Washington, D.C.─  The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) announced that the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) has joined UTC as an independent operating unit, chaired by Mike Keyser, chief executive officer of BARC Electric Corporation in Millboro, Va.  The Council also announced that Bob Hance, chief executive officer of Midwest Energy Cooperative in Cassopolis, Mich., will join UTC’s Board of Directors to Chair the Rural Issues Committee. UTC President and CEO, Connie Durcsak stated, “RBI is a visionary group of rural electric co-operatives who are responding to their member customers’ appeals for access to broadband.  Not only will their customers reap the obvious benefits afforded by ready access to high-speed Internet services in the areas of commerce, education, and healthcare, but also as the utilities themselves leverage these...

Washington, DC—The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) filed comments at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging the FCC to support the continued use of Telex headsets in nuclear energy facilities. In the comments, NEI and UTC explained that the important public interest benefits they provide to worker and operational safety, coupled with the demonstrated record of non-interference from the operation of these headsets, support a permanent codification in the Part 15 rules to allow for 100 milliwatt output power and relief from the TV transmitter distance separation limits that apply to wireless microphones in general.  In addition, NEI and UTC urged the FCC permit such operations to be licensed under Part 74 of its rules.  This would ensure the reliable and...

Washington, DC—The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) welcomes Nadya Bartol, global expert on cybersecurity, as Senior Cybersecurity Strategist.  Bartol will lead UTC’s efforts in delivering a balanced, risk management approach for addressing evolving cybersecurity policy and threat environments. Bartol joins UTC’s leadership team with over 17 years of cybersecurity experience with a premier global consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, where she focused on implementing cybersecurity programs across the federal government and with commercial clients.  She is a globally known expert in cybersecurity measurement, cyber supply chain risk management, continuous monitoring, and cybersecurity standards. “Nadya’s vast experience and knowledge will provide UTC members, and the industry, with crucial leadership on this increasingly complex issue,” said Connie Durcsak, President and CEO of UTC.  “Her practical experience in engaging federal and...

Washington, DC—The Utilities Telecom Council’s (UTC) Smart Networks Council (SNC) has added 13 new industry leaders to its 2012-2013 Board.  The SNC is an independent operating unit dedicated towards connecting utilities and vendor partners to framing a vision and plan for the modern networked grid.  The incoming Chairman for the 2012-2013 year is Doug McGinnis, Senior Manager of Network Services for Exelon. The newly-elected officers are:  Ron Bilodeau of NV Energy; Dan Belmont of West Monroe Partners; Andres Carvallo of Proximetry; John Chowdhury of Fujitsu; Paul Fetherland of Hawaiian Electric Company;  Karlton Fredebeil of Tennessee Valley Authority, Bruce Le of Southern California Edison; Michael Masa of CLECO; Matt Schnell of Nebraska Public Power District; Mike Robinson of CISCO; Michael Loiacono of Siemens; Mark Madden of...

Washington, DC—By proposing to expand eligibility in the 4.9 GHz band to include utilities and other critical infrastructure industries (CII) on a primary basis, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took a significant step today towards helping utilities and other CII meet their increasing communications needs for smart grid and emergency response.  The 4.9 GHz band would provide utilities with access to 50 MHz of spectrum that can support high capacity and short range communications for a variety of applications including substation monitoring and backhaul of advanced metering data.  In addition, the decision may open further opportunities to use the spectrum for interoperability among utilities and public safety during and after emergencies such as hurricanes and ice storms.  “UTC appreciates the efforts of the FCC to provide...

Orlando, FL— The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) honored both Orion and Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) as the winners of the UTC Apex Award for 2012 during its annual conference.  This prestigious award recognizes utilities that employed communications networks to benefit the communities they serve. “UTC is proud to announce this year’s winners which include both a national and international winner.  These companies are shining examples of network sharing with public safety and of resilience on hardened networks,” said Connie Durcsak, UTC President and CEO. Orion, the leading electricity provider in New Zealand, won based on the resilience of its private network after a 6.3 magnitude earthquake impacted New Zealand.  Specifically, their hardened UHF IP radios survived the natural disaster allowing personnel to start energy restoration...

Orlando, FL— The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) presented the Dondanville Award to Ed Ingersoll who retired from Gainesville Regional Utilities in Gainesville, FL and the Meehan Award to Doug McGinnis from PECO in Philadelphia, PA.  The Dondanville and Meehan Awards are UTC’s distinguished service awards in which individuals are selected by their peers in the utility industry. The Dondanville Award is named after UTC's first president, Russell V. Dondanville.  This award recognizes an individual's service and dedication to the industry and UTC.  Prior to retiring from Gainesville Regional Utility at the end of 2011, Ingersoll served in various prominent leadership positions which helped promote UTC in the utility industry.  These roles included Chairman of the Research Committee, Chair of UTC Region 3 and serving on the...

