Preparing for the Future Utility

by John Ferrare, Enerdynamics CEO

While Enerdynamics works with energy companies of all types, many of our clients are utilities. And within the utility sector we are seeing considerable concern about the utility business model and how it must adapt to the increasingly disruptive changes happening in the industry. There are four main areas of concern:

  • rapidly changing technologies
  • evolving customer desires
  • competition from non-utility service providers
  • an aging workforce whose knowledge must be transferred to new employees with little to no utility experience

Let’s explore each of these areas and the ways Enerdynamics has responded to help our utility clients meet these challenges.

Rapidly changing technologies

The list of changing technologies is a long one:

  • utility-scale solar and wind
  • batteries and other storage
  • rooftop solar and other distributed generation
  • advanced demand response
  • electric vehicles
  • microgrid
  • advanced communications and control capabilities
  • renewable natural gas
  • biogas
  • fuel cells

Any one of these technologies could pose a unique challenge, but all of them coming at once certainly have utilities’ attention. All utility employees must be familiar with these new technologies. To help utility clients and their employees, we have developed a live seminar called Distributed Energy Resources and Microgrids. This two-day seminar, which will also be available as an online learning path in Summer 2019, examines key technologies and then considers the challenges and opportunities they present.

Evolving customer desires and competition from non-utility service providers

In many of our seminars we include the following audience poll:

In a future world where electric services include supply, flexible loads, choices for distributed generation, and home automation, from whom do you want to buy your services?

    1. Utility
    2. Apple
    3. Google
    4. Comcast

While utility audiences often show some loyalty to their own companies, a surprising number say they would prefer to buy services from Apple and Google. Clearly, consumers are moving beyond just paying their bill once a month and not thinking about energy services. As with changing technologies, all employees must gain an understanding of evolving consumers.

To help utilities better understand the risks and opportunities that changing technologies, evolving consumers, and non-utility providers pose, we developed a custom seminar called The Future of the Utility: Evolving Customers, Changing Technology, Revised Regulation, New Business Models, and Growing Opportunities. This seminar is used by several of our utility clients to prepare future leaders for increased competition and changing technologies. It also allows them to explore how other utilities around the world are responding to this new world order.

Aging workforce and knowledge transfer to new employees

The long-predicted industry brain drain is finally here. Older utility employees are leaving, and without a proactive response, they may well take their knowledge out the door with them. This requires a serious approach to knowledge transfer as well as basic industry acumen training for the employees who take the places of their veteran predecessors – especially given that most of these new employees will come from outside the industry and arrive with little or no industry knowledge.

To help our clients meet this challenge, Enerdynamics developed a growing library of online courses that can quickly and cost-effectively help new employees get up to speed and be productive.

The most effective programs are multi-faceted, use a variety of training media, and understand that all employee groups will be affected by the coming changes to the industry. For those, Enerdynamics offers both online and live custom training to complement your own internal resources. But even for those just embarking on this journey, we have programs that can kick start the process.

For more information on how Enerdynamics can help your utility face these challenges, contact John Ferrare at 866-765-5432 ext. 700 or