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Seth Skydel

Meeting Utility Fleets’ Mobile Demands

Meeting Utility Fleets’ Mobile Demands

It’s hard to imagine a more demanding job site than a battlefield. Beyond combat environments, however, utility operations often top the list when it comes to putting demands on crews and vehicles.

One brand of vehicle that both military and utility personnel may find extremely useful in the field is the Jeep, which – according to the company’s slogan – can “go anywhere” and “do anything.” Since the early 1940s when the first Willys models were commissioned by the U.S. military, Jeep’s product line has grown significantly. For 2017, the company will offer several versions of the Compass, Patriot, Cherokee, Wrangler and Renegade models.

For utilities, Jeeps offer an array of options, including off-road capabilities that can bring crews, tools and equipment to nearly any location. Modern Jeep models also feature advanced technologies that allow them to serve as mobile offices in utilities’ increasingly data-driven and interconnected work environment.

The Uconnect phone, for example, is a hands-free voice-recognition communication system that links a Bluetooth wireless phone to a Jeep's audio system. This system delivers a variety of solutions for business use, including GPS navigation with spoken street names as well as real-time geographical and traffic information.

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Electric Vehicle News

EEI-WebSupport Grows for EEI White Paper on Utility Fleets and Electrification
As part of an effort to advance sustainability through fleet adoption of electric vehicles, the Edison Electric Institute has released a white paper, “Transportation Electrification: Utility Fleets Leading the Charge,” that focuses on the electric power industry’s effort to accelerate the expansion of electric transportation in commercial and retail markets, beginning with electric utility fleets.

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Reducing Costs

Hawaii-Electric-1-WebWhile independent electric grids power each of the Hawaiian Islands, servicing all of those grids is the responsibility of the Hawaiian Electric Co., which serves 95 percent of the state’s 1.4 million residents. Hawaiian Electric’s subsidiary Hawai‘i Electric Light serves more than 80,000 customers on Hawai‘i Island, the chain’s biggest island at more than 4,000 square miles.

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Getting Involved

Regulatory issues continue to dominate legislative agendas. In his annual regulatory and legislative update during this year’s Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference, Pat O’Connor, legislative counsel for the NAFA Fleet Management Association, covered a range of topics for fleet executives to consider.

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Green News

ACT-Expo-3-WebACT Expo Highlights
Nearly 200 alternative fuel and clean transportation industry leaders were on hand at the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo in May to present information on key advancements in alternative fuels and clean vehicles, including electric, hybrid, hydrogen, natural gas, propane autogas, clean diesel and renewable fuels technologies.

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Effectively Meeting Needs

NVEnergy5-Web“NV Energy is unlike many other utilities our size because we have two metropolitan areas in Reno and Las Vegas, and the rest of the service territory is spread out across nearly 60,000 square miles,” said Joe Pellissier, the company’s process improvement manager. “The terrain ranges from lower desert areas to the alpine forest of Lake Tahoe, with temperatures from over 110 degrees in the summer in Las Vegas to below zero in many areas in northern Nevada.”

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Moving the Needle

Wherever we turn these days, it seems that CNG is one topic on everyone’s mind. At the 2014 Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference held in June, for example, CNG was the subject of the first technical session, including a report by Nina Kisch, manager, fleet administration, transportation services at PG&E. Among the more than 3,300 on-road alternative-fueled and high-efficiency vehicles in the PG&E fleet, she reported, there are more than 720 natural gas units.

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Green Truck Summit

Isuzu-Green-Truck-Summit-WebThe Green Truck Summit, held in conjunction with The Work Truck Show 2014, provided an opportunity for more than 550 attendees to gather information about innovative clean vehicle technologies, alternative fuel trends and upcoming products. Produced by the NTEA and presented by International Truck, the 2014 Green Truck Summit was opened with a keynote address by Patrick Davis, director, Office of Vehicle Technologies, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy.

