Papers

Below is a list of papers.

2016 Client Rate Survey Report --

Power System Engineering, Inc.

Each year, PSE’s Economics, Rates, and Business Planning group provides a customized report for its recent rate and cost of service study clients. This is a generic version of that report which includes financial, cost of service study and rate design information on the studies we recently completed.

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A Breakthrough: Repurposing the TV White Spaces Using Database-Driven Cognitive Radios --

Charles Plummer

This article discusses the progress of the FCC repurposing of TV White Spaces frequencies that became available due to the conversion to digital broadcast television. It discusses the history of the repurposing and the status of possible commercially available wireless data solutions using the newly available spectrum. 

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A Hybrid Commercial/Private Communications Architecture Approach --

Power System Engineering, Inc.

This article provides a summary of the backhaul communications approaches for the mid-grid utilizing a hybrid of both cellular and private communications technology for the backhaul of AMI and DA and other mid-grid applications.

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Cost and Service Reliability Performance Evaluation for Electric Distribution Utilities --

Steve Fenrick

This document provides the executive summary and concluding chapter for Mr. Fenrick’s master’s thesis. The topic is on cost, reliability, and productivity performance evaluation techniques for electric distribution utilities. For more information, please contact Steve Fenrick at fenricks@powersystem.org or 608-268-3549.

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Cost-Benefit Evaluation of Underground versus Overhead Power Lines --

Steve Fenrick

This document provides the Introduction to a paper on the development of a cost/benefit framework for the decision of placing power lines underground versus overhead. For more information, please contact Steve Fenrick at fenricks@powersystem.org or 608-268-3549.

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Demand Response: How Much Value is Really There? --

Steve Fenrick and Matt Sekeres

The basic premise behind DR sounds simple: reduce system peak by reducing energy use during high demand hours, thus lowering capital infrastructure costs and/or avoiding demand charges. Unfortunately, reducing system peak is not actually that simple.

This paper discusses DR programs, and includes a case study of how PSE's DR Optimizer Model helped a client grow their DR programs that maximized value. For more information, please contact Steve Fenrick at fenricks@powersystem.org or 608-268-3549.

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Evaluating Distribution System Losses Using Data from Deployed AMI and GIS Systems --

Jeff Triplett, P.E.

This paper presents a step-by-step approach to evaluating distribution system losses using AMI and GIS data.

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Get More from Your GIS: Improve Data Quality --

Power System Engineering, Inc.

This paper discusses how a utility can get more from their GIS, including the importance of spatial accuracy. Methods used to improve spatial accuracy, including Field Asset Inventory, Asset Inspection with GPS, and On-screen Spatial Corrections, are compared. For more information on GIS and mapping support, please contact Brian Kratcha at kratchab@powersystem.org or 608-268-3548.

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How is My Utility Performing? --

Steve Fenrick

This article explores a new method for setting the appropriate reliability target: econometric benchmarking. Currently, utilities typically compare their reliability scores against national reliability data. However, this comparison has severe limitations; e.g., how helpful is it for a utility with a rural, heavily vegetated service area to gauge its reliability against a utility with a dense, urban service area? The econometric method of setting reliability targets fixes this problem by setting a customized reliability target for a utility, based on its particular service territory characteristics. The article outlines the method and presents a sample case study from a utility in the central U.S. (“Midwestern Utility” or simply “Midwestern”) to illustrate the process.

For more information, please contact Steve Fenrick at 608-268-3549 or fenricks@powersystem.org.

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Improve Outage Handling and Protection: Four Ways Automation Can Improve How You Do Things Today --

Jim Weikert

Sometimes using the same process for many years can mean missed opportunities for improvement. And many utility engineers are not fully aware of what other options are available.
 
This article will review four different ways to improve outage handling and protection through automation currently available. Today, utilities are making improvements in how they:
  • Detect Outages and Locate Faults
  • Recreate What Happened During a Fault
  • Improve Restoration Time
  • Reduce Miscoordination
Some of these improvements are very straight forward to implement and use much of the equipment and software your utility likely has in place today. Other improvements rely on new software and systems.
 
Please contact Jim Weikert at 608-268-3556 or weikertj@powersystem.org for more information.

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Improving the Performance of Power Distributors by Statistical Performance Benchmarking --

Steve Fenrick

This paper discusses how statistical performance benchmarking can help power distributors improve their performance. For more information, please contact Steve Fenrick at 608-268-3549.

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NRECA Publishes Rate Case Studies Prepared by PSE --

Power System Engineering, Inc.

A recent NRECA publication prepared by PSE follows seven electric cooperatives as they implement innovative rate designs. Based on interviews with management, the case studies describe the obstacles that these cooperatives were facing—ranging from declining energy sales to the effects of distributed energy resources adoption—and the rate designs that were developed to better position the cooperatives for the future. Additionally, the studies offer a look at the strategies adopted by cooperative management to implement their new rates in a manner that accents the importance of timely communication, education of both the membership and staff, fairness, and transparency.

Visit NRECA's website to access the paper.

