Let’s start with an obvious statement: the utilities industry is changing. Your job has likely evolved due to changes in your organization’s generation and storage technology, a renewed focus on grid health, or a changing customer base driving new CX initiatives. You’re responsible for navigating all of this “new” and developing the right mix of technologies and processes needed to help your organization unleash its potential.
Last week, a team of our consultants attended the GCPA Spring Conference. Here are four fast takeaways we have for any utilities organization navigating the new:
- Enabling grid efficiency is key. Storage solutions, like emerging LDES technology, are one critical component of that equation.
- The emergence of new incentives and technologies around carbon capture should be evaluated.
- Decisions to maintain, repair, or replace aging infrastructure are happening daily at organizations across the country.
- Operational flexibility will become a key differentiator for the modern utility company. Increasing uncertainty in the ability to maintain normal grid conditions regardless of weather, demand forecasting, new technology, and customer expectations require organizations to be nimble and responsive to changing information.
Nearly every GCPA speaker emphasized the importance of their topic while also noting that the energy transition requires serious consideration of all other presentation topics as well. Utilities industry leaders need to be aware of all competing topics so they can develop a comprehensive solution that is best suited to their organization’s unique needs and priorities.
Three Common Mistakes to Avoid in the Utilities Industry
Take a look at three common mistakes to avoid when your company begins to develop and implement your comprehensive solution:
1. Letting a lack of buy-in threaten long-term adoption from employees.
Your employees shouldn’t just know what’s changing, they should know why a change is happening. It’s important to communicate any planned changes early and often, involve your employees in decision-making, and share an appropriate level of “behind the scenes” information about key decisions. When executed properly, each of these steps can build trust in leadership and generate excitement for the upcoming process or technology change.
2. Developing technology that doesn’t accurately account for the end-user experience.
Your employees—particularly your field employees—don’t always use technology the way you do. For some employees, this means using a mobile version of a desktop application. For other employees, this means relying on downloaded files because they work in remote areas without Wi-Fi or reliable cell phone reception. Whatever the situation is, your end-users should have a say in new technology development from the beginning of the process. When this happens, the likelihood of a successful rollout skyrockets.
3. Settling for an inaccurate scope of work estimate.
Say you’re planning a new technology mix to address the way your organization stores energy. Your storage plan needs to fit with the rest of the company and align with the parameters of the delivery area, state, or county you operate in. Your technology needs to integrate seamlessly with your current system. Your employees need to be trained. What specific steps really go into each initiative? In order to deliver a project on time and within budget, it’s imperative to start your implementation journey with a robust and accurate plan.
There are likely multiple decision points in your company’s future, including defining how you’re going to store and transmit energy or how you’re going to integrate new technologies into your existing system. If you are looking for a partner to evaluate where you are and develop the business plan for how to achieve your operational goals, fill out the form below to connect with one of our consultants.