Changing Utility Landscape/Distributed Generation

AAE 773 Discussion Guide: Changing Utility Landscape/ Distributed
Due: Monday, November 9th by 10pm (submit via email)
Assigned Readings:
Kind, P. (2013). Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses
to a Changing Retail Electric Business. Prepared for Edison Electric Institute.
Graffy, E., & Kihm, S. (2014). Does Disruptive Competition Mean a Death Spiral for
Electric Utilities? Energy Law Journal, 35(1).
Jacobson, B. (2014, July 11). UPDATE: Iowa Supreme Court rules in favor of Eagle
Point Solar. Telegraph Herald.
Lacey, S. (2015, September 30). Utilities Taking a More Proactive Approach to
Community Solar. Greentech Media.
Pyper, J. (2015, October 9). How Georgia Power’s Solar Service Could Foster a New
Utility Business Model. Greentech Media.
Borenstein, S. (2014, November 3). What’s so Great about Fixed Charges? Energy
Institute at Haas blog.
Discussion Questions:
1. Does it make sense for utilities to maintain their monopoly status in the 21st century?
Why or why not?
2. Why are renewable energy technologies gaining in popularity and installations now,
instead of 10 years earlier/later?
3. What do you think the electricity generation system will look like in 15 years? Pick a
country or region you are familiar with or interested in. What major hurdles must be
overcome to achieve this scenario?
4. List several benefits and challenges to the monthly customer service charge and other
“immediate actions” proposed by Kind (p. 18).
5. In their discussion of value creation, Graffy & Kihm mention examples of iTunes/music
industry, Kodak/film industry, US Postal Service/digital communications, and
AT&T/telephone industry. Brainstorm some ideas for electric utility value creation for
their customers (residential or commercial/industrial).
6. Both Kind and Graffy/Kihm similarly characterize the changes in the energy industry and
threats to utilities, but their recommendations to utilities differ greatly. Which article do
you agree with? Why?
7. Borenstein lists three reasons to re-think fixed charges. Are they reasonable? Why or why
8. Do you have any questions about the readings or the topic? What concepts are unclear?
What concepts would you like to discuss further?
9. List one question for the seminar speaker.