FROM THE EDITOR
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICAN
POWER GENERATION GROUP
EDITOR IN CHIEF
TransmissionHub Senior Analyst Corina Rivera-Linares
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT-AUDIENCE
DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING
AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
1421 S. Sheridan Road, Tulsa, OK 74112
PO Box 1260, Tulsa OK 74101
Phone 918.835.3161 Fax 918.831.9834
PENNWELL CORP. IN EUROPE
Penn Well International Limited
The Water Tower, Gunpowder Mill
Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 1BN, United Kingdom
CHAIRMAN — Robert F. Biolchini
VICE CHAIRMAN — Frank T. Lauinger
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF
EXECUTIVE OFFICER — Mark C. Wilmoth
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE
DEVELOPMENT AND STRATEGY — Jayne A. Gilsinger
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, FINANCE AND
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER — Brian Conway
P.O. Box 47570, Plymouth, MN 55447
POWERGRID International is the
offcial publication of
I’ve mentioned before that in addition to being editor in chief to POWERGRID
International, I also hold that title on Electric Light & Power, an industry publication that has been around for more than 95 years. We have a library here
in the corporate office that includes every print issue of Electric Light & Power
going back to the first issue of 1922. From time to time, someone will request
a copy of an article or advertisement from one of those old issues. I’m always
interested and entertained when I look through them.
I recently looked through some of the issues that were published in 1946
through 1948. This was a time when much of the U.S., especially in rural
areas, was being electrified and many new appliances and machines were being
introduced that made life easier for those who were fortunate enough to have
electricity in their homes.
Much of the content in these issues focused on modern technologies and
equipment that made infrastructure installation easier and safer, improved
power plant construction and performance, made the electric gird safer and
more reliable and improved the working conditions of employees in the field.
A portion of it, however, touted the benefits of modern technologies and equipment fueled by electricity.
Many feature articles and advertisements introduced new electric irons, refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances and machines that made life
easier for “housewives” and home owners. In 1946, one issue of the magazine
focused almost solely on streetlights and the role they would play in cities of the
future. Even earlier, in the 1920s, utilities sold electric lighting, not electricity,
and as late as in the 1950s and 1960s, utilities set up showrooms to feature new
all-electric kitchen appliances.
Such appliances and equipment are commonplace now and it’s hard for
most of us to imagine a world without them. In the early to mid-20th century,
however, they were new, unimagined technologies and electricity providers
were promoting them to their customers. During this time, utilities weren’t promoting kilowatt hours, they were selling convenience and modern technologies
that improved customers’ lives.
When did they stop doing this? Why did they stop? For the last several
decades, utility customers have bought modern conveniences and technologies
powered by electricity from other companies. Electric utilities have been OK with
it. But, it’s time for them to dig out their old playbook and take a refresher course
on offering customers the modern conveniences made possible by electricity.
On page 18, you’ll see an article by Mike Kaplan of Ecova titled “The Next Nest.”
In it he talks about doing just that. On page 31, Tom Rooney and Bill Moran of TRC
Companies explain how microgrids are a mega-opportunity for electric utilities.
You might think approaching customers and offering them modern technologies
and mega-opportunities is a new concept for utilities. But, I can promise you it isn’t.
What’s Old Is New Again