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Driving Fleet Value and Performance

EUFMC-6-Web“The Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference is an unparalleled opportunity for fleet professionals,” said Gerald Owens, fleet manager at Oncor Electric Delivery and EUFMC president. “EUFMC offers educational sessions on management topics by industry experts, manufacturers and fleets, and roundtables where fleet managers share best practices and work with suppliers and service providers to address challenges. This conference is a unique forum where fleet managers can exchange ideas and network with suppliers who showcase new technologies and are prepared to discuss technical and operational issues.”

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Worthwhile Investment

CLP1-Web“Like many utility fleets, we have gone down the rebuilding path before and then moved away from it,” said Al Mascaro, fleet manager at Connecticut Light & Power Co. “Today, however, several key factors caused us to rethink our aerial replacement practices.

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Growing Support

In his State of the Union address delivered earlier this year, President Obama, speaking about the important role natural gas has played in his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, urged Congress to support construction of natural gas fueling stations. NGVAmerica, an organization that represents more than 200 companies, environmental groups, and government organizations interested in the use of natural gas and biomethane as transportation fuels, was quick to applaud his remarks.

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Green News

Chevy-Impala1-WebEPA 2014 Renewable Fuel Standards Proposal Reaffirms Commitment to Biofuels
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the levels of renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline and diesel. The proposal for annual volume requirements, developed with input from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture, is required under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 for all motor vehicle gasoline and diesel produced or imported in 2014.

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Road Map

DC-Water3-WebFor the fleet management team at the District of Columbia Water & Sewer Authority, the goal is clear. “We are in a position of public trust,” said Tim Fitzgerald, fleet director at DC Water – Department of Fleet Management. “We are also a revenue-generating utility. While our management gives us the freedom to do a lot of innovative things, we are held to high standards internally and by our customers. In the end, we have to be able to measure and prove the success of our efforts.”

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How to Measure Performance

Informed, effective decisions are rooted in accurate data. That was precisely the goal behind a survey on Key Process Indicators (KPIs) conducted by the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference. At its 2013 gathering, EUFMC presented results of that survey, which was completed by more than 100 utility companies. The findings provide a helpful list of valuable KPIs:

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Green News

Green-Fleets-ePTO-Odyne-WebCALSTART and its industry partners have helped pass legislation in California aimed at enhancing short- and long-term funding for clean trucks, buses and cars. These measures that are expected to have a nationwide impact include:
• Assembly Bill (AB) 8 that will extend and expand funding for advanced vehicle and fuel demonstrations and deployments through 2023, for a total of more than $2 billion. The funds will continue and enhance funding of the current AB 118 program demonstration and incentive projects, including the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP).
• Senate bills 95 and 359, which fill a funding gap in the HVIP voucher program for hybrid and electric trucks and buses, and rebates for clean passenger cars for 2014.
Visit www.calstart.org.

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Changing Attitudes

Duke4-WebIt turns out that “Getting to the Next Level of Safety Performance,” Bob McCall’s presentation at the 2013 Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC), was just the high-level view. On the ground at Duke Energy, where McCall serves as general manager of fleet services, a team of fleet management professionals is putting in place a series of initiatives aimed at posting a record of zero incidents, injuries and accidents.

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Are We Done With Diesel?

Green Gas Nozzle 300pxConsidering all the activity surrounding alternative fuel vehicles and equipment, from natural gas to hybrids to all-electric models, it’s hard not to wonder if diesel fuel might someday become a thing of the past. Those thoughts were easily erased, however, if you attended the 2013 Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Washington, D.C., where new technology diesel advancements for trucks and passenger vehicles were showcased by the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF).

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Green News

PGE3-WebBills Aim to Equalize LNG Fuel Tax
The LNG Excise Tax Equalization Act of 2013 introduced in the U.S. Senate seeks to equitably tax liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transportation fuel. Similar legislation has also been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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New Model

Seattle1-WebDave Seavey, fleet management director with the City of Seattle’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services, Fleet Management Division (FMD), sums up his organization this way: “The Fleet Management Division is 126 people helping 10,000 employees acquire and maintain the right vehicles and equipment to effectively do their jobs.”

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Record Pace

At press time, ICUEE 2013 is on track to set new records. Strong exhibitor demand is pushing exhibit space to capacity, attendee registrations continue to outpace the last two shows and a new education program lineup is attracting near-record sales.

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