Editor in chief
Transformation is a word I’ve heard often to describe the changes the electricity industry is experiencing. Some in the industry say it is an overused buzzword and an exaggeration of the industry’s true state. I disagree. Transformation’s definition is: “make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance or character of.” I think that is a pretty accurate description of the industry today, especially the segment of the industry responsible for electricity delivery.
As I compiled, read and edited the articles for this issue, I was reminded of how rapidly and dramatically technology and energy policy have affected electric utilities’ business models, customer strategies and operations, especially those related to electricity delivery. In this issue, you’ll find several stories, including our cover feature, that explore energy storage from a technology as well as an economic angle. While you’ll read that energy storage is not always a viable solution, it is a technology that is becoming more affordable for utilities and their customers and has great potential when it comes to adding sustainable, clean electricity to the generation mix and improving grid operations, reliability and resiliency. As recent as three years ago, energy storage was sometimes discussed, but was seen by many as a “pie in the sky” technology that was years away from being a viable solution for electric utilities.
Also in this issue, you’ll find two stories about mobile apps. One explains how Pacific Gas & Electric Co. developed an automated callout app that improved its internal operations. The other, provides tips on developing a customer-focused app that utility customers can’t live without. Again, three years ago, apps were barely, if at all, on utilities’ radars.
Other articles in this issue focus on microgrids, data analytics, mobile solutions, Internet of Things and more. One thing all of these articles have in common, however, is that they are highlighting ideas, technologies and solutions that are seeing utilities through the most “transformational” period the industry has ever experienced.
Buzzword or not, transformation is an accurate verb for an industry that provides our fast-moving society with power to change (or perhaps transform) the world at a speed not seen before. I’m happy to be part of the journey.