'Regulation of the utility industry dates to the Depression. Spurred by financial scandals and the fact that just three holding companies controlled 45 percent of the electric power generated in the United States, Congress adopted the Public Utility Holding Company Act in 1935. To prevent utilities from speculating with ratepayers' money, the act barred utilities from doing business across state lines. The result was localized utilities that did everything from run power plants to bill households, with regulated returns on investments in the country's power infrastructure'.
Wall Street and Ivy League Universities that are now simply corporate product mills are teamed in our US cities to build this global corporate control of all our vital American resources and infrastructure. This is where public private partnerships lead. It first uses taxpayer revenue to pay for the infrastructure-----SMART METERS, Trash cans, city buses, city hall phone structures-----Baltimore has spent billions of dollars on these systems all due to be handed to private investment firms and global corporations. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Baltimore citizens and their communities are in decay and poverty so Baltimore can maximize global corporate profits.
I have spoken against SMART METER technology before and I want to revisit this as the coming bond market crash has Wall Street development corporations pushing hard to have cities pay for and install all of the infrastructure they plan to take private after city bankruptcies from bond market fraud.
Below you see the latest in trash can technology-----Americans can no longer look at a RubberMaid trash can the same again. I talk trash today---but we see energy and water all going to SMART METER control all under the guise of being efficient and green.
THIS IS NEO-LIBERALISM AND NEO-CONSERVATISM MOVING ALL GOVERNMENT CONTROL TO A GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL....AS THESE ARE GLOBAL CORPORATIONS GETTING THESE CITY CONTRACTS.
As you see this is happening world-wide as global corporations take all public works controlling vital public services. Think for one second----if your trash can is weighed and you are charged for that weight----what will people be out in the neighborhood doing? Dumping all that is heavy in other people's trash can for goodness sake. We already fight this with development contractors dumping heavy items like building and housing waste in our alleys.
People will be targeted with inflated bills just as global oil raises gas prices at the pump using the American people as an ATM to boost profits whenever they want. Please stop allowing global corporations privatize all that is public. Right now, city governments like Baltimore are filled with pols that are not Democrat or Republican----they simply install whatever they are told by Wall Street Development Corporations----GET RID OF THESE POLS WHO COULD CARE LESS ABOUT THE FUTURE---THEY ARE ONLY WORKING FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL GAIN.
It's not only the Meter on our houses----it is all the technology wrapped with it and the global connection to who runs these operations. We are seeing some of the most toxic manufacturing processes being super-sized for this----we are seeing massive networks being built to run all of this cyber technology from global online education, global online telemedicine and health tourism, from all government records online----IT IS BUILDING A HUGE INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WILL TAKE ALL OUR FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL REVENUE TO SUPPORT AND WE DO NOT NEED IT.
All of this is being done because of global markets and the idea that with all Americans impoverished----corporations must now market to the world's rich. It also ties to the goal of a global corporate tribunal controlling what they see as colonial International Economic Zones from afar-----these SMART METERS will give a global entity the power to cut off large sectors of US water, energy, and communications at will -----TALK ABOUT AN AUTOCRATIC REPRESSIVE POLICY!!!!!
Surely there's a smarter approach to smart cities?
Ideas Bank 17 April 12 by Guest Author
For almost a decade, corporate giants like IBM and Cisco have been banging the smart city drum and, frankly, the beat is getting a little boring. We've long been promised great things: more energy efficient power grids, an end to traffic jams and even rubbish bins that let you know when they're full.
The truth is, all of these "smart city" initiatives actually only reflect the most basic functionalities of the Internet of Things (IoT). The true potential for smart cities is so much greater, so much more interesting, and so much more important.
Bin the smart trash cans
These days, every major IT company is looking for its slice of the smart city pie, given the projection that annual spending on smart city technology will reach $16 billion by 2020. In 2008, IBM launched its Smarter Planet initiative, a broad programme to investigate the application of sensors, networks and analytics to the most tricky urban issues. Meanwhile, Cisco has launched a Smart+Connected Communities division to commercialise sustainable approaches to urban environments.
Despite the subtle differences in these approaches, in both IBM and Cisco's eyes smart cities predict the convergence of smart information and communication technologies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of urban systems and services.
Whether we are talking about IBM deploying an Operations Centre in Rio to combine data from 30 urban agencies, or Cisco's partnership with the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York to improve rail and station monitoring, these attempts approach the evolution of smart cities from fundamentally the wrong direction.
