Electric Utilities 101

Electric Utilities 101

June 2-3, 2021 | Online :: Central Time

“Wallace was fantastic. His accumulated knowledge of the industry over his career is so valuable. He was engaging, addressed all of our questions, and a genuinely great instructor. With online learning, it can be really, really dry, especially on technical subjects. He kept everyone’s attention and kept everyone involved. Bravo.” –Account Manager, Cisco Systems

“The course delivered exactly what the syllabus identified. Very refreshing to attend a course that delivers what is promised.” Senior Account Rep., APS 

This seminar is targeted toward increasing the knowledge of non-technical staff who work or have an interest in the electric utility industry. Participants who are not familiar with utilities and electric power systems can significantly benefit from attending. Since this is a basic seminar, a prior background in electric utility systems or engineering is not expected or required. 

The seminar discusses basic concepts ranging from “what is electricity?” to the functions of the major components in electric power systems. The attendee will learn how generation, substations, transmission and distribution function together to provide a reliable energy supply chain. The seminar identifies opportunities, challenges and uncertainties facing the electric utility industry resulting from a paradigm shift driven by customers, technology, legislation, and regulation.  

Unlike many courses, this course will provide the participants with useful reference materials which will assist them as they work with and in the electric utility industry. 

The seminar is presented in a professional manner which is not stressful. No one will be called on to participate; however, it is delivered in a way which encourages questions and interactive discussions between the attendees and the instructor on the issues they are facing and the things they want to learn. It is not death by PowerPoint. The participants will have a fun and rewarding learning experience. 

The following topics will be included from a non-technical perspective: 

  • A history and background of the electric industry
  • The major non-utility players in the industry
  • Types of electric companies; IOUs, cooperatives, public power, and government utilities
  • What is electricity and its voltage, current, and resistive components?
  • What is power and how does it relate to voltage, current, and resistance?
  • Real and reactive power and their role in the electrical system
  • Power factor and load factor
  • What is single phase and three phase power? How are they produced and used?
  • Types and reasons for diverse forms of generation; Traditional and renewable
  • Distributed energy resources (DER); Solar, batteries, and customer self-generation
  • Energy efficiency and demand response’s role in the new utility marketplace
  • The role of substations in a reliable electric grid 
  • The types and functions of transmission lines in the energy supply chain
  • Major components in the distribution systems and how they contribute to a reliable system
  • The key performance indicators used in monitoring reliability
  • The Paradigm shift occurring in the industry and its marketplace from vertically integrated to distributed energy resources
  • The need for non-traditional rate structures; the evolution in rates such as the REV in NY
  • Strategic technologies and their impact on both the utilities and its customers; Smart Grids
  • Changing customer’s needs, wants, expectations, and demographics and how utilities must adapt.

Learning Outcomes

  • Review the utility industry and its concepts and hardware used in electric power supply chain
  • Discuss the history of the industry and how it continues to evolve
  • Identify the non-utility players who shape the industry
  • Explain the types of electricity generation and the reasons for their use in the electric system
  • Examine the components and functions of substation, transmission, and distribution systems
  • Analyze the paradigm shift occurring in the industry and its impact on the electric utilities and their customers
  • Identify opportunities and challenges in the utility marketplace of the future


Wednesday, June 2, 2021 – Central time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Course Timing

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch Break

Introduction of Instructor and Attendees

  • Company, where it is located, attendee responsibilities and how long in the industry

Learning Objectives and Goals of the Course

History of the U.S. Electricity Industry

  • How the industry began and its early years.
  • AC vs. DC. Edison and Tesla and “The Battle of the Currents.”
  • Groups that shaped the industry.
  • The evolution of state and federal regulation
  • Types of electric companies; IOUs, cooperatives, public power and government utilities.
  • Service areas and retail competition
  • Open access, FERC Orders 888 & 889, PURPA and EPAC
  • Wholesale markets evolution with RTOs & ISOs
  • The Electric utility historical vertically integrated business model
  • The risks of a capital-intensive industry

Electricity and Power – An Overview

  • Voltage, current and resistance (impedance)
  • Power and its relationship to voltage, current and resistance (impedance)
  • Electricity measures; kWh, KW, MW, kVA, VARS
  • Load factor and why it’s important
  • The concept of load diversity
  • Real and reactive power and power factor
  • Leading and lagging power in non-technical terms
  • The role of capacitor banks in correcting power factor
  • Single phase and three phase power. How are they produced and used?
  • System losses, their cause and mitigation
  • KPI – reliability indices – SAIDI, SAIFI, CAIDI, etc.

