FERC Natural Gas 101 February 22-23 Houston, TX

Electric Utilities 101

October 15-16, 2019 | Atlanta, GA

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The seminar discusses basic concepts ranging from “what is electricity?” to the functions of the major components in electric power systems. The attendees will learn how generation, substations, transmission and distribution function together to provide a reliable energy supply chain. The seminar identifies opportunities, challenges and uncertainties facing the electric utility industry resulting from a paradigm shift driven by customers, technology, legislation and regulation.

The course will provide the participants with useful reference materials which will assist them as they work with and in the electric utility industry.



8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. :: Course Timing

Learning Objectives and Goals of the Course

History of the U.S. Electricity Industry

  • How the industry began and its early years.
  • AC vs. DC. Edison and Tesla and “The Battle of the Currents.”
  • Groups that shaped the industry
  • The evolution of state and federal regulation
  • Types of electric companies; IOUs, cooperatives, public power and government utilities
  • Service areas and retail competition
  • Open access, FERC Orders 888 & 889, PURPA and EPAC
  • Wholesale markets evolution with RTOs & ISOs
  • The electric utility historical vertically integrated business model
  • The risks of a capital-intensive industry

Electricity and Power – An Overview

  • Voltage, current and resistance (impedance)
  • Power and its relationship to voltage, current and resistance (impedance)
  • Electricity measures; kWh, KW, MW, kVA, VARS
  • Load factor and why it’s important
  • The concept of load diversity
  • Real and reactive power and power factor
  • Leading and lagging power in non-technical terms
  • The role of capacitor banks in correcting power factor
  • Single phase and three phase power. How are they produced and used?
  • System losses, their cause and mitigation
  • KPI – reliability indices – SAIDI, SAIFI, CAIDI, etc.

Generation or Power Plants – The First Link in the Power Supply Chain

  • Coal, nuclear, natural gas-fired, hydro, wind and solar, batteries and distributed energy resources
  • Basic components of generation and how the different components function in the first step of the energy supply chain
  • Energy generation by fuel type and how it is evolving due to technology and legislation
  • Factors impacting generation fuel diversity
  • Energy, capital and O&M costs by type of generation
  • Base, peak, intermediate generation and the concept of economic dispatch
  • Voltage & frequency and generation’s role in regional reliability

Substations – Nodes in the Power System

  • The role of substations in a reliable electric grid
  • How substations link the generator to the transmission and distribution system
  • Types of substations; step up and step down
  • Major substation components and their function
  • SCADA systems and the role of substations in controlling power flow across the supply chain

Transmission Lines – The Bulk Power Movers in the Power System

  • The role of transmission lines in a reliable electric grid
  • The need for high voltage transmission lines
  • System loss reduction due to transmission lines and power flow across the supply chain
  • How transmission lines link substations
  • Types of transmission lines
  • Voltages and design
  • AC vs. DC transmission lines and their pros & cons
  • First contingency planning and the evolution of the transmission system
  • Major transmission components and their function


8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Course Timing

Distribution System – The Link to the Customer

  • The role of the distribution system in the supply chain
  • The primary and secondary distribution lines
  • Major distribution system components and their function
  • How the distribution lines connect to the customer
  • System loss at the distribution level
  • Power factor correction on the distribution system
  • Types of distribution lines
  • Voltages and overhead/underground design

System Problems – New challenges

  • Operating in a difficult environment
  • Power quality
  • Different types of loads which are computer managed
  • Regional blackouts 8/14/2003 and 9/8/2011 and their aftermath

The Future Utility and the Paradigm Shift

  • The evolution of the historical utility business model
  • Strategic technologies are changing the marketplace
  • Customer self-generation with solar and batteries and their role in the paradigm shift
  • Stagnant energy growth and electricity use
  • Renewable and energy portfolio standards
  • Energy efficiency and demand response’s role in the new utility marketplace
  • The need for non-traditional electric rates and the leading players in the rate evolution
  • Customer’s changing needs, wants, expectations and demographics and how utilities must adapt
  • Residential, commercial, and industrial load profiles and demand drivers

Course Recap and Other Topics of Interest from the Participants