Electric utilities today are confronting disruptive challenges that may not only transform them, but the sector as a whole. To better understand how utilities see themselves meeting these challenges, Siemens commissioned Utility Dive to survey 527 U.S. electric utility professionals on the state of the industry in 2014. Those surveyed were asked to provide information on the type of utility they work for and the region they operate in.
Aging infrastructure emerged as the top challenge facing electric utilities in 2014, followed by the current regulatory model and the need to replace an aging workforce. It’s no surprise that utility professionals see these as some of the most important issues they’re dealing with.
Basic infrastructure – power plants and power lines – and the work force that maintains it are central to the core mission of electric utilities: providing reliable power 24/7. The process of replacing and upgrading old substations, power lines, and power plants, and bringing in a new generation of employees provides utilities with a chance to remake the sector with new technology and savvy workers.
Utilities are also contending with slack demand growth and the rise of distributed generation, a threat to the centralized utility model. Both of these newer challenges feed into an even greater issue: the current regulatory model, which is, by and large, poorly designed for the evolving industry.
Surprisingly, utility professionals were least concerned about retiring coal-fired power plants, emissions standards, and renewable mandates. It could be that these challenges, while major, are related to power supply, an issue that has been at the core of utility service since utilities were first formed.
For the full report visit: https://s3.amazonaws.com/dive_assets/rlpsys/2014_utility_dive_survey.pdf
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