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Utilities [Electrical Apparatus]
[April 11, 2014]

Utilities [Electrical Apparatus]

(Electrical Apparatus Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Report details PG&E's economic contributions A recently released report shows that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. contributed $22.2 billion of economic activity and supported nearly 71,600 jobs in its service area in 2012.

The findings were released in the utility's newly completed economic impact study, conducted by the Sacramento-based Center for Strategic Economic Research. The report finds that PG&E accounted for 2% of all economic activity and supported about 1% of all jobs in its service area, which stretches from the Oregon state line to Bakersfield, Calif.

The Center for Strategic Economic Research is an economic research and consulting group specializing in applied research and strategy development in the regional economics and economic development fields.

NextEra Energy is No. 1 on Fortune magazine list NextEra Energy, Inc., of Juno Beach, Fla., has been named No. 1 overall among electric and gas utilities on Fortune magazine's 2014 list of the "World's Most Admired Companies." The company, whose principal subsidiaries are Florida Power & Light Co. and NextEra Energy Resources LLC, was named top in its industry for the eighth straight year.

In determining the industry rankings, approximately 15,000 senior executives, outside directors, and industry analysts were surveyed, and companies were rated on nine attributes: innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment, quality of products and services, and global competitiveness.

FirstEnergy to invest $110 million on upgrades As part of an ongoing effort to strengthen the durability and flexibility of its power system, FirstEnergy Corp. of Fairmont, W.Va., plans to invest more than $110 million in 2014 on service reliability infrastructure upgrades in Mon Power's 34-county service area, primarily in northcentral West Virginia.

The upgrades represent about a $32 million increase compared to what the company invested in reliability infrastructure in the same area last year.

Major projects scheduled for this year include improving transmission, building new distribution lines, replacing underground cables, inspecting and replacing equipment including utility poles, and tree trimming programs.

Mon Power's 2014 enhancements are expected to have both local and widespread system benefits to customers throughout the service area.

Xcel Energy announces plan to boost solar resources Citing the advantage of adding more solar energy at a lower customer cost, Xcel Energy of Minneapolis has submitted to state regulators a plan to add up to 150 MW of large-scale solar resources in its Upper Midwest service territory by the end of 2016.

The utility is proposing that a significant portion of Minnesota's solar standard be met through large-scale projects, which are more efficient and less expensive than rooftop solar and smaller distributed systems.

In February, the company notified the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission of its intention to issue a request for proposals by April 15 for large-scale solar projects totaling up to 150 MW to be installed by Dec. 31, 2016, prior to a reduction in the federal Investment Tax Credit for solar.

An omnibus energy bill passed last spring by the Minnesota Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton requires investor-owned utilities to acquire 1.5% of retail electricity sales from solar energy by 2020. Xcel Energy estimates that it will need approximately 300 MW of solar capacity to meet the standard.

GE invests in cloud-based grid monitoring provider General Electric's Digital Energy business has made a minority investment in Power Generation Services, Inc., a turnkey provider of managed energy services for distributed generation and distributed energy resources in North America.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

GE plans to add the PoGens capability to its suite of Grid IQ products to form an offering that combines GE's grid monitoring, outage detection, and asset management technology with PoGens' commercial generation assets.

"Lately we have seen a growing trend within the utility industry's shift to grid management software implementation to improve efficiency and resiliency of distribution grids," said Todd Jackson, a product line leader at GE's Digital Energy business. "Our cloud-based SaaS platform improves the functionality of a utility's grid and helps enable the company to address long-term energy challenges and meet growing customer needs." Grid IQ SaaS provides smalland midmarket utilities with grid-modernization technology without the overhead expenses associated with developing their own smart grid networks, according to GE.

Utility enters the liquid transport business AEP River Operations of Chesterfield, Mo., a division of American Electric Power of Columbus, Ohio, recently began operations of its new Liquids Division with the receipt of the first of 20 tank barges.

The addition of barges to the company's fleet will allow AEP River Operations to transport liquid commodities, including petrochemicals and agricultural chemicals.

"Entering the liquid cargo market means we can offer our customers a more complete range of services," said Keith Darling, president of AEP River Operations.

AEP River Operations' liquid barge fleet is being constructed by JefTboat of Jeffersonville, Ind. Each barge will have a capacity of 11,000 barrels and measure 200 feet long by 35 feet wide, with external frames, six-pound press tank tops, vapor recovery, and Tier III John Deere engines.

Customers are warned about 'Green Dot' scam DTE Energy of Detroit is warning customers about a scam in which a person claiming to be a DTE Energy employee calls a customer demanding immediate payment with a "Green Dot" card, a brand of prepaid debit card.

As of January, nearly 100 DTE Energy small business customers had been defrauded in five months, the utility reports. The scammers have taken more than $40,000 in just those reported cases alone. There were 29 cases reported in January.

The scam involves a person calling a business. usually during a busy time, claiming to be a DTE Energy employee. The scammer tells the customer that he or she owes a significant amount of money and that power will be shut off within an hour unless a payment is made.

The scam has been reported at a number of utility companies across the U.S. in the last year, according to DTE Energy.

Pepeo goes live with analytic grid software A grid management application for network reliability and improvements analysis has gone live at Pepeo, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pepeo Holdings, Inc., of Washington. Pepeo is a utility serving the Mid-Atlantic states.

The software, called GRIDplan Reliability, is a product of GRIDiant Corp. of Los Altos, Calif. It features high-definition grid simulation and visualization, grid analytics, and optimization applications provided to Pepeo under license from GRIDiant.

The application affords Pepeo engineers and executives new capabilities for visualizing and analyzing historic and current network outages.

It also helps identify and rank the most cost-effective capital and operational strategic investment initiatives for delivering network reliability improvement.

Edited by Kevin Jones (c) 2014 Barks Publications

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