7/19/18 Such is the tagline of the telecom carriers when referencing pole attachments. The rates, terms and conditions that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC, the Commission) has set for pole attachments for investor-owned electric utilities have become so skewed in favor of the attachers rather than the pole owners (now, primarily said electric utilities) that electric ratepayers are on the verge of paying all the costs of the attachments and O&M for huge, for-profit international telecom companies. Okay, but these telecom companies really want to eat the cake, too. So, now that the wireless side of these same entities are touting small cell wireless attachments for 5G, they want to bypass safety protections put in place decades ago. The electric lines are housed at the top...

7-12-18  For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you may be shocked at what I am about to say: Thank you to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC, the Commission) for moving forward on its proceeding to make more efficient use of the 4.9 GHz spectrum band. For those who may be reading this blog for the first time, the FCC is often at odds with utilities' critical communications needs, particularly related to its spectrum policy, and therefore, my views of many of the FCC’s actions are, shall we say, lacking in positive feelings. But in this instance, I am hopeful that the FCC’s Sixth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)in this proceeding could be positive for utilities. A number of years ago, the federal...

 6/27/18 My oldest daughter, Emma, is attending her first “away camp” this week. It’s going surprisingly well given the texts and pictures we’ve seen from the chaperones. I admit to having some mixed feelings – I miss Emma being home, but at the same time I am so excited for her to have this incredible experience and meet some potentially lifelong friends. Having just completed fourth grade, she is also still learning about how to treat others in a group dynamic (and how to stand up for herself when others may not be treating her well) – this camp is perfect for that type of learning given its mission and the input of older counselors to help create these foundational notions of fairness. But, I do...

Friday, June 07, 2018 I have had some “blog writer’s block” (blogger’s block?) over the last week – the first time in almost two years of writing this blog that I have had that experience. It finally hit me as to why: my kids are in the last few weeks of the school year and I have no time to think about anything – every single waking moment is filled. Why should it matter to this blog that all my free-time is filled? Because those free moments are when my mind usually “percolates” and makes connections that manifest themselves in the blog. With no time for that to happen, I have had blogger’s block. So, to clear my head (and to generate sympathy for my current scheduling...

Friday, May 18, 2018 My daughter, Charlotte, who is six years old and in kindergarten, is a confident child. However, in the few weeks leading up to UTC’s annual conference, she had a stomach bug and some ongoing stomach issues, which, I think, diminished her normal confidence and resilience while at school such that she started to have some “issues” with her classmates. While I think these issues had been there all along, my guess was that her physical discomfort left her more susceptible to the slight mean girl nature of most kindergarten girls. It came out that one of her friends was covering her ears every time Charlotte would try to talk to her. My immediate, and unstated, reaction to this was, “the little snot.” But...

Monday, April 30, 2018   According to Merriam-Webster, an oasis is “something that provides refuge, relief, or pleasant contrast.” Anyone who’s anyone knows that the tag line for this year’s UTC’s Telecom & Technology Conference in Palm Springs is “The Oasis of Utility Education and Training.” Apropos to the desert, where oases were havens from thirst and hunger, the real meaning for our attendees is to get away from your everyday work lives to learn about the latest and greatest technologies in our utility ICT world, to establish or maintain friendships in the industry and to free up your minds to think more strategically on behalf of your utilities given the ongoing change in the industry. Our goal for the conference is to make it all of these...

Friday, April 13, 2018 ALERT, ALERT, ALERT – Proceed with caution, proud Mom moment on the horizon… With that disclaimer, for those who are still reading, I’m excited to report that my daughter, Emma (10), performed this week at the Kennedy Center – yes, that Kennedy Center. Emma is part of the Children’s Chorus of Washington, a group that was invited to perform with the Albany Symphony as part of the SHIFT Festival; According to the Kennedy Center website: “SHIFT celebrates the vitality, identity, and extraordinary artistry of orchestras and chamber orchestras by creating an immersive festival experience in the nation's capital. The week-long festival is composed of mini-residencies, with each participating orchestra presenting education events, symposia, and community events in venues around Washington, D.C., along with...

