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Trends in Utilities and Marcomms

In the last B’s Notions, I spent some time exploring the enormous changes going on in the telecommunications industry; this week I am turning my attentions to a sister industry – electric utility. Just as the telecoms industry has seen major disruption over the past few years, so the electric utility industry is facing significant challenges in an ever-changing playing field. One of the key trends impacting this industry is the increasing adoption of energy storage.

So what’s behind this trend? For one thing, since 2010, the cost of batteries has dropped by more than 50%. But there have also been other technological developments such as pumped hydro-electric systems and underground compressed air-storage. As this report from PWC’s Strategy& Arm explains, the huge value of energy storage is its ability to provide energy at a moment’s notice – something that is of increasing importance as the aging infrastructure of the current energy grid often struggles to maintain supply in the face of extreme conditions such as hurricanes, snowstorms and floods.

Increasingly this means utilities companies are looking to gain their slice of energy storage share but the path forward is not necessarily a straightforward one. With various strategic options available (ownership, pay-per-need and third party incentives) as well as regulatory demands (the PUC in California requires utilities to purchase an amount of energy storage capacity within very specific parameters), this is where a communications plan can play a vital role.

With so much at stake, and as the energy storage market becomes increasingly competitive, utilities are under pressure to act quickly. Getting input from key stakeholders – and with California as an example, all regulators – is a key first step. Working with a marketing and communications partner such as ARTEMIA can help ensure the right questions are asked, that all feedback is captured, analyzed and reported back within a structured format. Within such a complex outreach program, it’s important to build in regular review sessions so that key concerns are quickly surfaced, and long term threats identified. Successful change management through clear, concise information sharing (for all key audiences and levels) can help keep the company unified in a single vision.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you navigate change in the utilities industry, as ever, please get in touch.

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