Yes! There is a clear shift in the utilities industry as they adopt the digital approach. Increasing demand for information, a highly competitive environment and the need for higher operational efficiency has led to the tipping point of the utility’s digital journey. The transformation of operations and systems with digital technologies creates a substantial value for utilities and their customers. From engaging customers through a mobile application, creating online self-service opportunities, automating work orders for the field workforce, to using predictive analytics for asset maintenance utilities have revolutionized the customer journeys in many ways.

By leveraging the digital blocks, such as service platforms, smart devices, artificial intelligence and machine learning, utilities have achieved higher customer satisfaction scores, enhanced workforce productivity and operational effectiveness, and increased asset lifecycle of infrastructure. The ability to go ‘beyond the meter’ has given them more flexibility and accelerated their digital journey.

Some of the major shifts in the utility industry are –

  • From information providers to energy partners: Utilities have adopted an integrated platform to partner with their customers to be more efficient with water, gas, and electricity usage.
  • From monthly interaction to proactive notifications: Utilities have become more proactive in reaching out to their customers before customers contact their utility. They do this for outage notices, billing notices, service notices, as well as program and rebate information.
  • From one-way communication to multi-channel communication: Utility-customer contact point has changed from a paper monthly bill to an improved multi-channel communication system.
  • From simple messaging to personalized messaging: Utility customers demand a better experience on par with other providers. There has been a major shift in the way utilities interact with the customers. Messaging has become more focused, more targeted, and personalized to build a lifelong relationship.
  • Millennials are more than happy to have energy and water information at their fingertips. The same customers who stood in line to pay their bills now pay using a single click on their mobile application. The smart intelligence tools give them more control over their energy and water consumption; helping to make them an ‘energy and water responsible citizens’. Many who were ‘energy and water customers’ once, are now ‘energy and water experts’ and are evangelizing the digital efforts of their utility. This transformation would not have been possible if the utilities were not ambitious in their digital goals. “Smart” is the word we stumble upon in all aspects of the utility industry; from smart grids, to smart meters, to smart analytics, to smart cities. The transformation has led to a change in utilities’ business models and moved them toward being a ‘smart utility’.