We are on the verge of extraordinary changes in the generation, transmission, distribution and use of electricity. The rapid growth and reduced cost of distributed energy resources, combined with the grid’s increasing ability to provide two-way flows of power and information, are creating a paradigm shift in our industry. Technology is enabling more meaningful opportunities to collaborate with our 5.8 million customers to optimize the entire electric system.
Such collaboration can create significant leaps forward for energy conservation and efficiency, relieve system constraints, optimize system assets and reduce costs. It will improve system reliability and increase the security of the grid. It will help to predict problems, take steps to avoid them, and minimize their impacts. And it will produce significant environmental benefits.
Our customers want cleaner energy and more control over their electricity usage. We want to work closely with our customers and to get more value from our capital assets and operating systems. The system that we envision will enable us to work together with our customers to accomplish these objectives and more, creating benefits for all.
We are making substantial changes to take full advantage of this opportunity. These include:
- Shifting to a cleaner, more balanced resource portfolio.
- Innovating and making the necessary investments in our transmission and distribution systems so that they can enable this collaboration.
- Working to organize distributed energy resources to act as a virtual power plant to meet energy needs during peak demand periods.
An interactive and enabling grid is consistent with our determination to foster a customer-centric culture and to dramatically improve the customer experience. To collaborate with our customers, we must provide them with tools to customize and control their use of energy, along with the incentive of reducing costs by doing so.
We are investing in smart technologies, for example, to make it easier for customers to monitor, manage and pay for the electricity they use and to interact with us in new ways. We are taking advantage of the Internet of Things, to enable us to signal to smart appliances the best and least costly times to turn up or down or to tell electric vehicles the best times to charge.
While this transformation presents extraordinary opportunities for innovation and growth, it also carries risk and responsibility. The traditional utility business model doesn’t accommodate much of this new paradigm. We are working with policymakers, regulators, customers, investors and other stakeholders to adapt our business model to take full advantage of this paradigm shift.