The next generation of energy production and use will require a dramatic improvement in the energy industry’s capacity to provide ongoing, independent, and trusted support to customers.
This improvement will mean that customers can invest in energy under a new energy utility structure that offers fully coordinated services dedicated to meeting their energy needs. This will require interdependent functions between utilities and other entities providing customer-engaged energy services. These interdependent functions can harness the immense potential for meeting our energy needs in a way that maximizes benefits to the customer, our energy systems, and society.
There is an explosion of opportunity for new types of utility service to customers. If thoughtfully deployed as a comprehensive system, these services can fully engage utility customers, redefine the utility system, and realize the societal benefits of new strategies and technologies. This is a new utility model, to be sure.
The greatest challenge will be to identify new roles, responsibilities, and investment strategies that are consciously designed to maximize customer and societal benefits through the new business models, rather than simply pursuing “new revenue streams” for traditional utilities. Doing this right will require deliberate, imaginative work on the part of all stakeholders.