Both initiatives are looking for a one-size fits all, top-down strategic approach to sustainability, citizen well-being and economic development. In short, their strategies focus on the city as a single entity, rather than the people -- citizens -- that bring it to life.
Any adequate model for the smart city must focus on the smartness of its citizens and encourage the processes that make cities important: those that sustain very different -- sometimes conflicting -- activities. Cities are, by definition, engines of diversity so focusing solely on streamlining utilities, transport, construction and unseen government processes can be massively counter-productive, in much the same way that the 1960s idealistic fondness for social-housing tower block economic efficiency was found, ultimately, to be socially and culturally unsustainable.
We, citizens, create and recreate our cities with every step we take, every conversation we have, every nod to a neighbour, every space we inhabit, every structure we erect, every transaction we make. A smart city should help us increase these serendipitous connections. It should actively and consciously enable us to contribute to data-making (rather than being mere consumers of it), and encourage us to make far better use of data that's already around us.
The smart city starts with you
The "smartness" of smart cities will not be driven by orders coming from the unseen central government computers of science fiction, dictating the population's actions from afar. Rather, smart cities will be smart because their citizens have found new ways to craft, interlink and make sense of their own data.
Smart cities cannot be defined by one application, or central organising body, that sets pre-programmed limits. They will be defined by individual citizens, who are anxious to collaborate with each other -- to create devices and applications that solve specific local problems. Smart cities will be places that foster creativity, where citizens are generators of ideas, services and solutions, rather than subservient and passive recipients of them. Like Jane Jacobs, I believe that citizens will shape the cities of the future for themselves, creating "spontaneous order from below".
This is an approach that makes more sense, given the current economic reality worldwide. Can a city like Rio -- one that is currently struggling financially to support basic social programs -- really "sensor enable" every street, traffic light, police car and more? And even if it could find funding for the sensor hardware and installation costs, the on-going maintenance would be enormous. The sheer volume of accessible data being transmitted would force huge investment in data centres and other IT infrastructure.
But let's say IBM did all of that. It would still have forgotten that smartness is not just about efficiency (e.g. using less power) but crucially also about creating a flexible system that can dynamically adjust to changes, one that responds to unpredictable phenomena in a way that is not planned, and that harnesses the creative capacity of inhabitants.
Citizens should be able to adjust and rewire the smart city as needed to solve problems and overcome obstacles in their own lives. Smart systems cannot just be installed atop a city, and then maintained as the unchanging status quo forever. The smart city gets reconfigured every day.
The role of governments and corporations
Corporations and governments certainly have a major role to play in the smart city -- by making data openly available for coders to build upon -- but it's not just about making data public; it's also about the public making data. So they must also make it easy for citizens themselves to create and contribute their own data.
For example, there are currently dozens of official air quality monitoring systems in place in cities throughout the world. They provide good information about general pollution levels at a neighbourhood scale and making this data available to the public could be beneficial. But the information is useless for a citizen that actually wants to make decisions: most people don't have the financial freedom simply to move house just because their neighbourhood has bad air.
A citizen-led air quality monitoring system would see measurements taken at a much higher resolution in places (e.g. at the height of a children's stroller) that the official network just doesn't reach. Children could learn which side of the park to play on. People could decide to walk different routes to work. They could measure the specific impact of their own cars. They could learn more about the real-time impact of attempts to improve their local air quality, for example by planting greenery around or inside their homes. They could easily experiment with and share strategies with each other. None of this is possible if they're merely passive consumers of someone else's data.
So there's also an important role for government to play in terms of mandating compliance with common frameworks, open standards and structured-data formats. How much easier would it be for a community to build programs around their data, for example, if a municipality made it a requirement of commercial licensure that businesses publish their data through an appropriately-defined API?
And, of course, there are some things that can only be accomplished at scale, particularly the kind of heavy infrastructural investments that underwrite robust, equal, society-wide access to connectivity. So the rollout of mobile coverage and broadband connectivity will still be very much in the hands of organisations and governments.
No golden bullet
The entry of pervasive computing into the city cannot be seen as a "one-stop-shop" that will solve all of our problems from pollution to traffic management. Despite the best intentions of Cisco and IBM, connecting systems and bridging data will not by itself solve tough issues. At best, such systems will likely just provide greater visibility of urban problems.
However, empowering citizens to find and build their own solutions dynamically may yet allow the full potential of smart cities to be realised.