Orlando, FL— Membership elected new officers at UTC TELECOM 2012 during Utilities Telecom Council’s (UTC) Annual Membership Meeting which convened during May 20-23, in Orlando, FL. The following members were elected to serve as UTC Board of Directors officers for the term 2012-2013.  Chairman Thomas D. Perry (current vice-chairman) from Santee Cooper in Moncks Corner, SC; Vice-Chairman Mike Lowe from Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation in Lenoir, NC; and Secretary-Treasurer re-elect Jason Griffith from American Electric Power Company, Inc. in Columbus, OH. Utility telecommunications is integral to reliable and secure utility services. UTC is the premier trade association navigating the convergence of telecommunications, operations and information technology to identify, innovate and enable mission critical solutions for essential utility services.  Since 1948, UTC has served as the source...

WASHINGTON DC—Donald Vasek, UTC’s Directors of Spectrum Services, was elected Vice President of the Land Mobile Communications Council’s Board of Directors (LMCC) at the LMCC’s Annual Meeting held on April 18th. Vasek previously also served on the LMCC Board as a Director-at-Large from 2010 to 2011 as well as Secretary/Treasurer from 2001 -2010. “UTC is pleased to serve in a leadership role on the LMCC Board of Directors. The private land mobile industry faces many challenges in the coming year as we count down to the narrowbanding deadline, work to create new opportunities for trunking and tackle the upcoming changes in the shared TV band.  I look forward to working with my LMCC colleagues to meet these challenges head on.” Additionally, the LMCC formed a TV-band task...

(Washington, DC)  Satellite technology is a growing component of utility telecommunications, with the majority of utilities using satellite communications, according to a study conducted by the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC).  The study, Strategic Assessment of Satellite Usage in the Utility Industry, is an in-depth analysis of how utilities use a wide-range of public and private communications technologies and how satellite fits into the complex array of communications solutions utilities use to run the energy grid and other critical infrastructure industries. Based on focus group research with top technologists and industry-wide survey research, the study found that the greatest benefit to utilities from satellite technology is that it enables ubiquitous network connectivity across the utility’s service areas.  According to the research, satellite’s portability—its ability to bring communications...

Washington, DC—The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) supports the Green Button Initiative, which several utilities have joined and are publicly supporting today at the White House.  The industry-led Green Button Initiative enables utility customers to securely download their own energy usage information in a consumer-and computer-friendly format.  “The Green Button Initiative will help consumers monitor and manage their energy consumption.  We believe that engaging consumers as a crucial stakeholder in the process will help us achieve national energy policy goals, deliver important societal benefits and realize important advancements in the utility value chain,” said Connie Durcsak, President and CEO, UTC. UTC supports efforts made towards interoperability standards in the electric industry, especially those in line with investments in smart networks.   The Green Button tool will provide information to...

Washington, DC—Utilities and other critical infrastructure took a further step toward gaining shared access to 700 MHz public safety broadband spectrum.  Congress has reportedly agreed to include spectrum provisions within the conference report on the payroll tax, unemployment benefits and Medicare reimbursement, and those spectrum provisions would allow public safety to share access to the 700 MHz public safety broadband network under covered lease agreements that permit non-public safety users access to network capacity on a secondary basis for non-public safety services.  The conference report is expected to be passed by Congress this week and signed by President Obama. Connie Durcsak, President and CEO of the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC), stated that “UTC is pleased that Congress has included provisions that clear the way for public...

Washington, DC—Hours ago, Congress approved the payroll tax conference report.  By a vote of 293-132 in the House and 60-36 in the Senate, the bill will now be sent to President Obama for his signature. Utilities and other critical infrastructure communications (CII) will now be able to access the 700 MHz public safety broadband network (PSBN) and infrastructure under leasing provisions in the bill.  This will help utilities and CII alleviate the problems that they have been facing in terms of meeting increasing demands for higher bandwidth applications and coverage into remote areas that are not currently served by commercial service providers.  It finally resolves the issue presently before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC):  whether the public safety 700 MHz spectrum could be shared by those...

Washington, DC—Utilities Telecom Council’s (UTC) Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and General Counsel, Mike Oldak is part of an esteemed panel of telecommunication professionals.  The panel will focus on National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) consideration of extending outage reporting to VoIP and Broadband Providers.  Oldak represents critical infrastructure industries (CII) who support reporting requirements that allow CII to determine if VoIP and Broadband providers can meet the necessary reliability requirements of CII. “Utilities need reliable communications to support the safe, secure and efficient delivery of essential services to the public at large. UTC agrees with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and commenters on the record that adopting rules that extend the Part 4 network outage reporting requirements to apply to broadband and interconnected VoIP should...

Washington, DC─ For 16 years, Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) has selected Reno, Nevada for its Utility Telecom Forum.  This year, over 200 Utility Telecom professionals from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming are invited to attend the 2012 Utility Telecom Forum on February 6-8, 2012 in Reno, Nevada.  “We enjoy Reno because once the technical meetings have adjourned for the day, there is plenty of entertainment and food options for our attendees to enjoy,” said Karnel Thomas, Vice President - Member & Industry Services. This year’s Forum provides a platform for leaders in the critical infrastructure communications industry to collaborate, interact and learn from their peers about the newest technologies, innovative case studies and the latest industry ideas...