 

NRECA Solar Case Studies --

Garry Mbiad

PSE authored eight solar case studies for NRECA. They show how cooperatives – both distribution and G & T’s – are increasing their solar generation in innovative and cost effective ways. Utility owned generation, third party purchase power agreements, and community solar are used in different manners to respond to the membership’s request for solar energy, and at the same time, strengthen the bond between the Cooperative and the member.

Please visit NRECA.coop to access the case studies.

Peak Time Rebate Programs: Reducing Costs While Engaging Customers --

Steve Fenrick

Peak time rebate (PTR) programs reward customers who reduce electricity consumption during periods of high-cost electricity (peak times) with monetary rebates. Those who do not reduce usage during peak events are simply charged the normal rate.

The paper outlines how PTR rebates are calculated, program benefits, the importance of properly calling events, and the basic steps of setting up a PTR program.

For more information, please contact Steve Fenrick at fenricks@powersystem.org or 608-268-3549

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Performance Based Regulation for Electric and Gas Distributors --

Steve Fenrick and Rich Macke

This paper discusses the considerations and calculations in the design of a performance based regulation (PBR) rate plan for electric and gas utilities. For more information, please contact Steve Fenrick at fenricks@powersystem.org or 608-268-3549.

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Planning T&D "Reliability-Driven" Projects Using Cost-Benefit Analysis --

Steve Fenrick and Erik Sonju, P.E.

This paper discusses value based reliability planning for T&D investments.  A cost/benefit framework for reliability-driven investments is discussed.  For more information, please contact Steve Fenrick at fenricks@powersystem.org or 608-268-3549.

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Project Management for Implementing the Smart Grid --

Power System Engineering, Inc.

This paper illustrates the enterprise impact on a utility of implementing a Smart Grid system and the business need for establishing both project management methods and a Project Management Office (PMO). The PMO provides the standards and defines the processes and templates needed for consistent project execution, as well as the documentation repository for future reference.

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Proven Approach for Complex Technology Procurement --

Power System Engineering, Inc.

The procurement of technology is a complex process that requires the consideration of numerous factors and requirements within an organization. In our industry, smart-grid automation technology is heavily linked to key dependencies between various existing and future systems. Major software systems are also used cross-departmentally, requiring seamless integrations and varying user interfaces. By establishing a clearly defined procurement process, a utility can mitigate costly missteps and ensure that well-informed, strategic technology decisions align with its critical infrastructure planning.

Please contact Kyle Kopczyk at kopczykk@powersystem.org or 608-268-3539 with any questions you might have about procuring technology.

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Survey: Electric Cooperative Fixed Cost Recovery --

Rich Macke

The paper examines the importance of aligning rate and cost structures in utility ratemaking, including case studies that illustrate a gradual (or phased-in) customer charge, and one-time customer charge adjustments. For more information, please contact Rich Macke at macker@powersystem.org or 763-783-5349.

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Technology Planning to Maximize Your Investment --

Power System Engineering, Inc.

This article discusses PSE's strategic planning process that identifies the applications and technologies that will provide the best value and from there develop an implementation plan that ensures success, which we call a Technology Work Plan (TWP).

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Technology Procurement New Approaches --

Power System Engineering, Inc.

Is it time to replace your aging Customer Information System (CIS), Utility Billing (UB), Work Management Systems (WMS), or other Operational Systems? These are complex systems that require the consideration of numerous dependencies within an organization. Modern CIS/UB systems offer new products and services along with the flexibility to allow for multiple channels to connect and communicate with customers.

This paper outlines a process to help utilities prevent costly missteps and ensure that well-informed, strategic decisions align with critical infrastructure and program planning.

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The Strategic Communications Plan: Your Smartest Path to the Smart Grid --

Charles Plummer

This article, originally published in the UTC Journal, outlines steps for how strategic communications plans (SCP) can help utilities achieve their Smart Grid initiatives by deploying the most cost effective communications architectures.

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Unlock the Full Potential of Customer Surveys --

Power System Engineering, Inc.

This paper discusses the major applications of customer surveys in the electric utility setting. It covers the most popular sampling methods, including how these methods can impact effectiveness of various survey applications, and their advantages and disadvantages. Also included is an example of how you can use survey data to enhance marketing of demand response (DR) programs.

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When is the Timing Right to Migrate from PLC to Wireless AMI? --

Power System Engineering, Inc.

A utility’s decision to migrate to a wireless AMI system is dependent on numerous factors, including business objectives, the effectiveness of the current metering system, and interest level in offering advanced customer programs to members. Whether transitioning from manual meter reading to a first generation AMI, or gradually migrating away from a PLC AMI, the change comes with high stakes and high costs. Prior to making the decision to migrate, a utility needs to fully understand the associated costs and benefits by completing a comprehensive business case that outlines all the options and opportunities available. This paper outlines potential benefits of, and logical approaches to a wireless AMI migration.

Please contact Kyle Kopczyk at kopczykk@powersystem.org or 608-268-3539 with any questions you might have regarding AMI migration and AMI wireless solutions for your utility.

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