First, having your electricity delivered by a local public utility with electricity created in small power plants IS THE GREEN SOLUTION TO OUR ENERGY NEEDS. There is nothing more environmentally damaging than battery technology-----nano-cellular technology-----and if you can imagine how all this pollution will explode if this move by global corporations to seize control of our national, state, and local water, energy, and communications-----WHEN NONE OF THIS IS NEEDED----then you see the problem. This is literally an attack on US vital infrastructure by entities that do not have the interests of our nation and its citizens at heart. This is the same as an enemy invading a nation, taking control of its government, and then using that nation's economy to fuel its own power.
THINK ABOUT THIS GLOBAL CENTRALIZED CONSTRUCT FOR ALL NATION'S VITAL RESOURCES AND INFRASTRUCTURE FOLKS.
Then think about how national labor and justice leadership is promoting all of this----it is Baltimore City Hall and Baltimore Maryland Assembly pols introducing laws written by Baltimore Development and Johns Hopkins allowing all this global structure to be built and it is local labor and justice organizations who support the politicians working for these global entities.
We have over 600,000 citizens in Baltimore most of which live close to poverty that will be adversely affected by all of this the most----and it is their pols helping global corporations to do it.
JOBS, JOBS, JOBS--------AS ALL OF THIS IS CALLED GREEN-----ENVIRONMENTAL AND SUSTAINABLE GROWTH.
The need for technologies that can handle this much global grid activity-----all of the cyber policing in the trillions of dollars to try to secure all of this----and it will not----is all being done simply to move money into products and as a crazy effort of a few to control the world. As this global corporate flood of business hits the internet----know who will no longer be able to access the ordinary internet? THE WORLD'S CITIZENS AND SMALL BUSINESSES.
SMART GRID TOOLS & ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS
Smart grid solutions ensure a sustainable future with renewable energy
As the Smart Grid implementation process continues, systematic and strategic, sustainable technology is crucial to take advantage of the enormous opportunities Smart Electrical Grids offers.
In this dossier, you will find:
- Smart Grid Definition
- Overview Smart Grid Companies and StartUps
- Overview latest energy storage systems like batteries and more
Worldwide, businesses, governments and universities collaborate to develop innovative, next-generation technologies and tools for (renewable) energy transmission, distribution, energy storage, power electronics, cybersecurity and the advancement of precise time-synchronized measures of certain parameters of the electric grid. And we need it to transform to a new, green world.
Smart grids are future-ready power grids They are enhanced with modern information and communications technologies (ICT), monitoring and automation tools that allow for a more efficient management of your community’s energy needs.
By seeing what is happening on the grid in terms of energy use and production, energy activity can be actively managed in the best way, guaranteeing you a more reliable supply of electricity in a cost and resource efficient way.
By building less and saving more energy, the Smart Grid is an effective tool for addressing current grid pressures and challenges, with the added benefits of providing economic development and employment opportunities throughout the World.
2. Overview Smart Grid Companies and StartUps S&C Electric S&C Electric Company is building on its long experience in utility-grade switching and protection products and smart grid solutions, S&C installed its first MW-scale energy storage system in 2006 and has since connected over 150 MWh of storage to the grid in the United States, Australia, Europe, and Canada.
The company uses its proprietary power conversion system (PCS) to integrate a wide variety of battery chemistries, catering to each specific application. S&C recently completed the 6MW/10 MWh UK Power Network installation, the largest energy storage system in Leighton Buzzard (UK) Europe.
Stem Stem is another startup that has been getting quite a lot of attention in the past year. It is keen to focus on the word “intelligent” when describing its energy storage solutions, as its offering is not just about the batteries but the software surrounding them and connecting them to other components of the electricity system.
It offers “an integrated solution of cloud-based predictive software and advanced energy storage,” according to its website. “The Stem system lowers your monthly energy bill by reducing peak loads, predicting your energy usage patterns, and deploying stored energy at precise times—with no change to how your business operates.”
It is targeting business and utility applications.
Sunverge Sunverge is also focused on the term “intelligent,” Sunverge is focused on utilization with distributed energy storage application (i.e., solar power). “It combines batteries, power electronics, and multiple energy inputs in a UL-certified appliance that is remotely managed and controlled by software running in the cloud.” Its target customers include electricity consumers, electricity retailers, and utilities.
It recently teamed up with SunPower — one of the largest solar power companies in the world — for solar + storage applications in the US and Australia.
Siemens Open Model for Smart Grids
Siemens developed an European Model for Smart Grids With the Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM), Siemens has developed an open standards model whereby power supply companies and industry can display aspects of smart grid systems. The model can be used for the visualization, validation, and configuration of smart grid projects, and also for standardization within smart grids.
3. Trends and finding reported in The Economist of Load Defection
- Solar power plus battery systems rapidly become cost effective
According to the report: “Grid-connected systems of this analysis become economic for customers much sooner, with substantial utility load loss well within the economic life and cost recovery period for major assets.
New customers will find solar-plus-battery systems configurations most economic in three of our geographies within the next 10–15 years.”
- Solar power contribution will rise significantly
As electricity prices from the grid increase and solar and battery costs decrease, customers logically reduce their grid purchases until the grid takes a backup-only role. Meanwhile, solar-plus-battery systems eventually provide the majority of customers’ electricity.
- The grid requires an approximate investment of $100 billion a year, or $2 trillion between 2010 and 2030
A large impact on system economics can come from a relatively small decline in kWh sales revenue. “Notably, our analysis shows that grid-connected solar-plus-battery systems become economic for large numbers of customers, and those systems have the potential to supply greater and greater portions of customers’ electricity.”
- Smart Grid Battery: Molten Salt Battery
- Smart Grid Battery: Lithium-ion Battery
- Smart Grid Battery: Redox Flow Battery
- Smart Grid ‘Battery’: what about Compressed Air?
- Smart Grid Energy storage: Flywheels
- Smart Grid Energy storage: UltraCapacitors
- Floating train at 2000 km/h set to store 10% of Dutch electricity
- World’s first ‘Solar Battery’ runs on light and air
- NEW: clean ‘battery’ Hydrogen Storage Solution
- NEW: Organic Battery for almost every Renewable Energy Power Facility
- Aluminum battery loads in 1 Minute (Stanford)
- Green Battery Using Hydropneumatics
- Expected: sustainable battery from sea salt
- New water tank can retain > 90 percent of the energy
- Geothermal energy from old, closed coal mines
- SMART GRID CHALLENGES, TOOLS AND ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS
- PROS & CONS OF (RENEWABLE) ENERGY SOURCES
- TRENDING RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES AND INITIATIVES
- FLOOD SOLUTIONS – FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT
- BRAZIL DEHYDRATES
- FRESH WATER TECHNOLOGIES
- GREEN & BLUE CITY SOLUTIONS
mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Responses to SMART GRID TOOLS & ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS P Ouellette June 29, 2015 at 16:27 Log in to Reply Most technical types seem to focus in on one or a few of the capabilities of energy storage. There are many more less tangible benefits that are a win/win for the customer and the local utility.
– the capability of integrating renewables more efficiently
– manage distribution system co-incident peak demand
– a source of available energy during customer outages
are but three of the win/wins.
Most marketers, utilities, and smart grid gurus have a hard time putting numbers on these things because they all are utility, or even microgrid level specific. On a personal level, I think the battery technology is not quite there yet. In my jurisdiction, the average home (in California) will use about 25-30 kWh/day (yes we are in a electrically intensive area) outside of the heating season. A Tesla battery solution will supply ~10 kWh. Basically, this battery integrated with a solar PV solution under the best circumstances MAY supply just enough power to get you through a normal day during an outage situation. This would be the main reason a customer in my area would buy such a battery.
So, very little benefit for the customer in an extended outage situation, however a very large benefit to the utility in every case outside of this scenario. What usually benefits the utility also benefits the customer by keeping pressure on rate increases lower.
I think batteries need to cross the 15-18 kWh capacity boundary with a 6 kW capacity (basically two powerwalls) for the price of one before utilities start incenting this type of technology and customers start buying them. The integration to a utility system is paramount. The communication to this type of controller is a whole different conversation.
The American people do not even know the goals of these policies---they do not know what these Congressional laws being passed under the guise of Homeland Security does to the Constitutional rights of the American people and what it does in making the US a global aggressor for any number of reasons now. It goes with the Snowden leak that showed the NSA and global espionage by Wall Street and how everything any nation does is now a threat to US interests as it compromises global markets.
This Act is too long to post----but take a few minutes to see how this consolidation of all American vital infrastructure into the hands of a few comes with more and more need for a Homeland Security to feel everyone is a threat.
THIS IS ALL THE SMART GRID TECHNOLOGY-----COSTING THE TAXPAYERS TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS----THIS IS WHERE OUR FEDERAL TRUSTS ARE DISAPPEARING TO-----ALL SO GLOBAL CORPORATIONS CAN SELL PRODUCTS OVERSEAS WHILE THEY KEEP AMERICAN CITIZENS TOO IMPOVERISHED TO FUEL THE US ECONOMY WITH CONSUMPTION.
