The Utility Paradigm Shift, From Utility To IT

Alternative Energy
Alternative Energy

Utilities are facing their biggest challenges in decades, upgrading and overhauling its infrastructure.

The gist is that when it comes down to it, delayed and deferred decades of upgrades is costing utilities a lot of money.  The push for a smarter grid is not just for efficiency and two-way communication system but also to secure it and make it more redundant.  Utilities, once energy providers are facing a paradigm, from energy producers, they must now become technology specialists.

From Producing To IT.  If utilities were producers and transporters of energy, their new role will be closer to IT management.  Jon Arnold, co-founder of Intelligent Communication Partner, a strategic advisory group focused on Smart Grid was interviewed on the Canadian GreenerIT site, via TMCNET.

Jon feels approaching the Smart Grid should be done from an IT stance.  It is more about communication protocols, something IT has been dealing with these past 30 years.  While current funds are used to upgrade grid hardware, the other work needs to focus on communication.  Jon feels utilities are at the same point the telecommunication world was a few decades ago, from being regulated to switching to heavier throughput and deregulation.

In many ways, utilities are embracing the Internet revolution that took over the telecommunication world.  The quaint notion of a utility burning coal and natural gas to deliver electricity at homes is changing fast.  Utilities need to support real-time two-way energy information, load balance critical peaks and down time.  In essence, they are going from energy.1 to energy.2, much as the web went from web.1 to .2