July 13, 2020

Annual T&T Event to Go All Virtual! Register Now!

UTC is extremely excited to announce that we will hold UTC Telecom & Technology 2020 as a virtual conference and expo. We will hold the virtual annual conference starting on Aug. 18-Sept. 4, 2020. We are taking this step as a way to ensure that as many of our members and attendees as possible can participate in our conference.

We are working with its education program sponsors and presenters to deliver live and pre-recorded content to our attendees. Offering a dual presentation delivery option allows you to enjoy the original education program subject matter and schedule while providing flexible viewing patterns.

Conference delegates will be able to engage with presenters, ask questions through virtual chats, and set up private meetings. Attendees will have access to the annual conference session gallery that includes virtual training, summits, pre-recorded sessions, and tracks. Attendees can view the pre-recorded sessions at their convenience or at a scheduled time, after which the panelists in those sessions will be available for a live Q&A.

UTC thanks all of our members, technology partners, and stakeholders who make our work possible. We are also especially grateful for the sacrifices many of you are making to keep powering our lives.

We look forward to virtually seeing everyone in August during the conference and expo.

More information is available at UTC Telecom & Technology!

Joint Use Study Now Available & FREE FOR UTC MEMBERS!

Electric utility poles are an economic superhighway. They bring electricity to nearly every home and business in the country and enable broader adoption of voice, wireless, data, and broadband services. With 5G seemingly around the corner, utility-owned distribution poles are a key asset to getting this new technology deployed.  5G will require massive amounts of small-cell equipment, and utilities already have an inventory of installed poles that are ideal for mounting that equipment.

UTC is pleased to release to its members our Joint-Use Study. Our UtiliSite Division initiated this study through a survey late in 2019 to understand what utilities are planning for and how they are managing joint use.  UTC has observed that many utilities are already receiving a high volume of pole attachment requests, and thus their responses as presented in this report represent the best thinking thus far on how to effectively manage attachment requests from third parties.  The charts presented in this report were created from the responses to our survey.

This UTC report examines joint use – attaching small cell equipment to utility distribution poles – from four perspectives:

  • Regulatory considerations
  • How utilities manage third parties that mount equipment on their poles
  • Metering the power consumption of attached small cell equipment
  • How utilities manage the assets that they own

The UTC Joint-Use Study is aimed at utilities that are preparing for or already in the midst of a surge in joint-use requests, and for other industry stakeholders that need to understand the utility mindset to be successful.  The study identifies many useful trends among utilities as they deal with joint use including safety, reliable supply of power, measuring power consumption, and preventing overloaded poles.  The goal of this report is to help readers understand the pole-attachment issues that utilities encounter and how utilities manage those issues.  The report concludes with key lessons learned that were cited by our respondents.

This report is being made available at no cost to UTC members! You can download a copy from the UTC Online Store: LINK

UTC Utility Members Appointed to Energy Department’s Advisory Group

Several UTC core utility members are among the latest slate of officials joining the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Electricity Advisory Council (EAC), a critical industry/government program the agency uses to improve its research and development portfolio and program activities.

EAC members are appointed by U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette for a two-year term.  The group reports to the DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Electricity and meets three times a year to advise DOE on a variety of electricity issues.  The thirty-five members of the EAC are from state governments, regional planning entities, utility companies, cybersecurity and national security firms, the natural gas sector, equipment manufacturers, construction and architectural companies, non-governmental organizations, and other electricity-related organizations.

“The Department’s priorities can only be achieved through coordination with passionate and dedicated outside stakeholders,” said Assistant Secretary Bruce Walker, himself a former member of the EAC appointed in 2008 by then-U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman before joining DOE to lead the Office of Electricity in October 2017.  “The EAC’s advice, insights, and thoughtful feedback all dramatically improve DOE’s electricity initiatives.  The combination of industry stakeholders plus the capabilities of DOE and the National Labs enhances our ability to identify and solve future electricity challenges.”