Generation or Power Plants – The First Link in the Power Supply Chain

  • Coal, nuclear, natural gas-fired, hydro, wind and solar, batteries and distributed energy resources
  • Basic components of generation and how the different components function in the first step of the energy supply chain
  • Energy generation by fuel type and how it is evolving due to technology and legislation
  • Factors impacting generation fuel diversity
  • Energy, capital and O&M costs by type of generation
  • Base, peak, intermediate generation and the concept of economic dispatch
  • Voltage & frequency and generation’s role in regional reliability

Substations – Nodes in the Power System

  • The role of substations in a reliable electric grid
  • How substations link the generator to the transmission and distribution system
  • Types of substations; Step up and step down
  • Major substation components and their function
  • SCADA systems and the role of substations in controlling power flow across the supply chain

Transmission Lines – The Bulk Power Movers in the Power System

  • The role of transmission lines in a reliable electric grid
  • The need for high voltage transmission lines
  • System loss reduction due to transmission lines and power flow across the supply chain
  • How transmission lines link substations
  • Types of transmission lines. Voltages and design
  • AC vs. DC transmission lines and their pros & cons
  • First contingency planning and the evolution of the transmission system
  • Major transmission components and their function

Thursday, June 3, 2021 – Central time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Course Timing

Distribution System – The Link to the Customer

  • The role of the distribution system in the supply chain
  • The primary and secondary distribution lines
  • Major distribution system components and their function
  • How the distribution lines connect to the customer
  • System loss at the distribution level
  • Power factor correction on the distribution system
  • Types of distribution lines. Voltages and overhead/underground design

System Problems – New Challenges

  • Operating in a difficult environment
  • Power quality
  • Different types of loads which are computer managed
  • Regional blackouts 8/14/2003 and 9/8/2011 and their aftermath

The Future Utility and the Paradigm Shift

  • The evolution of the historical utility business model
  • Strategic technologies are changing the marketplace
  • Customer self-generation with solar and batteries and their role in the paradigm shift
  • Stagnant energy growth and electricity use
  • Renewable and energy portfolio standards
  • Energy efficiency and demand response’s role in the new utility marketplace
  • The need for non-traditional electric rates and the leading players in the rate evolution
  • Changing customer’s needs, wants, expectations and demographics and how utilities must adapt
  • Residential, commercial, and industrial load profiles and demand drivers

Course Recap and Other Topics of Interest from the Participants


Wallace L. Barron, President, Barron & Associates, Corporate Solutions, LLC

Mr. Barron has over four decades of experience in the electric energy industry. He is currently the President of the consulting firm, Barron & Associates, Corporate Solutions, LLC, located in Atlanta, which specializes in consulting to the energy industry in the areas of Strategic Planning, Board leadership and governance, DSM, Marketing, Customer Service, Key Accounts and Competitive issues. He was the Vice President of DSM, Marketing, Customer Service & Distribution Technology at Florida Power Corporation in St. Petersburg, Florida. His responsibilities included all of the DSM programs, developing and managing the strategic plan for the distribution sector, Forecasting, Key Accounts, Rates, System Planning, Competitive Marketing, Market Research, Customer Service, Economic Development, Load Management and Load Research as well as the Distribution Engineering functions. He was responsible for the Customer, Energy, and Demand Forecasts from 1977 to 1990.  Mr. Barron also has extensive experience in the areas of System Planning, Pricing, Wholesale Marketing, and, Transmission Design, during his forty years in the energy industry and was president of two unregulated subsidiaries developing Cogeneration Projects. He is the past Chairman of the IEEE System Planning Subcommittee, the NERC Load Forecasting Working Group and the IEEE Load Forecasting Working Group.  He was Chairman of the EPRI Power Electronics & Controls Task Force.  Mr. Barron facilitates strategic planning activities for utilities and delivers a variety of Director and Policy Makers seminars on governance issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), and the American Public Power Association (APPA). He has also taught at the Center for Professional Advancement in New Jersey, and engineering courses at the University of South Florida in Tampa and has also participated as a speaker in many IEEE, EEI, EPRI, NRECA, APPA and Statewide Association conferences. Mr. Barron holds a Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Mississippi State University.  Mr. Barron has been an expert witness in the areas of System Planning, DSM, Forecasting, Load Research, and Market Research and has submitted testimony on those topics in dockets before the Florida Public Service Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: After November 30 you will not be able to join a Teams meeting using Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
  • You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
  • Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
    • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.


Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

Event Standard RateAttendees



EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.9 CEUs for this event.

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must log in each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

Power Point presentations and open discussion

Who Should Attend 

Anyone who is new to the industry and non-technical staff who are interested in gaining a better overall understanding of the electric power industry. Non-technical contractors, consultants, and vendors who work with the electric utility industry and need a better overall understanding of how the industry functions and what challenges it is facing.