None of this has anything to do with being green or efficient-----it is entirely for centralized control of all American infrastructure.
It is US cities like Baltimore who are passing and installing these structures that will then feed into state functions-----and Baltimore City pols running as Democrats and working for a very neo-conservative Johns Hopkins-----and Wall Street Baltimore Development----paving the way.
WE NEED GOOD PEOPLE RUNNING IN OUR LOCAL AND STATE PRIMARY ELECTIONS----THE SAME IS HAPPENING IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WITH NEO-CONS TAKING CONTROL OF WHAT REAL REPUBLICANS DO NOT LIKE.
[Congressional Record: June 9, 2010 (House)] [Page H4256-H4262]
GRID RELIABILITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEFENSE ACT
Mr. MARKEY of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 5026) to amend the Federal Power Act to protect the bulk-power system and electric infrastructure critical to the defense of the United States from cybersecurity and other threats and vulnerabilities, as amended. The Clerk read the title of the bill. The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 5026 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act'' or the ``GRID Act''.
Below you see a corporate view of this grid with the call for more and more money to protect it.
Protecting the SMART Grid From Cyber Attack
by Greg on June 17, 2010
By Kevin Coleman
Defense Tech Cyber Warfare Analyst
Acts of cyber aggression and physical attacks against our critical infrastructure would be catastrophic events. Many believe a successful attack is inevitable, while others believe the threat is over-blown. One thing everyone agrees on is the fact that protection against cyber and physical attacks must be in place.
As discussed on this blog earlier the CIA and others have long warned of cyber threats against the nation’s critical infrastructure. Recent alarm bells have focused on the SMART GRID, which has been the rage as of late. Many point to these SMART devices as yet another exposure to acts of cyber aggression; efforts are underway to address SMART GRID security.
The Wall Street Journal (April 2009) cited intelligence sources that claim the power grid has already been compromised by Russia and China. Both of these countries were said to have installed malicious code that they could activate and disrupt or destroy portions of the grid at their command. If you believe this report and others from members of our intelligence sources, our grid is already compromised and it looks like Washington is now taking action.
Last week, the Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act (HR 5026 — the GRID Act) passed the House of Representatives. Analysis of this piece of legislation found that the bill, as passed is very similar to the Committee on Homeland Security’s H.R. 2195. One section of the GRID Act in the event of a Presidential emergency declaration provides the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with the authority to take actions needed to protect our grid.
Reference: HR 5026, text of the bill.
This legislation is basically reactive to an attack. Don’t you think we should be taking a proactive approach and remove the vulnerabilities before they are exploited? Recent estimates put utility investment in Smart Grid Cyber Security will rapidly climb to $21 Billion by 2015. That is a start, but what about the Dumb Grid in place today?
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know how these policies are the worst in the world----only people having very bad motives would be doing this.
With local power plants a sector can go down because of malfunction and/or damage and only a few houses and businesses are affected and the workers sent to repair can quickly assess the problems. We have our electricity or water back in no time. This is the infrastructure that should be built. These local power plants hired lots of local employees to keep our energy, water, and waste running efficiently and serving all people equally.
Flash forward to growing consolidation with O'Malley in Maryland just handing Baltimore and Maryland citizens over to what will become a national energy corporation building this SMART GRID----and we have BGE maximizing profits by doing no maintenance responding only when storms cause major damage needing to bring in workers from all over the region and taking weeks to get things straight. Then think to the future when this global SMART GRID serviced online by workers in third world nations and a center of attacks by cyber--warfare------and the US will look like IRAQ with energy, water, and waste control sporadic and undependable while all of US taxpayer revenue focuses only on keeping this global corporate market grid operating and protected.
IT IS INEVITABLE FOLKS-----WE ARE LOSING OUR RIGHTS AS CITIZENS TO EQUAL ACCESS TO VITAL ENERGY, WATER, AND WASTE CONTROL WITH MORE AND MORE REVENUE GOING TO PROTECT GLOBAL CORPORATE OPERATIONS.
'State legislatures may enact captive insurance laws that form insurance companies for the specific purpose of insuring data breach risks ("Cyber Captives"). '
Protecting utilities from the risk of data breach
Cybersecurity, Allocation of Risk, and the Need for Prevent Energy Breach and Liability Agreements March 24, 2015
by Jeremy L. Susac and Steven D. Weber
Jeremy L. Susac
Energy is the lifeblood of the economy. It powers our homes and businesses, and supports critical government services that ensure our public safety. According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), our electricity is generated by 6,997 operational power plants with a nameplate generation capacity of at least one megawatt. The generated electricity is transmitted over 2.7 million miles of electrical wires into our homes, businesses, and government buildings. Those 2.7 million miles are coordinated by interconnected computers belonging to the electric industry, reliability councils and various state and federal regulators. Those regulators oversee 3,200 utilities in the United States, which are interconnected by even more computers spread across the 50 states.
