Ed’s note: Grid modernisation – do you have to lead the pack?


Grid modernisation is the focus of a new report released yesterday by BRIDGE. The report, An Industry in Transformation – Business and Compliance, shows there is an overwhelming focus and drive towards achieving grid modernisation within the utility sector, often ahead of regulated deadlines.

According to Hugo van Nispen, CEO of BRIDGE: “For the vast majority, there is agreement that there is a clear vision for the organization and that the vision is being executed.  

“However, most do not view their utility as leading the industry in operational transformation. Utilities should ensure their vision includes out-of-the box thinking about what is truly needed to address the changes in customer expectations, business models, and workforce technology.”

Transformational initiatives include investments into talent, infrastructure and capabilities. Yet there are concerns from some that transformation is only taking place across a small sector of the business and that the scope is not inclusive enough, nor do they encompass enough cross-functional elements. Critics propose that only high-level support within the organisation and cross-silo initiatives can be truly transformational.

There is too, a school of thought that believes “slow and steady wins the day.” This translates into measured actions within modernisation efforts, improving on existing processes and keeping core performance and requirements at the centre of any modernisation plan. This could, for instance, see improved field workforce management and advanced analytics combined to deliver more accurate information to supervisors and customers, while improving predictive maintenance schedules and situational awareness. By utilising new technology to address an existing business challenge, there is an opportunity for utilities to strengthen their core deliverables before exploring new business opportunities.

Both approaches – innovative and industry leading or slow and steady – have an important role to play in the future development of the sector. Each offers an opportunity to learn, improve and adjust business tactics as needed and each offers the other opportunities for reflection, adoption and adaptation.

What do you think? Do you want to be part of the change leaders or do you believe you can derive the most business benefit from keeping a close eye on the early adopters and learning from their mistakes and successes? We’d love to hear what you think. Contact us to share your thoughts on utility transformation and be sure to read the next edition of Smart Energy International in which we examine some of the technologies and thought processes driving the utility transformation.

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Until next time!