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According to Kenichi Ohmae, a corporate strategist and author of The Invisible Continent, a change in thinking is long overdue. Speaking at Edison Electric Institute's conference, The New Millennium, in Montreal this June, he spoke of the "invisible continent," which was "discovered" only in the past 50 years, and has begun to be "settled" since the mid-80s.
Hydro-Quebec, one of eastern Canada's largest enterprises, is best known for generating and distributing power to more than 3.5 million customers across Quebec. With abundant hydropower reserves, the company also supplies power to nine municipal systems, one regional cooperative and 15 electric utilities in the northeastern United States and surrounding Canadian provinces.
Automatic meter reading (AMR) is an efficient way for utilities to gather energy consumption and billing information. AMR has been successful in reducing inaccurate or estimated meter reads, improving billing accuracy, improving customer service and complaint resolution, and reducing costs associated with sending out crews to connect and disconnect customers or obtain special reads.
Timing is everything, and not just in show business. With less than perfect timing, jokes fall flat, and an actor's lines are less than convincing. In the power business, customers can be inconvenienced at home and at work by service disruptions. Some situations may even be life-threatening. Then the show does not go on.
Generation assets for sale by CMP include a 4 percent interest in Vermont Yankee Atomic Power; a 2.5 percent interest in Northeast Utilities` Millstone Unit 3 nuclear station; and its stake in the Hydro-Quebec transmission line that cuts through Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. CMP plans to also auction entitlements to the energy output of 38 non-utility generator contracts, the cost of which makes up most of the utility`s remaining stranded costs.
Hydro-Quebec spent nearly U.S.$900 million adding series compensators to its 735 kV grid, making it less vulnerable to tremendous solar storms predicted by astronomers to hit Earth in the next 18 months. In 1989, a geomagnetic storm triggered the collapse of the Hydro-Quebec power grid, leaving 6 million Canadians without power. The exceptionally intense storm caused seven static compensators of the 735 kV network to trip or shut down. Automatic load-shedding was not able to offset the loss of 9
HQ Energy Services US Inc. (HQUS), a power marketing subsidiary of Hydro-Quebec, is based in Pittsburgh, and is an active member of the New England Power Pool and the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection. It will initially focus on wholesale marketing, and expects eventually to enter retail markets.
Competition just got tougher for U.S. utilities and energy service providers now that Hydro-Québec has opened its first U.S.-based subsidiary, HQ Energy Services US Inc. (HQUS). The company was granted a power marketer`s license in November 1997 by FERC and is an active member of the New England power pool (NEPOOL) and the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland interconnected power pool (PJM).
In its search for excellence, Hydro-Quebec mandated a group of operations personnel to make recommendations to meet the corporate objectives on quality customer service. The first step taken by that team was to analyze the incidents reports to extract the reasons for each incident. Then by grouping these reasons by categories, the team was able to highlight the main factors at the root of the reported incidents. Table 1 illustrates the findings of the incident reports.