With DistribuTECH, there’s always something exciting going on, and this year in San Diego is no exception. The day prior to the actual DTECH 2015 event, we attended the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference, The Evolving Utility. Consisting of four separate sessions, the conference prompted lively discussions related to the changing electric utility industry. Industry executives representing utilities, innovators, regulators and other reviewed challenges the power infrastructure faces in meeting industry drivers and requirements.
Some of the topics discussed included “Beyond the Meter” services, which are continuing to expand, covering such things as connecting home, travel and at-work charging stations. This would include items such as charging any device anywhere, power outage notifications, personalized energy reports, digital divide, renewables and the changing electric utility workforce.
All of these topics acknowledge the impact of technology on the electric power grid and their relationship to cost-effective delivery of reliable electric energy. Technology convergence bridging the digital divide as electrical power consumer change into energy portfolio managers. It is estimated that about seven percent of consumers digitally take advantage of advance energy management services. What is telling about that stat is that the seven percent contains a mix of all generations, including seniors.
My takeaway from the conference is that the utility industry continues to evolve to address requirements driven by the convergence of staff, consumers and regulators to deliver electricity cost-effectively.