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Publishers

Independent energy information providers

Real-time news, prices
Bloomberg Energy
Bridge took over Telerate
Business Wire press releases galore (not just energy)
Dow Jones Energy
Financial Times: Energy and Utilities articles from the newspaper, surveys, charts
FT Energy newsletters, reports
Patrick Heren: newsletters
Petroleum Argus newsletters
Platts real-time, newsletters, magazines
Reuters Energy Briefing searchable archive
Telerate Energy Channel browser-based energy workstation
Slow-time:
magazines, newsletters
daily:
Electric Power Daily
European Power Daily
weekly:
Utility Week
fortnightly:
Public Utilities Fortnightly
monthly:
The Electricity Journal
Energy Power Risk Management
Hart Energy Markets
Petroleum Economist
bi-monthly:
Global Energy Business
Energy IT
Power Magazine
Electrical World T&D
quarterly:
Commodities Now
Pipeline IPE magazine
Others:
Energy Decisions articles, links, directories
Utility Business

Portals

Energy Central multi-sourced news, events, jobs
Energy Online news, events, jobs - one of the earliest sites
Electric Net products, news, articles, training
Sage Wave news, search archive
Energy News Live: Williams Energy's online venture, flashy, lots of plug-ins required
EyeForEnergy: e-enabling the energy industry with news, events, articles

Articles

Designing Markets for Electricity Steven Stoft's articles and self-acclaimed "best research links" by topic or group
Electricity Deregulation in the European Union
Energy Source Network: news, pricing, articles, all free
Harvard Electricity Policy Group many papers, Bill Hogan, FERC Order 2000, flowgate models, lots of links
Royal Institute of International Affairs: articles on energy, environment
Stanford's Energy Modeling Forum papers
University of California Energy Institute: forums, papers, links, data
US investor owned utilities (IOU) M&A
US state restructuring - articles and status the progress of retail access

Consultants

Nearly all large well-known and established consulting firms have an energy and/or utility practice. Almost all have publications available online
Andersen Consulting - Accenture (new name) has both an energy practice and a utilities practice, full-text of articles submitted/published elsewhere reappear here
Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) extracts from reports
Deloitte Consulting functional search engines to loads of papers, including The Utility Executive's Field Guide to the Future a 4-part series
Cap Gemini Ernst & Young utilities practice: articles and Power Lines newsletter
Ernst and Young has an online library of energy publications
National Economic Research Associates (NERA)
PACE Global Energy Services have newsletters, published articles, and white papers
Price Waterhouse Coopers has a utilities practice with loads of articles, such as The Pitfalls of Marketing Green Power and The e-business future in UK utilities
Scientech daily issue alerts, usually about M&A in energy industry, weekly issues watch, bi-weekly interviews
Tabors, Caramanis & Associates papers on transmission pricing

Energy Information on the Web

by Anne Ku (Dec 2000)

article in Jan/Feb 2001 issue of Global Energy Business: Is free energy information valuable --- and really free?

second version of article in 82nd issue of Freepint Internet Newsletter (fortnightly): "Electric Power Information Sources on the Web"

presented at

Modelling & Managing Competitive Electricity Markets

a four day course at London Business School 12-15 December 2000

We hungrily seek information to reduce, resolve, or remove the considerable uncertainty and controversy in energy industries, due to deregulation or business reasons. To the newcomer in energy, the amount of free information on the Internet may seem overwhelming. Yet, to the more sophisticated palette, such information may not be sufficient.

Does free information have any value? There is a perception that the more easily available and the later we come to know of its existence, the less useful (less valuable) it is to us at that point in time. Thus, we perceive an inverse relationship between value and availability of information.

Low value for FREELY and widely available, give-aways, public, known for a long time, known by a lot of people, information that does not require much processing.

High for EXPENSIVE, difficult to come by, organised, young or fresh (just released), secret, a lot of processing required (effort to get the information).

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." The value of information depends on who is using it. What one may pay for, the other may throw away. Similarly, information is provided freely for a reason.

In the beginning, people did not trust the Internet to provide reliable information. Nowadays, many reliable information providers have chosen the Internet as the fastest, most affordable way to disseminate information as widely as possible. Similarly, many decision makers, notably traders, rely on the Internet and their in-house intranets for mission-critical information. Just what energy information is on the Internet? How good are they?

What are we all looking for?

Information topics

  • deregulation, restructuring, policy, tracking the progress of, legislation
  • power trading, including online (internet, e-commerce), cross-border trading, transmission pricing
  • the value chain: energy source, production/generation, ancillary services, transmission, distribution, supply
  • risk management: consultants, software providers, trainers, articles
  • power plant: load management, load forecasting, new technologies, project finance
  • demand-side management, energy efficiency
  • environment, emissions, renewable energy, regulation
  • weather and other ancillary to power, e.g. insurance

Searching for information

Either look for it yourself or be bombarded with it. Follow the Pareto Rule: 20% of information sources provide 80% of what you need. The trick is to identify those 20%, otherwise you may spend 80% of your time getting only 20% of what you need.

Purpose of information seeking:

  • Acquaintance, learning, understanding, knowledge acquisition, verification
  • Modelling for decision making, advice, verification, prediction, etc
  • Immediate decision making: buy, sell - when, what, how much, etc.

Types of information seekers:

As information seekers, we start as Type II and graduate to either Type I or Type III.

Type I: value-focussed thinkers. "I know what I want, but I just can't find it." They do not have time to scan or window-shop. Convenience yield of research very high (having the information available when you need it.) Historical more important than real-time. Examples: researchers, consultants.

Solution: effective search engines with efficient search strategy. A clipping service or defined filter engine to deliver just the kinds of information they want. Paid subscription to historical news or price database.

