|analytical Q||Suggest a Link||Contact||Search||Energy|
Independent energy information providers
Real-time news, prices
Bridge took over Telerate
Business Wire press releases galore (not just 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
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"
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.
"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?
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:
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
Types of information providers
Third party - i.e. independent, not involved as buyers or sellers of energy
Data, price providers
Not-3rd party, i.e. participants
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:
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
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
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.
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (US) research material, restructuring issues, testimonies, articles
North American Electric Reliability Council map with links to NERC regions
Weather Risk Management Association (WRMA) weather derivatives, member links, weather-related news
The Utility Reform Network also known as TURN, consumer lobby group
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)
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
ICBI Conferences annual Power Risk
IOU names (US)
PMA power glossary download Word file