BEARINGPOINT SRL

 | 

EMMANUEL AUTIER

 | 

ISABELLE VIENNOIS

  |  08.09.2015

Utilities x.0: energy companies prepare for a reboot

What will Europe’s utilities sector look like in 2030? Our research sheds light on a smarter, decentralized market that will place the customer at the heart of the business model. The inaugural BearingPoint Smart Utilities Index shows the competencies utilities need to address the dramatic overhaul facing the sector by 2030.

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Utilities
BEARINGPOINT SRL

EMMANUEL AUTIER

EMMANUEL AUTIER

PARTNER IN CHARGE OF THE UTILITIES SECTOR FOR BEARINGPOINT FRANCE at BEARINGPOINT SRL


ISABELLE VIENNOIS

ISABELLE VIENNOIS

SENIOR MANAGER OF THE RESOURCES AND UTILITIES TEAM OF BEARINGPOINT FRANCE at BEARINGPOINT SRL

A day in the life: how utilities companies will use data to improve the management of energy supply/demand


Meet Gerhard. Gerhard wakes and checks his messages: there is an opt-in offer from his energy provider due to a system peak event that morning. Gerhard checks the status of his smart house console, to make sure all appliances and scheduled activities are using minimal power at the time of the peak.


At the same time he checks his residential energy storage device. It is fully charged from his roof-top solar system after several days of good weather. His electric car is also fully charged, having taken advantage of low nightly rates. 

 

Gerhard’s systems have analyzed weather forecasts and his personal needs – heating, lighting, appliance use and driving routes – and recommend that he sells back one third of the power in his storage units during the peak incident at a preferential sale rate offered by his energy supplier.


At lunch Gerhard reviews his local energy newsletter, noting that his next door neighbour won a weekly supply efficiency contest using an alternative supplier with more flexible options. After analyzing the savings he could make based on his own usage patterns, he switches to his neighbour’s supplier with a single click using an energy comparison app on his smartphone.

 

He then clicks through to information about the latest energy-saving devices. Reviews are read and simulations are run to see how quickly their initial costs would be paid off due to efficiency gains. He logs the results ready for that evening’s Neighbourhood Energy Management Association meeting, where attendees will be reviewing upgrades to the community micro-grid.

 

IN 30 SECONDS


• Utilities firms are at a watershed: faced with continued market fragmentation across an increasingly smart supply network, it is no longer enough to rely on an incumbent position. New competencies are required to plan for a smarter and decentralized 2030 landscape.
• From our research conducted with IDC Energy Insights, we know that a gap is increasing between the best in class utilities players and the industry average.
• Based on the emerging models of micro-grid operators, energy data aggregators and demand response managers, we identify principles utilities companies can take in order to stay ahead of what could prove to be a turbulent future market.

 

Today’s utility market landscape


We define the utilities segment as covering energy generation, transmission and delivery, production and distribution of water (and the treatment of waste water), collection/treatment, and recovery of waste – that is, the management of resources. Although this paper predominantly focuses on energy, many of its conclusions also apply to other subindustries, such as water and waste. Against a financial background that is still challenging, three factors are conspiring to drive changes across this complex and fastevolving landscape:

 

  • Technology change is resulting in new ways of generating and distributing power, as well as offering enhanced visibility through data. This can be a blessing and a curse, comments Dr Martin Everts, Head, Energy Economics, Axpo, one of the largest utilities in Switzerland: ‘Traditional energy providers are confronted with an overwhelming amount of data and a multitude of stakeholders that use various IT systems. “How should the company manage the plethora of necessary IT systems and the massive data volume?” and “What can the company learn from the data?” are key questions we need to ask ourselves today and not tomorrow.’
  • Market deregulation and increased customer centricity are driving corporate change. ‘Since market liberalization, we spend significantly more time trying to understand the customer than before. As a former monopolist, this behaviour was not in our DNA,’ says Dr Stephanie Engels, Head, Corporate Development, EWZ: a Swiss utility and distribution system operator (DSO). ‘With increasing competition, we need to be more customercentric and we also realise how much we learn from our customers through studies and workshops.’
  • The pan-national and regulatory environment causes continued uncertainty. Recent events in Ukraine have highlighted how difficult it can be to predict and manage supply. Meanwhile, government decisions – such as the phasing out of nuclear power in Switzerland and Germany and decisions taken after Fukushima in 2011 – and continued efforts to impose pan-European regulation, such as offering ‘green’ subsidies, have significant bearing on the overall market.

 

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