May 18, 2017 Read More →

On the Blogs: ‘Utility of the Future’ Emerging in U.S. Midwest

For the first 100 years of their existence, utility managers and investors slept well at night knowing three truths would ensure consistent profit growth, so long as they provided safe, reliable and affordable service:

  • Demand for electricity would keep increasing
  • Utility revenue would keep growing
  • Few if any competitive pressures existing for electric utilities

But in just the last decade, utilities have seen each of these truths erode. The old model of coupling profits to increased infrastructure investment and greater sales is cracking as competitive technologies like rooftop solar, local storage and smart buildings displace increasing parts of the utility service, taking some of the revenues that go with it. And, an explosion of innovations have increased energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions, but utilities have been slow to adopt them. Now utilities are clamoring for regulatory change.

In response, multiple states are investigating a new business model increasing the utility’s mandate to modernize the grid, decarbonize generation and give customers more options to manage their bills. This “utility of the future” is no longer an experiment sequestered in leader states like New York, California and Hawaii, where strong environmental policy is forcing regulators and utilities to respond.

Utility of the future discussions have gone mainstream , and three Midwest states—Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota—are in various stages of building frameworks to help utilities establish reliable, resilient, affordable and clean grid systems for the 21st century.

America’s Utility Of The Future Takes Shape In Illinois, Ohio, And Minnesota

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