Friday, March 30, 2018 In D.C., spring has finally sprung, and the sun is coming out! It seems as if in a matter of a couple of days, we have gone from snow, freezing temperatures and barren trees limbs to sun, temps in the 70s and cherry blossoms blooming with a vengeance. While weather patterns are different depending on the region of the country (or the world) you live in, most of you can probably appreciate that moment when spring is finally at hand and the sun seems to take on more “blaze.” It’s a good feeling. I like being able to put away my winter coats (that are, at this point, desperately in need of another dry cleaning), pull out my trench coats, and start...

Thursday, March 15, 2018 This week, I participated on a panel at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) here in D.C., where the focus was on the “Industrial Internet of Things.”  The panel was moderated by the BPC’s Jake Varn and included Scott Bogren, Executive Director of the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) and Adria Finch, Director of Innovation with the City of Syracuse, NY. For those of you who have read my blog before, you’ve likely realized that I’m concerned about how language is often misused or overused to the point that complicated subjects that need to be understood actually become less so.  Such is the case with the term “Internet of Things” (IoT for short).  In order to help clarify what that means, I found...

Friday, March 02, 2018 On a day like today when the wind is blowing with gusts up to 70 mph, and the power is impacted, it’s a good reminder that utilities need partners all the time. Mutual aid agreements exist among electric utilities so that neighboring utilities (and even utilities from across the country if the need is great enough) can quickly send crews to help restore power when one of their brethren need help and vice versa. This mutual aid culture is so fundamental that utilities which might vehemently oppose each other in certain arenas will literally drop everything to help each other in emergencies. I love this about utilities because it is an example of how relationships should work. Disagreements can exist, but when...

Monday, February 12, 2018 From President Trump’s State of the Union Speech on January 30, 2018:   …As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year -- is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road? I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve. Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need. Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State...

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 My family and I took a belated holiday vacation this past week to Disney World. We’ve been before so knew what to expect: 1) our girls being over-the-top excited; 2) my husband and I being over-the-top excited about seeing our girls excited (and, yes, revisiting our childhoods a bit); 3) eating too many Disney French fries (they make really good fries there, seriously); 4) walking ungodly amounts of steps and, as a result, being exhausted every night and sleeping like the dead; 5) being amazed at the incredible customer service at Disney and starting to take it for granted by the end until being rudely awakened once we step back into the “real world.” This is the second time we’ve gone with family...

Thursday, January 04, 2018 Okay, well, remember I live in the D.C.-metropolitan area, not Minnesota like our esteemed Chairwoman Kathy Nelson, and we are experiencing some icy temps here as well as excessive wind, but the snow is to a minimum. So it might be blizzard with a lower-case “b.” Nonetheless, it is cold. And, to add to the cold weather, I also have a cold. Not the most inspiring way to start the new year, but…that sounds real whiny and not how I typically approach things…so, I will move on to warmer thoughts… [caption id="attachment_15813086" align="alignleft" width="300"] Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel[/caption] Palm Springs for Telecom & Technology 2018! Can’t get warmer than that! We have already booked Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Commissioner Neil Chatterjee to be one of our...

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Since the beginning of December, UTC has been in full-blown end-of-the-year planning and preparation mode. We held a Board of Directors call last week in which our budget for calendar-year 2018 was approved, and a good deal of additional business was done, including approval of our new policy resolutions process that will be rolled out early in the year and will help us to discuss and approve UTC’s federal policies positions in a transparent and inclusive way. I’ve mentioned this process before – we began to develop it under the strategic membership plan passed by the Board this time last year. The Board last week also approved the inclusion of the UTC Foundation Board Chair as a non-voting, ex-officio member of the UTC Board, reviewed...

It is two days after Thanksgiving, and before I turn my attention completely to the Christmas season, I want to express my gratitude: -For my God -For my husband, Alan Hill, for exactly 11 years of marriage (yes, it is our anniversary today) and for being an amazing partner and father to our two girls -For my two girls, Emma and Charlotte -For my incredible family – my mom, my step-dad, my brother, my in-laws and step-siblings and step-in laws, my aunt and cousins -For my amazing friends, especially those who make me laugh the most (you know who you are) -For my neighbors in Arlington, VA -For my dogs, Taylor and Lily (and for dogs in general) -For my horse, Ginny (and for horses, in general – the closest thing to fairy...