Ed’s note: What keeps you up at night?


What is it that wakes you up at 2 am – heart-pounding and adrenalin pumping? What is your ‘Houston, we have a problem’ dread?

Perhaps I should clarify – I’m referring to the work-related issues here. The personal issues are for professionals much more qualified than I.

The 2019 Itron Resourcefulness Insights Report has some interesting insights to offer into just this subject, insights that I believe reflect an interesting shift in the landscape in the US over the last 12 months.

Since 1970, the number of natural disasters worldwide has more than quadrupled to around 400 a year, causing nearly $1 trillion in economic losses in the United States alone. Last year, the US experienced 14 separate billion-dollar disasters.

The report cites cyberattacks as being one, if not the biggest, of the concerns that utility leaders face, followed by extreme weather events (I’m using a generic term here, as extreme weather is obviously region dependent).

I’d be interested here to ask what it is that keeps our colleagues and readers in Asia and Europe awake at night? Is it cyberattacks or natural disasters, and how prepared do you believe you are?

Technology is key

Technology obviously plays a key role in preparing for and mitigating the risks of cyberattacks or natural disasters. Utilities globally are deploying sensors across their networks to monitor and provide early warning, but also to determine disaster hotspots to prioritise their responses.

How much do you rely on technology to prioritise your responses to outages or disaster planning, and what could you be doing better?

What do customers think?

Interestingly, consumers don’t believe their utility is properly prepared for disasters – be they weather-related, or cyber-related. Also, utilities themselves differ in their opinion from their customers. Why the disconnect I wonder? It may well be that utilities need to do more to communicate their plans and efforts to their consumer base – but I do wonder if it’s not a case of consumers not paying attention, even if the information is sent directly to them?

Let’s be honest – we all live extremely busy, complex lives and most of the time, if something is not on your immediate “radar”, you don’t have the energy/mental enthusiasm/bandwidth to pay it too much attention. However, when you do become aware – when a storm is looming, and you suddenly start questioning the impact it will have on you – well, suddenly you realise you don’t necessarily know what plans have been put in place. Is this the case with consumers and utility plans for disaster preparedness?

Should utilities do more to share their preparedness plans? Would it make a difference in consumer perceptions?

Do you believe you are doing enough to share disaster preparedness planning with your consumers, and of the information you are sharing – how much do you believe is being utilised and paid attention to?

I’d recommend reading the report – it’s an information-rich insight into one of the challenges utilities around the world are facing and will provide some direction for those who are perhaps unsure where to start.

Download the report Disaster Preparedness: An Itron Resourcefulness Insight Report 

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on disaster preparedness – or if you feel that your utility has other priorities based on your location. Either way, feel free to share what you think with me at editorial@smart-energy.com

Wishing you a disaster-free and well-prepared week!


Did you know that addressing your ‘these are the things that keep me awake at night’ moments is exactly what the teams at Clarion Energy & Resources do during the events they organise around the world? To find out more, visit Clarion Energy & Resources today!