The utility industry is undergoing seismic shifts. From ever-increasing demands for environmental sustainability to the proliferation of new technologies and business models, the industry today has become much more than the maintenance of pipes, poles, and wires.
So, how are utilities faring, faced with these industry-wide changes? Across one major vector, the digitization of business-as-usual (BAU) operations, the industry hasn’t been keeping up. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, for one, the level of digitization of utilities’ operations is well below that of other industries.
The implication, here, is twofold. For one, individual utilities are leaving significant cost savings on the table, as much as a 25 percent reduction in operational costs. But also, the industry as a whole is compromising its negotiating power during rate-setting discussions with regulators.
That’s not all. As impacts from extreme weather events continue to intensify, utilities risk increased liability if they fail to make the necessary operational changes. For example, power utilities in the United States, Australia, and Europe are experiencing unprecedented scrutiny in light of recent infrastructure-related wildfire disasters in customer service areas disproportionately exposed to the wildland- urban interface.
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