I stumbled across the first MetrixND newsletter today. In July 1998, Regional Economic Research (RER) was preparing users for the MetrixND 1.2 release, setting up a MetrixND training class and forming a user’s group.

In many ways, life is the same today as it was in 1998. I still go to work, drink coffee in the morning, and help companies with their forecasting needs. Even the average household consumption looks similar. Between 1997 and 2012, the Energy Information Administration estimates that average use rose only 6% over 15 years based on the Residential Energy Consumption Surveys.

But, “sameness” is simply an illusion. As I look around, I can see toddlers grown into college students, clients retiring, and Itron acquired RER in 2002. Within my home, I’ve moved from no computers, to desktop computers, to laptop computers, to tablets. My television set is larger and flatter. A few years ago, I even replaced my old water heater with a new efficient one after a very wet incident. Between 1998 and 2012, Itron estimates that annual electric usage is for central air conditioning is lower by about 18%, refrigeration is down by 20%, and lighting is reduced by 19%.

As we forecast, it’s easy to project the sameness of the past into the future. Assuming that 1998 is just like today misses the subtle changes in technologies, end-uses, and efficiency gains. Incorporating these impacts sharpens our projections, adds causality into our models, and recognizes the realities of our world.

While drinking my coffee this morning, I am nostalgic over the MetrixND newsletter. But, today is not 1998. MetrixND 1.2 has been upgraded to MetrixND 5.3. The single MetrixND training class has blossomed into a full curriculum of forecast training classes in the U.S. and abroad. The first MetrixND users group has been transformed into the Energy Forecasting Group and Itron Utility Week Conferences plus user meetings in Europe and Australia. And, the printed, mailed newsletter is now an electronic blog.

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Mark Quan
Principal Forecast Consultant - Itron
Mark Quan is a Principal Forecast Consultant with Itron’s Forecasting Division. Since joining Itron in 1997, Quan has specialized in both short-term and long-term energy forecasting solutions as well as load research projects. Quan has developed and implemented several automated forecasting systems to predict next day system demand, load profiles, and retail consumption for companies throughout the United States and Canada. Short-term forecasting solutions include systems for the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). Long-term forecasting solutions include developing and supporting the long-term forecasts of sales and customers for clients such as Dairyland Power and Omaha Public Power District. These forecasts include end-use information and demand-side management impacts in an econometric framework. Finally, Quan has been involved in implementing Load Research systems such as at Snohomish PUD. Prior to joining Itron, Quan worked in the gas, electric, and corporate functions at Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), where he was involved in industry restructuring, electric planning, and natural gas planning. Quan received an M.S. in Operations Research from Stanford University and a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California at Los Angeles.