Type II: alternative-driven or new to the game. "I think I know what I want, but I'm open to suggestions." They like to browse and surf. Examples: newcomers to energy, magazine editors looking for interesting things to write about.

Solution: "push media" such as newsedge, pointcast or emails delivered to the doorstep, subscriptions, and click-through links. Trial subscriptions. Publications distributed at conferences. Guru sites with links.

Type III: hybrid. "I don't know what I'm looking for, but I'll recognise it when I see it." They can't articulate exactly what they need, but they want to be reassured that they have everything they need. Real-time more important than historical. Examples: typical traders.

Solution: organised, categorised information, such as table of contents, index of links, critiqued or quality-controlled, filtered list of information. An in-house decision support system with real-time ticker feeds. Expensive subscriptions to newsletters and other publications.

Providing the information

Energy information is provided free of charge on the Internet for the following reasons:

  1. to publicise or reduce transaction cost of servicing frequently asked questions: press releases, product descriptions.
  2. to establish credibility, to sell other information products, research, or consulting services. Example: energy consultants, management consultants with energy practices.
  3. to tease or show example of, to sell other information products, trial subscriptions. Example: Independent content providers.
  4. to build traffic, to sell advertisement. Example: portals.
  5. to foster good will (but it helps the provider in the end.)

Types of information providers

Third party - i.e. independent, not involved as buyers or sellers of energy

News providers:
  • generalist such as newspapers, television, magazines but cover energy
  • specialist energy: trade journals, trade associations, energy magazines and newsletters
Data, price providers
  • prices, volume (demand/supply)
  • weather
  • nuclear outage, other power plant data
Analysis
  • energy research companies- both private and public
  • consultants: Big 6 all have energy practices, as well as energy specialists
  • universities, research institutes, think thanks
  • government sites
Aggregate providers
  • combination of the above
  • conference organisers - conference proceedings - training, seminars

Not-3rd party, i.e. participants

  • company sites: suppliers, brokers, traders, buyers
  • lobby groups, user groups, trade associations

Evaluating sources of information

The perceived value of information is related to the transaction costs of information:

Acquisition effort: how much you paid for it (if not free), how hard to find it, how long you had to wait to get it.

Shelf life: length of time still valid and usable

Frequency of release:

  • irregular, one-off, ad hoc
  • regular: real-time, daily, ., quarterly, etc.

Time and effort to digest: rate of absorption. News is easy. Academic research is not so easy. Scientific reports are hard. Government policy in legal-ease ?

Time to release: process/production time - related to frequency of release, shelf life, and time and effort to digest. Usually, the longer it takes to process, the longer the shelf life.

Other things to consider:

Relevance: the right information, in the right format, quality, level of comprehension, at the right time

Comprehensible: understandable, writing style

Comprehensiveness: complete, no loop-holes, well-referenced

Cognitive economy: limitation of the brain to remember things and deal with complexity; how to avoid information overload

Type or purpose: marketing, publicity, educational, update/informative, insightful, perception/opinions, factual

Convenience yield of research: having it there when you need it, thus no need to look for it (zero transaction cost, only cost of storage)

Reliability, credibility of source

Perception of source: independent, objective vs biased, subjective

Depth vs breadth of coverage

 

"Information is costly to produce but cheap to reproduce."
- Shapiro and Varian, Information Rules, 1999

Guru Links

Commodity Exchanges alphabetical list at the site of the quarterly magazine Commodities Now
EIA energy links by government, energy companies. associations/other
EPRI Links alphabetical logos
IAEE links consultants, universities, government, add your own link
UDI Electricity Bookmark: well-categorised links to companies
Utility Connection 4,032 electric, gas, water and wastewater utilities, utility associations, organizations, news, magazines, utility financial resources, and related state & federal regulatory and information sites.
Power Expert: online resources for the global electricity industry, conversion ratios

(Trade) Groups

British Wind Energy Association
Edison Electric Institute (US) events, sub-groups, extracts and table of contents from bi-monthly publication Electric Perspectives
Electricity Association (UK) also has a very good off-line library
Electric Power Research Institute (US) quarterly EPRI journal, events, search engine
EurElectric - Union of the Electricity Industry articles, events, links
European Federation of Energy Traders press releases, position papers
European Transmission System Operators public documents, transmission pricing
International Association for Energy Economics publishes The Energy Journal and organises several conferences a year.
International Atomic Energy Agency
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (US) research material, restructuring issues, testimonies, articles
North American Electric Reliability Council map with links to NERC regions
Power Marketers Assoc. (US)
Weather Risk Management Association (WRMA) weather derivatives, member links, weather-related news
The Utility Reform Network also known as TURN, consumer lobby group

Government

California Energy Commission educational and informative articles and policy papers
Dept of Environment, Transport, and Regions DETR (UK) greenhouse gas emissions trading consultation paper
Energy Information Administration (US) lots to learn here, articles, statistics, forecasts, country profiles, energy fuels
European Union good search engine; EU energy policy; White Paper (1995)
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (US)
Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (UK) OFGEM used to be OFFER and OFGAS
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Kyoto Protocol, COP6 Hague

Events

Adam Institute Conferences
EMART and other Synergy-events
Energy Central Events Center
ICBI Conferences annual Power Risk
IIR Conferences
IEEE Conferences
Risk Conferences

Terminology, Glossary

IOU names (US)
Energy Central Glossary
PMA power glossary download Word file

Conversion Factors

CMS Energy Conversions
Conversion Tables
Different types of converters
Energy Conversion Calculator
Energy to Work Equivalents
Energy Units Converter
Metric Conversion Table
Unit and Conversion Factors

 

 

Presentation:
powerpoint, 40 minutes, 21 pages

 

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Last updated: 1 March 2001