Digital transformation in utilities did not exactly start early on. It is facing a lot of challenges. But the sector is already doing much effort to catch up to others. What is it doing today? Let us see in this article.
Digital Transformation in Utilities: Challenges
Digital transformation in utilities is facing a lot of challenges. The sector has always been slow in adopting new technologies. And it is often deemed to be conservative. Also, the sector largely uses old-fashioned technologies and equipment. This is due to the sector’s focus on reliability and safety.
Smart meters are already in use in the sector. But they are still used for just billing purposes. They are not being used for two-way communication or advanced analyses.
Moreover, the sector is facing regulations that do not allow for too much digitization. Also, energy companies are stuck with legacy systems that do not make it easy for them to adopt newer technologies and methods. As a result, these problems are holding back the sector from becoming digitalized as fast as others.
Digital Transformation in Utilities: What Can it Do Now?
Despite these challenges, there are still many things that utilities can do to digitize their operations. This is so because they need to improve their operational efficiency and be more competitive in the market today.
The first thing they can do is to look at their existing assets and infrastructure more critically. Then, they can check if they are still able to deliver reliable power at affordable rates. If not, they need to replace them with newer equipment and methods that can do better than before. Replacing old equipment will also help them be more efficient and cost-effective when operating their services.
Next, what they can do is to look at how they operate daily. Then, they can see where they can cut costs, reduce losses, and improve efficiency through automation and digitization. There could be a lot of activities that could be automated or digitized right now to improve performance today. These include meter reading, data collection, billing management, etc. The data collected from such activities can be used for analytics and predictive maintenance. Thus, this will help them improve performance even more effectively than before without additional costs or expenses.
Last, what utilities should do is develop a firm digital strategy. They need one so they can plan effectively how they will adopt new technologies and practices into their operations. Also, they need a clear vision of how the new technologies will work with their existing ones for maximum operational improvement. Further, they also need this so they can assess their readiness as well as the risks involved with adopting new technologies. Of course, the strategy should also include their plans for ensuring the security of their systems.
As you can see, there are many things that the utility sector can do in its digital transformation. The good thing is, many in the sector are already doing so. If more and more will jump into this train, then the sector can catch up to others in no time.