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Posted by todd.hall Oct 30, 2012  


Steady As it Goes…Sort of!

For decades, the north American utilities (natural gas, electric and water) have enjoyed a legacy and presence of being  well-run organizations focused on their customer’s needs.   Oh sure, there have been a very few bumps along the way, but overall utilities across North America are well respected and trusted by their local customer constituents.   The focus has been on the steady engineering (customer benefit) and steady financial return (shareholder benefit).  Nothing too fancy!  Because of this keen focus, North America enjoys economic and social benefits second to nowhere else in the world.  The lights are nearly always on (at least 99.99% of the time), natural gas is plentiful and available to fuel my car and keep my family warm during the cold Nebraska winters and water is always fresh, good tasting and  inexpensive.   Steady as it goes...

In the last few years, the utility industry has been witnessing the emergence of a wholesale transformation that has not been seen before in this industry.  Forces are being leveraged against the traditional operating paradigm. These forces include environmental concerns; national energy security; a proliferation of federal, regional and state laws and regulatory laws and requirements; increasing requirements to grow shareholder value by increasing internal efficiencies (decreasing costs); increasing regulatory delay in rate alignment; and an ever increasing scrutiny and demand for greater individualized customer engagement and service. 

Whew!  Steady as it goes….?

A number of utility thought and practice leaders are moving quickly to embrace technology.  Technology?  Yes, technology!   Technology provides a deep and meaningful avenue to overcoming many of these transformational threats.  Whether the drivers are a deeper understanding of trends and data, a deeper and more meaningful relationship with customers, an enriched relationship with employees or a more efficient way to work are all more manageable with technology.  This embrace of technology and change makes the move to this new future state more meaningful and less threatening.  Just ask the thought leaders in our industry…

Steady as it goes… moving rapidly to the new future state! 

Is this an accurate representation of our North American utility industry?  What is your perspective?

More conversation to come soon….

...and that's how I see it


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