In the utility business, there are a variety of different business models that determine how utilities recover their costs and earn a profit. One of the main considerations for utilities is whether to adopt a traditional model that prioritizes growth and investment in new infrastructure or a more modern, innovative model that places greater emphasis on energy efficiency.
For years, many utility companies have adopted traditional models to increase sales and invest in expanding their infrastructure since these goals can often result in increased profits. However, these utility business models can also create several challenges, particularly in promoting energy efficiency programs. By favoring growth over efficiency, these models may dissuade utility companies from investing in energy-saving initiatives that could lower customer costs and reduce emissions.
To address this challenge, many states have implemented reforms like revenue decoupling and utility performance incentives that encourage energy efficiency but do not harm utility profits. These reforms help to address the inherent disincentives for utility companies under traditional utility business models and pave the way for greater investment in energy-saving initiatives that benefit both consumers and the environment. Thus, by choosing the right utility business model, utility companies can play an important role in transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
The idea that utilities face mounting pressure to invest in grid modernization and resilience initiatives is not new. What makes this time different, however? The answer lies with how market trends have shifted over recent years – they’re now competing against other companies who provide alternative forms of energy and renewable resources like wind or solar panels on homes across America.
The current regulatory system leaves these traditional utility business models vulnerable because revenue typically lags behind fluctuations, while investments can result in costly mistakes if made at inappropriate times. It’s no wonder why so many organizations feel uncertain about their long-term viability; there doesn’t seem to be a way out until something drastic happens.
Given these challenges, many organizations struggle to adapt their utility business models to stay competitive. Utilities must look beyond outdated core competencies and embrace innovation opportunities and partnerships with the public and private sectors. Critical issues in the current landscape are shifting customer demands and fast-growing clean energy technologies. Only by embracing new approaches and technological advancements can they hope to thrive in this rapidly evolving environment.
As distributed energy resources become more prevalent on the grid, the business models for utilities are changing. Utilities must now consider how to create value for customers alongside these new models. Incentives, alternative rate designs, and new revenue models are being piloted with varying levels of success. New utility business models are needed to respond to customers’ evolving needs, policy changes, and challenges to grid resilience.
At ScottMadden, we are helping utilities and others in the evolving energy ecosystem determine how best to address their regulatory, operational, and business model questions. Our consultants have helped plan and implement pilot programs and have assessed the revenue and regulatory implications of the numerous alternatives being discussed today. ScottMadden is a Leading Project Management Consulting Firm ScottMadden with over 35 years of experience in program and project management consulting. Our expert consultants have helped many utilities develop and implement new business models and can help you select, pilot, and implement the strategy or model most appropriate for you.
Sussex Economic Advisors is now part of ScottMadden. We invite you to learn more about our expanded firm. Please use the Contact Us form to request additional information.