Utilities Must Shift Their Business Models to Meet Changing Market Conditions

Recent market changes have placed new pressures upon the traditional business models of power utilities.  The rise of distributed generation is forcing utilities to account for more volatile and intermittent energy sources even as stricter regulations on energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions force them to turn toward cleaner, more costly forms of generation.

The controversy over net metering continues to escalate, causing utilities to reevaluate their customer relationships and their pricing strategies.  In this rapidly changing environment, business as usual is no longer a viable option.

According to a new white paper from Navigant Research, utilities’ roles are likely to change in a number of significant ways, and adapting to these changes will be a key success factor in the coming years.

The paper, which identifies ten trends that will shape the smart utilities sector in 2014 and beyond, is available for free download on Navigant Research’s website.

“The last 12 months have ushered in changes at all levels of the smart utilities marketplace,” says Bob Lockhart, research director with Navigant Research.  “Some of these changes are exciting, and some are alarming, but, in either case, it is increasingly evident that traditional business models face threats from all sides, and ‘adapt or die’ will be the defining condition for utilities in the next several years.”

Some of the issues covered in the white paper, such as demand response (DR) and home energy management, were on the radar a year ago.  Others, such as net metering and its impact upon utilities’ business models, barely registered at the beginning of 2013.  The key trends examined in the white paper include:

  • AMI networks supporting distribution automation
  • Net metering brouhaha escalates and possible solutions emerge
  • Smart grid IT spending on the rise
  • Utilities’ business models are shifting
  • Distributed energy and microgrids begin to affect utilities
  • Utilities’ secret weapon in energy efficiency: conservation voltage reduction
  • Hybrid high voltage DC breakers bring innovation and efficiency
  • Demand response outside North America will begin to grow
  • Smart meter market to expand globally
  • Home energy management market will see a steady uptick

The white paper, “Smart Utilities: 10 Trends to Watch in 2014 and Beyond”, provides insights into these 10 key issues that will shape the smart utilities market in the months and years ahead, with summary forecasts of the smart grid IT, smart metering, and DR markets.  Each of the topics in this white paper is examined more deeply in Navigant Research’s market overview reports.  A full copy of the white paper is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.