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Utilities Focused on Grid Modernization: Survey

May 23, 2019
96% of survey participants feel that utilities are taking proactive steps to achieve their vision.

BRIDGE Energy Group (BRIDGE)’s 2019 BRIDGE Index Utility Industry survey has found that companies are overwhelmingly focused on grid modernization, and are in some cases complying with regulatory norms before deadline. 

While the survey, titled An Industry in Transformation – Business and Complianceshows that participants are at different stages of the transformation maturity model, many continue to move beyond just contemplating changes, and are now taking action supported by substantive investments in capability, infrastructure, and talent. Among the survey respondents, 85% agreed that their organization has a clear vision. Nearly all (96%) agreed that they are taking proactive steps to achieve their vision.

The positive steps also extend toward keeping the grid protected from hackers, as expected outcomes from the implementation of new NERC CIP supply-chain regulations will improve visibility into vendor risks and vulnerabilities. Among the survey respondents, 39% see a reduced risk of compromise via a supply chain partner.

Survey results show 55% of utilities occasionally or never depend on regulatory directions for key decision-making.

“For the vast majority, there is agreement that there is a clear vision for the organization and that the vision is being executed,” said Hugo van Nispen, CEO, BRIDGE. “However, most do not view their utility as leading the industry in operational transformation. Utilities should ensure their vision includes out-of-the box thinking about what is truly needed to address the changes in customer expectations, business models, and workforce technology.”

“The integration of transmission and distribution business operations is expected to increase significantly in the next three years,” said Michelle Fay, vice president, Success Enablement, BRIDGE. “Ultimately, the successful merger of what have been siloed operations will hinge upon industry lessons learned, effective change management, and a more holistic approach to security planning.”

The 2019 BRIDGE Index Utility Industry survey also throws a caution flag. Only 43% of survey respondents felt that grid modernization is viewed as a transformational initiative sponsored at the highest levels of the organization.

“For a significant number of utilities, grid modernization efforts are still siloed in a particular portion of the organization and, as such, are not as transformational as they could be. To achieve the maximum business value envisioned in many of these projects, greater crossfunctional buyin to a more robust grid modernization strategy is needed,” Fay added.

Now in its eighth consecutive year, the BRIDGE Index survey provides objective, research-driven insights into current and future priorities across a broad cross-section of North American utility decision-makers.

Download the results of the 2019 BRIDGE Index An Industry in Transformation – Business and Compliance here.

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