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May 24, 2011 • Current Events, Electricity, Natural Gas, Perspectives

Cozying up to the fox?

by Brandon Dickerson

Eight months after the San Bruno, Calif., natural gas pipeline explosion killed eight people, injured dozens and left 55 homes uninhabitable, I still run across articles nearly every day regarding the ongoing investigation of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and what could have been done to avoid this tragedy. While most of these articles place an understandable and significant amount of blame on the utility, there have been a few that turn some of that blame to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). continue

April 4, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Generation, Sustainability

33% By 2020

by Brandon Dickerson

Several years ago, I was having what I considered to be a friendly conversation with a stranger about cap and trade legislation. Apparently, my self-monitor was slightly off that morning, because when I made a light-hearted joke, I was quickly put into my place and told how serious the issue was. I kindly apologized and exited the conversation as quickly as possible. However, I began thinking about the public perception and fear that comes with renewable legislation at the state and federal level. continue

March 7, 2011 • Electricity, Emerging Technology, Energy Efficiency, Perspectives

What are Smart Meters?

by Brandon Dickerson

With the recent event on Jeopardy in which Watson the computer decimated its human competitors, I thought it would be fun to start today’s post with a Jeopardy question:

Answer: This rhyming term refers to a utility employee who looks at electric, gas, or water consumption and records the volume used. continue

January 31, 2011 • Current Events, Electricity, Energy Generation, Perspectives

California Direct Access: Love it Or Hate It, It’s Here

by Brandon Dickerson

Having worked in the California utility electric power market for a year now, I have had the grand privilege of watching Senate Bill 695 play out. For those of you who don’t know, Senate Bill 695, signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in October 2009, laid the legislative groundwork allowing Direct Access to return to California (i.e. the ability to purchase electric power from a third-party supplier). Given the magnitude of the California energy crisis that occurred a decade ago, regulators have begun cautiously implementing SB 695 with the hope of testing the proverbial waters with regard to Direct Access. continue

January 7, 2011 • Electricity, Energy Efficiency

Demand Response…for my home!

by Brandon Dickerson

Over the course of my two years learning the regulated side of the energy industry, I have spent a great deal of time attempting to perfect the art of utilities management. Part of my job is to know a utility’s tariff inside out and have a detailed understanding of the various rates and programs offered to its customers. Through this endeavor, I have come across a multitude of demand response programs, each unique in how they benefit customers (or put customers at risk). As with most things, the programs that offer the most potential savings are also the ones that offer the most risk. continue

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