During their two-year term, the EAC members will advise DOE on current and future electric grid reliability, resilience, security, sector interdependence, and policy issues.  They will periodically review and make recommendations on DOE electric grid-related programs and initiatives, including electricity-related R&D programs and modeling efforts.  Members will also identify emerging issues related to electricity production and delivery and advise on Federal coordination with utility industry authorities in the event of supply disruptions and other emergencies.

The UTC member utility representatives appointed to the EAC are:

  • Tom Bialek, Chief Engineer, San Diego Gas & Electric Company
  • Laney Brown, Vice President, Retail E-Solutions, Avangrid Inc.
  • Ann Delenela, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer, Entergy
  • Sheri Givens, Vice President, U.S. Regulatory & Customer Strategy, National Grid
  • Dave Herlong, Senior Director, Central Maintenance and Construction, Florida Power & Light Company
  • Tom Weaver, Manager, Distribution System Planning, American Electric Power

UTC attends the EAC meetings, held three times annually. Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team with any questions.

DOE Releases RFI Related to May 2020 Executive Order on BPS Supply Chain

The Department of Energy last week released a Request for Information (RFI) related to the White House’s May 2020 Executive Order prohibiting energy companies from acquiring and installing Bulk-Power System (BPS) equipment from any entity deemed a threat to the U.S.

The RFI, DOE says, is designed to specifically address: (1) Evidence-based cybersecurity maturity metrics and (2) foreign ownership, control, and influence (FOCI).

Among the many questions asked in the RFI are the following:

  • Whether energy companies conduct risk assessments, including a cyber maturity model
  • Whether companies mitigate FOCI with respect to foreign adversaries, supply chain risks, and assets and services critical risk tolerance
  • What kinds of information energy companies may have on BPS electric equipment cyber vulnerabilities
  • What processes energy companies have in place to share information with utilities among these issues
  • And many more

Response are due by Aug. 7, 2020.

The May 1 Executive Order directed the Energy Department to issue new rules that would establish procurement practices and develop a list of “pre-qualified” vendors for energy companies to purchase new equipment (Industry Intelligence, May 11, 2020).

FCC Draft Order on Mapping Could Inhibit Broadband Service in Certain Areas, UTC Says

UTC is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC, the Commission) to revise its proposed Digital Opportunity Data Collection Report and Order, released last month.

The FCC says its draft order is intended to develop a process to improve its mapping of where broadband service is and is not available. In the draft, the Commission questioned whether “buffers,” a specific distance around network facilities such as the location of distribution or coaxial plant, should be established to define coverage for specific fixed technologies. In particular, the order sets a maximum of 6,600 route feet (or 2,000 route meters) from the aggregation point and a maximum drop distance of 240 feet. The Commission will use these “buffers” to determine the areas that are served by providers.

In a July 9 ex-parte filing, UTC told the agency that these buffers are not appropriate for fiber-to-the-premises networks in rural areas. Rather, UTC said it should increase these distances to 20-60 kilometers from the aggregation point, which is consistent with international standards.

“The reality is that in rural areas, many homes and businesses are located miles apart from each other, which is why fiber runs are typically longer than in suburban or urban environments,” UTC said. “Moreover, utilities are able to deliver gigabit services using fiber, and the quality of service is not limited by distance the same way that other technologies such as [hybrid-fiber coax (HFC)] or DSL are affected.”

Moreover, the draft order may allow telecommunications providers to claim certain areas are served when in fact those locations do not have broadband. The draft includes an exception that would allow these providers to claim that they are receiving universal funding support to provide broadband service in a particular area as evidence of broadband availability. However, while many of these providers are indeed receiving funding in these locations, many of these areas remain unserved.

“UTC is concerned that this exception to the maximum buffer would as a practical matter undermine the larger intent of the rule and result in large parts of the country being removed from eligibility unnecessarily,” UTC said.

Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team with any questions.

Calendar of Events

Webinars

Committee/Division calls

  • July 14: UtiliSite Committee Call–For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • July 14: Knowledge & Learning Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • July 15: IT/OT Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • July 16: Telecom Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • July 16: Public Policy Division Call—For more information, contact Rob Thormeyer
  • July 17: Security, Risk, and Compliance Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • July 21: Utilities Broadband Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne

JULY’S SPONSORSHIPS ARE NOW AVAILABLE!