Keep Pace with the Transforming Energy Market

Customer service is a valuable part of any utility business strategy. When the power goes out, customers aren’t concerned with how the power will be restored - they just want it back on. Utilities are feeling more pressure to protect the grid from extreme weather and restore power as quickly as possible with hurricanes, floods, and snow and ice storms causing more power outages in the United States than any other source.

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Nearly all utilities rely on third-party contractors to promote and implement energy efficiency programs. These contractors, or trade allies, act as an extension of utility staff in order to promote, sell, and install energy efficiency products and services.

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Manufacturing Day is celebrated on October 6 this year to recognize advances in manufacturing and inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Over the last decade, there have been major changes in manufacturing that give the next generation a lot to be excited about. Most notably may be the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the Industry 4.0 workgroups, and the impact big data and cybersecurity is having on operational technology (OT).

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LEDs have taken the energy efficiency industry by storm. It’s no secret that LED light bulbs last longer, are more durable, and offer comparable or better light quality than any alternatives. However, for the commercial lighting sector, all LEDs are not created equal. That’s where the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) comes in.

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Utilities’ use of lattice box structures is not a new concept. In fact, utilities have used the design in substations for well over a hundred years. In recent years, utilities have looked at their existing lattice box structures and asked themselves: Can this structure support new upgraded equipment or should we replace it? But how do you determine if this existing structure can have an extended service life? 

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According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), industrial sector energy use accounts for more than 30 percent of the country’s total energy consumption. Further, the EIA projects this percentage will continue to increase over the next 30 years. This growing energy use opens doors for substantial energy savings.

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Whenever a utility puts up a power line, they also must manage the vegetation that surrounds that line.  As long as there are trees and overhead power lines, vegetation management will be one of the most important – and expensive – operational areas confronting an electric utility. 

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Grid hardening is a combined system of actions that create a strong infrastructure to better protect utility customers from weather-related outages. From physical structures to communications to effective documentation, grid hardening entails an end-to-end approach that better protects infrastructure and improves levels of service in the event of extreme weather.

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Variable-frequency Drives (VFDs) in HVAC units currently provide one of the more effective ways organizations can invest in energy efficiency. However, companies just starting to explore this option, or unaware of its savings, need to act fast. Legislation is expected to make VFDs code, which could end the opportunity to receive energy efficiency rebates on the technology before it is mandated 

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Production and IT teams share a similar goal - to create value for their organization. Their responsibilities, however, are often at odds with each other. Production is commonly judged by the output produced, while IT is evaluated based on system uptime and cybersecurity defense.

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