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ELP Volume 77 Issue 4

Developing customer-centric IT departments requires strategic planning

By now, even the stodgiest of electric power companies are well aware that they must be customer-service driven. Energy service providers (ESPs) and utilities distribution companies (UDCs) are scrambling for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. The key means to do so, by and large, is to build relationships and loyalty by pro- viding value-added services and offer- ing outstanding customer care.

Restructuring shows Pennsylvanias mettle

As Rodney Akers jogs along the Monongahela River or "Mon," he looks beyond the brownfields once occupied by Pittsburgh`s thriving steel industry and into the future.

Utilities launch nuclear management strategy

The nuclear industry hopes restructuring of nuclear operations will upgrade its prognosis for long-term survival. Four utilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin embraced this strategy and formed a nuclear management company, described by Michael B. Sellman, the new company`s president, as "a company to provide services up to and including operational management-short of a generating company. We`re not talking about a company that owns nuclear capacity."

SOLAR INFERNO

A 900-gallon storage tank exploded Feb. 27 at the SEGS I solar power station in Daggett, Calif., and the burning therminol heat transfer fluid sent flames and plumes of smoke into the sky. No injuries were reported. The privately owned plant was built in the mid-1980s by Luz International. (Photo provided by the Desert Dispatch.)

Cal-ISO plans strategy to remove ancillary power price caps

The California Independent Systems Operator (Cal-ISO) is revamping the state`s ancillary services markets in hopes of lifting price caps on reserve power. If the comprehensive redesign is successful, the Cal-ISO will raise its current $250 per MW cap to $750 per MW by next summer and then higher later, said new CEO Terry Winter.

Utility usage tool enables utilities to target select customers

Experian released a residential utility usage tool which reveals specific consumer usage trends, particularly for telecommunications, energy and cable industries. Experian, headquartered in Orange, Calif., and Nottingham, UK, is a supplier of consumer and business credit information, credit scoring and software solutions, and direct marketing services.

CP&L chooses ABBs AMR Server:

Carolina Power & Light (CP&L) has agreed to purchase ABB Electricity Metering`s EnergyAxis AMR Server. The meter data collection and management system will provide CP&L the infrastructure to offer customers new energy information services. The AMR Server, designed to address increasing information management demands, will give CP&L unprecedented data storage, processing and analysis capabilities. The multi-million dollar contract represents on of the first deployments of ABB`s AMR Server.

Alliance targets smaller utilities

Motorola`s Commercial, Government and Industrial Solutions Sector (CGISS) and FieldTech, a subsidiary of WICOR and a diversified utility services company, announced a marketing alliance designed to provide small to medium-sized utilities and rural electric cooperatives a lower cost, turnkey Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) solution. The alliance offers a fully integrated solution of hardware, software and services that can enable utilities to increase efficiencies and serve their customers more eff

SPL wins PG&E contract:

SPL WorldGroup won a multi-million dollar deal to upgrade Pacific Gas and Electric`s (PG&E) customer information system, which helps them serve the 13 million people to whom they provide services. SPL will install its CIS PLUS software at PG&E. SPL won the business in particular because of its ability to install a new billing engine, help deal with the demands of deregulation and offer a phased approach as the company moved its data from legacy systems to the new system. This contract brings to

SCADA market moves toward open systems

The SCADA systems equipment market is experiencing a driving force not necessarily welcomed by end-users, namely the emergence of the Windows NT 4.0 operating system as the de-facto standard. End-users are disquieted by the speed with which a business operating system is being promoted for use in control activities, some of them mission critical.