Standardizing the smart grid
Many of those utilities are just beginning to use the "smart grid." Under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is tasked as the "primary responsibility to coordinate development of a framework that includes protocols and model standards for information management to achieve interoperability of smart grid devices and systems…" [EISA Title XIII, Section 1305]. Congress and NIST both recognize the urgent need to establish rigorous protocols and standards for a 21st Century Grid (i.e. "smart grid"). Over the last decade, there has been a tremendous deployment of various smart grid elements to increase efficiency and reliability of the U.S. electrical grid. These elements include smart sensors on distribution lines, smart meters in homes, and wi-fi enabled home thermostats, many of which are developed by third party vendors.
Steven D. Weber
The smart grid will ultimately require hundreds of standards and specifications, but some standards are more urgently needed than others. To prioritize NIST's deployment of standards, NIST chose to focus, in large part, on eight priority areas identified in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Policy Statement.
One of those eight priority areas is cybersecurity, because the grid's reliance on so many wires creates the opportunity for cyber-vulnerability. Without rigorous interoperability standards between utilities and third party vendors (like thermostat manufacturers) with respect to the smart grid, the entire grid – and our entire economy – could be shut down using a mouse and keyboard because even if utilities employ the most rigorous defenses, their 2.7 million miles of interconnected electrical wires are only as strong as its weakest link – which could be a third party vendor. As a result, integration of third party vendors (and the cybersecurity risks they bring) into the smart grid raises questions like, do utilities need insurance to combat these risks? Should third party vendors indemnify utilities for losses sustained when hackers bring down all or a portion of the grid through a third party entry point?
"Prevention of power loss from cybersecurity attacks is a compelling national security necessity," according to Jacob Worenklein, chairman and CEO of U.S. Grid Company. "The head of the U.S. National Security Agency reported to Congress that the loss of 10 major electric substations in the United States from a cybersecurity attack could plunge the entire country into a blackout that would last at least four months and would kill millions of people. Prevention of these attacks requires attention on many fronts relating to training, software and hardware, including such basic actions as verification of authorized personnel through monitoring of patterns of conduct in their computer usage, identification and isolation of malicious activities in the computer network, identification of IP-addressable malware in hardware installed by enemies that can be remotely activated, training of personnel against sloppy but innocent behavior such as clicking on links and opening attachments from email senders who often appear to be plausibly appropriate, and placing USB flash drives into their computers."
Worenklein predicted that many Federal and state agencies with jurisdiction over the rates of the nation's utility companies will over the next several years mandate utility companies to take certain actions and make certain investments which will be designed to significantly reduce the risks of cybersecurity attacks that take down their systems.
"Many utility companies today are reluctant to invest the massive amounts of capital needed to fully protect their systems on the basis that these investments are not required by law and may not be recoverable through their rates. This disincentive needs to and will be eliminated," according to Worenklein.
Mitigating data breach risk
One way for utilities to mitigate the risk of a data breach is to enter into a Prevent Energy Breach and Liability agreement (PEBAL). A PEBAL is an agreement by which a utility agrees with all or certain third party vendors to cooperate in defending their networks and to allocate the risk of a data breach. Numerous factors must be considered when entering into a PEBAL, some of which will be addressed here.
One way for utilities to mitigate the risk of a data breach is to enter into a Prevent Energy Breach and Liability agreement. In negotiating a PEBAL, the parties must first determine the relevant level of computer security to maintain. On February 12, 2014, NIST released the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (the "Framework"). The Framework "uses a common language to address and manage cybersecurity risk in a cost-effective way based on business needs without placing additional regulatory requirements on businesses." The Framework is voluntary and is meant to assist the critical infrastructure community: entities that have a role in securing "systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters."
Utilities are part of that community and, even though the Framework is voluntary, their failure to abide by it may result in liability. Parties to a PEBAL may establish the relevant level of security to maintain based on the Framework and requirements imposed by applicable law. The vast majority of states have enacted data beach laws and other cybersecurity regulations, which may apply to utilities. International laws and regulations may also apply. Some of those laws and regulations may impose security standards that differ based on where the parties to the agreement reside and operate. The parties should clearly agree to maintain a standard of security that meets all applicable obligations.
