electric utilities

Electricity, Natural Gas, Podcast, Regulations

Columbia Energy Exchange: Regulators in the Trenches

Interest in energy policy often focuses on Washington, where actions by the Trump administration, Congress and agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission receive much of the attention. But it’s easy to forget how much happens in the states, where utility commissioners play a big role in determining how energy is delivered to consumers and at what cost. That’s why I sat down with John “Jack” Betkoski III, the new president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, in this latest episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast. Listen to it here, and let me know what you think!

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5 Steps to a Compelling Live Interview for a Conference

Can a live interview make a difference at your conference, trade show or meeting? Yes, it can! You start, of course, with a good guest, someone who’s appealing with an interesting story to tell, and one that’s relevant to the audience. But just as important is the person conducting the interview. I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years as an energy journalist anchoring the TV show “Platts Energy Week,” co-hosting the “Columbia Energy Exchange” podcast, and conducting interviews for business meetings in the U.S. and abroad. And while I don’t pretend to be an expert on public speaking, I’ve learned enough from hundreds of sit-downs with CEOs, government officials, authors and others to give an audience a good run for their time. I’ve also seen how a live interview with a prominent guest can give a meeting…

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Electricity, Infrastructure, Podcast

Columbia Energy Exchange: Barry Perry

Barry Perry is a chief executive from a remote region of Canada whose company is gradually becoming a major player in North America’s electric power industry. We sat down recently for a discussion on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast. From St. John’s, Newfoundland, the oldest city in North America, Perry runs Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned utility in Canada. Since 2004, the company’s assets in Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean have grown ten-fold to $48 billion. Fortis’ most recent acquisition, one that really put it on the map in the U.S., was ITC, the biggest electric transmission company in America, at a price of $11.3 billion. We visited with each other during one of his visits to Washington to talk about the electric and natural gas business in the U.S. and Canada, the different energy policies of the two…

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Article, Energy, Government and Politics, Policy, Technology, Utilities and Providers

Utilities’ drone plans cleared for takeoff

Electric utilities across the U.S. are wasting no time taking advantage of new FAA rules authorizing use of drones for commercial purposes. “We’ve certainly heard from our members that they’re excited about this technology,” said Chris Hickling, the director of government relations for the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the trade group for investor-owned utilities in the U.S. (Read more)

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Article, Consumer, Economy / Finance, Energy, Technology, Utilities and Providers

Rooftop solar poses credit risk for utilities

When it comes to creditworthiness, electric utilities generally enjoy investment-grade ratings that make financing easier for these capital-intensive companies. But the popularity of residential rooftop solar systems is threatening to eventually put those favorable ratings at risk. So warns Fitch, one of the three major ratings agencies. (Read more)

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Article, Corporations, Economy / Finance, Energy, Technology, Utilities and Providers

Electric execs get charge out of tech possibilities

Top executives from investor-owned electric utilities across the U.S. gathered in Hollywood, Fla., last week for the annual financial conference held by their trade association, the Edison Electric Institute. They spent hours meeting with analysts, investment bankers and ratings agencies regarding their utilities’ financial returns and the outlook for capital spending, revenue and earnings. That’s the sort of talk that’s characterized the EEI meeting since it began 50 years ago. (Read more)

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