Unleashing latent value in distribution utility businesses
Wired Group President Paul Alvarez is a thought leader in distribution utility business performance, regulation, and compensation. He is available for interviews on these and related subjects:
ABOUT THE WIRED GROUP
The Wired Group is a boutique consultancy with unique experience in the distribution utility industry, having completed two of only three objective, independent evaluations of large smart grid deployments ever conducted. (The third was conducted by the California Office of Ratepayer Advocates, whose evaluation of Southern California Edison's smart meter deployment delivered findings consistent with Wired Group research.) These evaluations indicate that large cost overruns are commonplace in grid modernization efforts, and that customers almost always pay for them. But perhaps more importantly, the evaluations found that utilities do not deliver the benefits promised and available from smart grid investments. The Wired Group has found these deficiencies stem from ratemaking methods which place utility incentives at odds with customer and community needs, as well as a complete lack of performance measurement. These contrarian perspectives are not popular with utilities, utility suppliers, state regulators, or even state and federal governments interested in creating jobs through "infrastructure investment". These governments often fail to realize that high electric rates harm economic development and the prospects of all businesses other than utilities.
The Wired Group was formed in 2012 to satisfy an unmet need among consumer and environmental advocates. These groups lacked the technical and operational experience needed to question the investments utilities were making in grid capabilities and the benefits customers were receiving from such investments. The disciplines represented on the Wired Group team -- including economics, electrical engineering, cost accounting, marketing, product development, and financial analysis -- are ideally suited to help consumer and environmental advocates fight ineffective utility spending and execution stemming from a variety of technical, regulatory, and market issues. The critical, and often limiting, role electric distribution grids and businesses play in the economic and environmental sustainability of the communities they serve is becoming more apparent, and the Wired Group provides much-needed perspective, expertise, and solutions. In 2016 the Wired Group released the Utility Evaluator, a distribution utility performance benchmarking tool designed to hold utilities accountable for value creation; in 2017 the Wired Group issued the first-ever ranking of US investor-owned utilities by customer value delivered. For more information visit www.utilityevaluator.com.
ABOUT PAUL ALVAREZ
Wired Group President Paul Alvarez has been active in the distribution utility industry for almost two decades, working for both utilities and stakeholders. He has testified before regulatory commissions in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Ohio regarding smart grid, distributed energy, and utility performance and compensation issues. He has made multiple presentations to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates. He is also the author of Smart Grid Hype and Reality, a book critical of utility compensation models and the lack of value delivered by smart grid deployments. His views have been captured in many industry publications and websites, from Public Utilities Fortnightly to Smart Grid Today. Mr. Alvarez is an adjunct professor for the University of Colorado's Global Energy Management Program and Michigan State University's Institute for Public Utilities, where he covers topics ranging from renewable energy commercialization, the smart grid, and distributed energy resources to utility performance measurement and compensation. He holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Indiana University and a Master's degree in Management from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.
No speaking engagements are currently scheduled for Wired Group principals or associates. Mr. Alvarez will be available in the following cities in the event you would like to schedule a one-on-one interview. He is also available by phone at 720-308-2407.
New Orleans, April 19-21 — Attending a Consumer Advocates Conference; Society of Utility Regulatory Financial Analysts
New York City, May 2-4 — Attending a client strategy session with the Environmental Defense Fund
Louisville, May 8-11 — Testifying In Frankfort in hearings on behalf of consumer advocates at Kentucky Public Service Commission
Boston, May 16-17/May 22-25 — Testifying in hearings on behalf of consumer advocates at the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities