ECE 585 The Business of the Electric Utility Industry

Evolution of the electric utility industry, the structure and business models of the industry, the regulatory factors within which the utilities operate, the operations of the utility industry, and the current policy and emerging technology issues facing the business. The course includes an introduction to engineering economy and the analysis of time-value of money decisions as related to electric utility infrastructure. 3 credit hours.


• Prerequisite

ECE 451 Power System Analysis

• Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course the student will be able to:

  • Identify and differentiate the regulatory bodies governing the electric utility industry.
  • Describe the primary business models of the industry and explain how an electric utility makes money.
  • Analyze a utility income statement, utility revenue requirement, and a rate schedule.
  • Select the best rate schedule for a customer based on actual electrical loads.
  • Perform a utility-scale cost/benefit analysis.
  • Make construction and/or investment decisions based on an economic analysis of the relative merits of the involved options.
  • Analyze impact of changing rate schedules on utility cost-of-service.
  • Discuss the current state and federal policy issues facing the industry and characterize their impact on an electric utility.
  • Understand the differences between regulated and deregulated power grid operation.
  • Understand the main pricing schemes used for setting the prices for different energy market products at the day-ahead and real-time market.

• Course Requirements

Individual homework
Group homework
Semester group project
Midterm/final exam

• Textbook

R.E. Brown, Business Essentials for Utility Engineers, CRC Press, 2010.  (Available as NCSU Library e-Book)

• Computer and Internet Requirements

NCSU and Engineering Online have recommended minimum specifications for computers. For details, click here.

• Instructor

Dr. Leonard W. White, PE, RCDD
Professor of the Practice

Electrical & Computer Engineering
1791 Varsity Drive, Suite 100
Campus Box 7571
Raleigh, NC 27695

Phone: 919-513-7167