to data and analysis, the Chartwell report includes two case studies — one on a utility that has a successful and profitable power quality program for C&I customers, and the other about a utility that’s had a tough time making a go of it.

Chartwell’s 2002 survey of 50 energy companies regarding their C&I product/service offerings also reveals that size (based on number of customers) is a big factor in whether a utility offers surge suppression to C&I customers.

Power Quality and Surge Suppression for C&I Customers, which is available from Chartwell, is part of The Chartwell New Products and Services Research Series, an ongoing information service that provides utility case studies; topical analysis and research centered around specific products or services in the utility and energy services marketplace; and a database of 70 utilities and the products and services they offer.

For more information about the ongoing Research Series, the Report on Power Quality and Surge Suppression for C&I Customers, or the products/services database, please call Juli Collins at (800) 432-5879, or (404) 237-9099.

Source: Chartwell Inc.

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