If the smart grid gets stalled in North America, it may be partly because utility executives are simply too busy with other issues.

Electric power faces unprecedented uncertainty, warned industry leaders during the EUCG Fall Workshop in Indianapolis. EUCG, a global association of utility professionals, meets semiannually to discuss issues and share best practices.

Smart Grid, Electric Utilities, utility executives, utility regulation, electric power uncertainty

“The sheer volume of regulatory rulemaking… is unprecedented in our industry,” remarked EUCG President George W. Sharp from American Electric Power. “The only certainty we have… is that our industry will be confronting large amounts of uncertainty for the foreseeable future.”
Major concerns include the Clean Air Act and its impact on coal plants as well as the Fukushima nuclear incident and its impact on nuclear regulation.

Meanwhile, Montana power companies told state regulators Tuesday that the new federal pollution rules for coal will raise rates. The Montana Public Service Commission held a “roundtable” to examine how the new rules would affect Montanans. The US Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that compliance with the new rules will cost the average electricity consumer $3 to $4 a month. But Montana-Dakota Utilities, which serves parts of eastern Montana, says the necessary upgrades to its coal-fired plants will increase rates by an average of $12 a month.

Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com. He consults to smart grid companies seeking market entry advice and M&A advisory. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the US and abroad, he also serves on the Advisory Council of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Energy & Environment directorate.