The parties to a PEBAL must decide who should pay the fees and costs involved in maintaining the level of security imposed by a PEBAL. It is unlikely that the level of security maintained by utilities and third party vendors is uniform prior to entering into a PEBAL. As a result, the parties may need to substantially upgrade their computer hardware, software, training, and other practices, and the parties may decide to consult with a dedicated security vendor -- each of which may carry significant costs. Any PEBAL should take into account the cost of ensuring that the parties to the PEBAL are able to meet the relevant security standard and who pays for those costs.
Parties to a PEBAL should determine whether third party vendors will indemnify a utility in the event of a data breach. Many third party vendors could not operate without access provided by a utility – their products might depend on such access. By giving third party vendors access to their networks and the grid, utilities are necessarily exposing themselves to vulnerabilities in the event that one of those third party vendors experiences a data breach. The parties should negotiate in advance who bears the cost of the breach and the extent to which they will respond to a breach so that all rights and liabilities are determined in advance. In exchange for providing the third party vendors with access to the grid, the utilities may require third party vendors to indemnify them for any and all damages they incur as a result of a data breach due to the third party vendor. The parties might tie such an indemnification provision to a third party vendor's compliance with cybersecurity standards imposed by the utility.
Parties to a PEBAL should also consider obtaining cyber insurance, and the PEBAL should state which party or parties will bear the cost of it. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DOHS), cybersecurity insurance is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, theft, business interruption, and network damage. The key characterization is "mitigate," because there is no guaranteed prevention. Further, the DOHS' National Protection Program Directorate (NPPD) found that the first-party cybersecurity insurance market is a nascent market, especially related to coverage for cyber-related critical infrastructure loss, like power plants and the electrical grid. In the wake of a data breach, there may be many costs associated with the data breach that are not immediately foreseeable to the utility or a third party vendor. A utility may be required to pay for attorneys, pay for security experts, pay for public relations specialists, and prepare reports to government organizations on the severity and scope of the data breach.
Utilities as cyber captives
One cyber insurance strategy that may be incorporated into the PEBAL is a captive insurance program that includes the state's electric utilities and third party vendors. State legislatures may enact captive insurance laws that form insurance companies for the specific purpose of insuring data breach risks ("Cyber Captives").
As applied to utilities, Cyber Captives would enable a state's utilities to be self-insured, and protect them and their customers against losses related to data breaches. Each utility in the state would be required to be a member of a state's Cyber Captive. The Cyber Captive would hold a pool of funds from the utilities to offset losses due to data breaches. The utilities could recover their contribution to the pool through a surcharge to their customers that is proportionate to their customer base and potential liability. A PEBAL, in conjunction with a Cyber Captive, may additionally mitigate the risks posed by third party vendors by requiring those third party vendors to charge their customers an amount at the time those customers purchase the product, which would be contributed to the Cyber Captive's pool of funds. Obtaining and implementing cyber insurance through an insurance policy, captive insurance law, or other method will crystalize the utilities' response in the event of a data breach and help mitigate the costs associated with any breach.
The PEBAL cannot absolutely prevent data breaches but it will mitigate the risk of them. Before entering into any such agreement, a utility should assess the extent to which a data breach by a third party vendor will impact them. Accurately and completely understanding the extent to which utilities are vulnerable to data breaches through third party vendors will lead to better results in drafting the PEBAL. Utilities would be well served to determine whether a PEBAL is right for them and, if so, who they should enter into it with and under what terms.
SURPRISE!!!!! Privatizing public utilities cost more than public. Think what will happen as these SMART GRIDS make this consolidation national to a couple global utility corporations. If we sit back and allow this SMART GRID be built-----all of the local infrastructure is destroyed -----making it harder for citizens to take back these vital structures. These policies are being pushed at record speed under Obama and Clinton neo-liberals who work for the global corporate tribunal-----the neo-cons are simply the military and spying apparatus that will take trillions of dollars trying to defend this mess.
The prices for water, electric, and waste will continue to rise even after this supposed ratepayer increase to pay corporations for their own operating costs. It will especially target the poor in cities---as is the goal in Baltimore----but as important any middle-class left will be used as an ATM paying for all operating costs. LET'S ELECT PEOPLE WHO SEE PUBLIC UTILITIES THAT ARE REGULATED AND PROVIDE EQUAL SERVICE FOR ALL AT A LOW COST -----ALL MARYLAND POLS---AND ESPECIALLY BALTIMORE POLS SUPPORT TOTAL DEREGULATION AND CONSOLIDATION AND SMART GRID.
