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I believe there are six immutable utility industry truths. How we decide to interpret these is up to us, but we cannot ignore them.

Like the canary in the coal mine, these industry truths should be used as an early warning to help inform the decisions we make when developing our digital roadmaps.

Just five to ten years ago, depending on where you are in the world, external forces affecting the energy markets were relatively predictable and constant. Energy demand would increase in line with rises in the economy. The profile of a customer’s energy consumption was also mostly predictable. Before behind-the-meter technologies were widely available, it was relatively easy for a utility to model the energy use of a typical premises based on its historical data. As a result, investment planning in the grid was relatively straightforward.

By contrast, planning network investments today is no longer so simple. Now we must take a serious look at what is going on around us, and have this inform our decisions to ensure we are making the right decisions to deliver safe and reliable supply, at a reasonable cost, with the lowest impact on the environment.

So, what is going on around us? What is the new reality that we must consider? I believe there are six industry truths we need to factor into our investment planning decisions when designing our digital roadmap for today’s environment and for the future.  Consider these:

  • New energy technology is getting cheaper, physically smaller and more efficient.  You just need to look at how rooftop solar keeps reducing in price and improving in performance.
  • Everything is becoming connected.  Everyday devices such as the humble light bulb, can now be turned on by a simple voice command to Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa
  • The growth of data and capabilities such as artificial intelligence is increasing insights into companies and consumers.
  • Energy consumers are striving for greater choice and control.  You just have to look at the increased pressure on utilities to allow approved third parties with access to energy data.
  • Energy consumers expect simplicity.  When was the last time you bought a product from Apple and looked at the instruction manual?  Consumers expect products to be intuitive.
  • Reducing the impact we have on our planet and our communities is an increasingly important part of people’s investment decisions.

Have you considered these truths in the design of your digital utility roadmap?


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