For this issue of our newsletter, we’ve compiled a group of articles that address industry trends and exciting new innovations.

This issue of “West News” highlights several new and exiting topics including grid modernization, electric vehicles, utility customer service and more!

Dear Clients and Friends,

As we begin spring, NHL and NBA playoffs are here and MLB regular season is underway. As the days get longer and business continues to pick up, we wanted to share some insights we have had since January. 

In this newsletter we discuss how utilities are evolving from a regulatory perspective including Grid Modernization and sustainable water efforts. The White House Water Summit, that took place on March 22nd, World Water Day, covered a number of topics through a series of panel discussions with actions detailed in a commitment memo where institutions and organizations delineated current and projected efforts. Another exciting announcement was the partnership between ComEd and American Water who plan to explore when and where utilities should open up their advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) platform to deliver additional customer and marketplace services. 

As the industry evolves, two articles look at the future state of utilities as they relate to fuses and call centers. With the influx of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), the distribution system is evolving in ways that may lead to significant changes in behavior. This change in behavior may change the level of fault current available that enables a fuse to run properly. Additionally, as technology transforms the way customers interact with utilities, we are seeing more and more of a customer population who like a digital only customer channel for their utility interaction.  These users like to access their account through the web and mobile apps to see account status, pay their bill, receive real-time text updates on outages and events, and get usage insights through email with proactive communications that are being provided through various digital channels.  This group does not consider a phone call as convenient or easy.  In this article we explore the evolution of our call centers to proactive digital channels that proactively interact with a larger portion of the utility customer base than our call centers do today.

Closing out the newsletter we take a look at the emergence of electric vehicles and the impact the associated charging infrastructure will have on the business model of today’s utilities. The long anticipated longer range and cost effective electric vehicles are upon us with the new Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3.  This article explores the rollout of public charging stations and what role local business partners, like utilities, might play in creating a more comprehensive charging network. I hope you find this edition of our newsletter helpful and informative. We welcome your feedback, questions, and suggestions on topics that you would like us to cover in this forum.

Best regards,

Tom Hulsebosch
Managing Director - Energy & Utilities