The energy marketplace is being redesigned across the country. Are energy design/build, energy procurement and energy engineering firms prepared to deliver value to their customers in this fast-changing world?
“In recent years, energy customers have become increasingly dissatisfied with their relationship with their utility. They no longer want to simply act as ratepayers, waiting for a complex bill that arrives five weeks after the first spin of their meter in the billing cycle. Instead, they want ways to manage costs, lower their carbon footprint and be active consumers in a vibrant marketplace.“ So wrote Janet Besser and Peter Kelly-Detwiller in a November 29, 2017 article in GreenBiz.
Furthermore, utilities are finding that their financial health is in jeopardy as sales decline and as consumption peaks become more unpredictable. Perhaps worse, there is a growing realization that the electricity grid is the product of an outdated regulatory framework. As noted by Besser, the current grid is inefficient to use, which drives prices up and it also fails to keep up with the tremendous potential of “a rapidly evolving generation of smart, modular, decentralized clean energy technologies.”
These pressures have triggered a wave of efforts across the country to rethink the energy marketplace. New York State has launched an initiative called RevConnect and Rhode Island has launched a Power Sector Transformation Initiative. In all, over 30 states are working to modernize their power grids.
Rhode Island is looking at “creating a multi-year structure to align utility incentives with grid efficiencies. It would focus on outcomes rather than infrastructure, place increased emphasis on customer service metrics and encourage the creation of new utility revenue streams.” New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is working on a grid with decentralized production, more renewables and more flexibility. REV’s core principles include enhanced customer control over their energy consumption, enabling the private sector to deliver services that customers value, enabling private capital investment and changing the way the utilities are compensated.