issues power company's are facing today : LUSENET : Deregulation / Restructuring Discussion: - Energy Utilities in the 21st Century : One Thread

What type of issues are power/utility company's facing today? From a business perspective what are the most important issues that need attention in this industry? How are these company's utilizing software and technology to overcome these issues?

-- joe goatcher (, September 20, 2000


Joe, your question is really more complex than a reasonable answer would require, but let me try to hit the highlights. As an employee of a major investor owned utility i will try to give you my perspective of some issues. First of all the power co. have cut manpower down "to be competitive" which in the longrun means reliability will suffer. Right now as deregulation defines the industry there is a fine line between the number of employees required to maintain reliability and yet remain "trim" for competition. for example inspection and maintenence standards have all but disapeered and this will go unnoticed for a short time but when the life expectency of these power lines are lived out, then there can be nothing short of totally unreliable power. Big power co. are afraid to construct new lines leading to the possibilities of rolling brown outs. You could very well choose an electric supplier from another part of the country but as your local utility has cut manpower to be competitive who will answer your call when trouble does arrive. Short cuts and safety cuts are now accepted industry standard where safety and quality once stood. Ther are using technology and software in many areas to help cut back the once fat operating procedure, online supplies and or warehousing shared by a multitude of companies are just one to consolidate supply costs. (I dont know what will happen in the middle of the night when you need parts)helicopters are now flying line and videoing the current condition of the line it is stored on disc and when they review a particular structure number they can visually see how it is built. They are using computers for time keeping purposes to keep track of every 1-10th of your work hour trying to standarize maintenence and construction work methods. I dont mean to sound so anti deregulation because I do believe that there are possibilities, but it was rushed way to fast to satisfy political intrests without the real issues being heard. The most obvious is if they are going to reduce electrical cost to the industrial base how will they make up the lost revenue?

-- jeff wachter (, October 24, 2000.

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