California electric bill shock: Private firms charge way more than public utilities
A Southern California Edison worker fixes a severed power line in Torrance. A survey of electricity providers shows bills are higher at investor-owned utilities such as Edison.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times) By Jeff McDonald
Electric bill shock: Private companies in California charge customers way more than public utilities do You'd pay $58 in Sacramento for 500 kilowatt hours of electricity. In San Diego? You'd pay double for the same Executive compensation is 'big cost driver' of high rates at private electric firms in California, expert says In Sacramento, a family using 500 kilowatt hours of electricity last October was charged $58. Customers in Los Angeles, also served by a public utility district, paid $79.
Pacific Gas & Electric charged $93 for the same amount of power. Southern California Edison billed customers $97. And San Diego Gas & Electric topped the Southern California Public Power Authority survey at $116 for 500 kilowatt hours.
The comparison of rates charged by public and private electricity providers in California shows a notable discrepancy in the amounts customers pay for power, depending on where they live and which provider serves them.
Especially for heavy users, bills are higher at the investor-owned utilities SDG&E, Edison and PG&E, overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission. The commission is required to make sure the rates are just and reasonable at the private utilities, and doesn’t oversee the municipal districts.
The utilities commission, which is the subject of separate state and federal investigations into possible favoritism and back-channel communications with utility executives, says costs are higher at private companies, in part, because they operate under different rules.
lRelated Op-EdPUC may short-circuit California's fair, progressive electricity rate policySee all related8 “There are federal and state regulatory requirements that apply to investor-owned utilities that do not apply to publicly owned utilities,” said Terrie Prosper, a commission spokeswoman. “Publicly owned utilities have access to very-low-cost federal preference power from federally operated dams that the investor-owned utilities do not have access to, and many publicly owned utilities have access to low-cost financing that makes their capital investments much less expensive.”
Municipal utilities say their rates are lower because there is no profit margin and their revenue is reinvested into the public service.
L.A. won't buy power from Mojave Desert solar plant, after all “Simply put, money spent here stays here,” said Heather Raymond, a spokeswoman for the city of Riverside, which has delivered its own water and power since 1895. “That’s great news for communities like Riverside that have utilities that are able to give back in the way of community support.”
The public agencies have their problems as well, including in Los Angeles, where a recent audit found $40 million of ratepayer money was spent on overpaid managers, personal expenses and vendors hired without competitive bids.
Critics have said the Riverside utilities department artificially increased rates to cover other city costs, and in Pasadena, a city employee was arrested in December and charged with embezzling $6.4 million of power customer payments.
- @msblack Mel-bur is probably heating with electric, and temps in Ontario are -10F at night Dec-Feb... StefanChex at 12:12 AM June 16, 2015
“Under the law, we can’t buy electricity generated from coal while the municipal utilities are permitted to do so,” said Russell Worden, managing director for state regulatory operations at Edison. “And we have a greater number of renewables in our generation portfolio.”
Salary and benefits paid to executives at investor-owned utilities -- generally higher than those paid by public agencies -- also affect rates, consumer advocates say.
Public salaries criticized at the Los Angeles utilities department were $220,000, compared with $11.6 million in cash and equity in 2014 for the CEO of PG&E, an investor-owned utility, or IOU.
“Public utility executives don’t make nearly as much as IOU executives do, and they are typically smaller agencies with smaller staffs, so executive compensation is a big cost driver,” said Stephanie Chen of the Greenlining Institute, a Berkeley nonprofit group.
San Diego Gas & Electric spokeswoman Amber Albrecht said several factors can result in different energy costs imposed by municipal and investor-owned utilities.
“This includes the number of customers, the type of customers, energy consumption, if the utility has a service fee and the regulatory process,” she said. “In our service area, our customers use less energy, which means fewer [kilowatt hours] to spread costs to maintain a safe and reliable energy network.”
Electric rates charged by Edison, PG&E and SDG&E are divided into four tiers, the cost of each level climbing as more power is consumed. All three have applications pending that would raise rates.
According to utility records, Edison charges residential customers a baseline minimum of 14.88 cents per kilowatt hour. The PG&E base rate starts at 16.35 cents per hour, and the SDG&E cost opens at 17.4 cents.
The Public Utilities Commission is now considering a change to its long-standing rate structure. Under the so-called time-of-use standard, the number of tiers would be reduced to two and customers would pay sliding costs depending on when they use the power they consume.