Utilities regulators see value in cloud technology investments

Today Oracle Utilities announced the findings of its new U.S. regulators cloud study “Clearing a Path to the Cloud: U.S. Regulator Perspectives on Cloud Technologies,” highlighting that 83 percent of U.S. utilities regulators surveyed believe the cloud to be an important technology trend and 67 percent agree that the cloud will be critical to utilities’ future success. The new study is a follow on to Oracle’s 2016 utilities study “On Cloud Now.”

According to the findings, regulators are focused on the cloud: 33 percent already have a specific and comprehensive strategy for cloud and 69 percent either have, or will have, a team that focuses on understanding the role of cloud technologies in utilities.

“The findings from last year’s utilities study and this year’s regulator study point to a significant paradigm shift, as both parties recognize the value of cloud technologies and the important roles they will play in utilities’ processes and operations,” said Rodger Smith, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Utilities.

With the rise of distributed energy resources, a more customer-centric grid, and the need for improved customer engagement, there are many ways utilities can implement cloud technologies in their businesses. Nearly 50 percent of regulators surveyed listed meter data management as one of the top three areas in which utilities can deploy cloud in their organizations, with big data analytics at 41 percent and distribution automation at 36 percent.

The adoption of cloud is, in part, being shaped by regulators, making it important to understand their perspective on what role they see themselves playing. Nearly 80 percent – almost 4 out of 5 – believe that they should play at least some role in determining whether or not utilities use cloud technologies. They also indicated that they have the tools to effectively regulate the use of cloud. Significantly, the study highlighted that two thirds of regulators surveyed want to treat cloud investment as a capital expense.

“The results of this study show that for utilities who are creating a strategy for how they can leverage the cloud in their business, alignment with regulators will be a key component, as they continue to be influential in the bigger cloud adoption picture,” Smith said.

Conducted by research firm Zpryme on behalf of Oracle Utilities, the Oracle Utilities “Regulatory Perspectives on Cloud Technologies” study surveyed 76 U.S. regulatory staff and commissioners about their cloud perspectives.

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