Council Work Session Explores Utility 2.0
The Montgomery County Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T and E) Committee at 2 p.m. will hold a worksession with national leaders at 2 p.m. on Oct. 25 to discuss the possibility of establishing a pilot program in the County that could serve as a national model for how an electric utility should serve customers in the 21st Century.
The discussion of “Utility 2.0” follows the recommendation of the Governor’s Reliability Task Force to entertain such a “pilot,” a concept that Council President Roger Berliner advanced in his testimony before the Task Force and with the Governor personally.
The T and E Committee, which is chaired by Council President Berliner and includes Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Hans Riemer, will meet in Third Floor Council l Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be available via streaming through the County Web site atwww.montgomerycountymd.gov.
Utility 2.0 describes generally the need to transform the technology, customer interaction and the regulation of our electric utilities. The Galvin Electricity Initiative, founded by the former CEO of Motorola, advocates for “an electric revolution” to produce “perfect power”—reliable, efficient and clean electricity service. Using “micro-grids,” perfect power integrates the essential smart grid components—distributed generation, real-time pricing, smart technology, smart appliances, renewable energy, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and more.
“Our goal should be to position Montgomery County as a national pilot for a program that demonstrates what the utility of the future should look like—as recommended by the Governor’s Task Force,” said Council President Berliner. “There is no community that is more deserving of showcasing what a 21st Century utility can and should provide: greater reliability, cleaner energy, more efficient energy, and more consumer control. And the reality is that to bring this about does not require great changes in technology—it is the regulatory and institutional issues that pose the greatest challenge.”
Council President Berliner said that Utility 2.0 is not a program to replace Pepco. He said the new plan would require collaboration with Pepco and said it is essential that Pepco cooperate in establishment of the pilot program.
“Utility 2.0 is not about replacing Pepco—it is about working with Pepco and our regulators to help usher in a new and better form of utility service,” said Council President Berliner. “If we do this right, we could stimulate hundreds of millions of dollars of private investments in cutting edge green technology here in Montgomery County, save our residents money and reduce the day to day anxiety about whether our power will be on.”
The briefing will be given by the Executive Director of the Energy Future Coalition; the President and COO of the Galvin Electricity Initiative; and the former Chairman of the Colorado Public Service Commission.