Electric Utilities Must Adapt to the Future

Piedmont 10.8.13  (34)

A message from R.G. Brecheisen, President & CEO of Piedmont Electric

The electric industry is often compared with the telecom industry, which faced huge challenges as political circumstances and new technologies, like the Internet and cellular devices, changed the landscape of their business. Just like the telecom industry had to adapt to survive, so too will electric utilities need to adapt to new methods of energy generation, distribution and consumption in the coming years. In this way we will become the “utility of the future.”

Technology improves and changes quickly, so it can be hard to predict the exact operations of the cooperative 10 to 20 years down the road. We do, however, monitor the development of our industry to stay on top of trends that could become game changers for electric utilities. This allows us to adjust and adapt our progression to the “utility of the future.”

Renewable energies connected to Piedmont Electric’s distribution system like solar, wind and biomass are incredibly popular in today’s energy landscape, and we believe that we will see growth in this sector in the future. Solar power and batteries are front-runners in member-generated energy. This type of distributive generation, located on the utility distribution system, is very different from historical electrical utility models where electricity is flowing in one direction from one source.

Beyond energy generation, distribution and consumption of energy will also be radically different a decade from today. As we all become more interconnected with smart phones and online applications, it will be more important than ever for Piedmont Electric to offer resources that allow our members to invest in systems that control their energy consumption from a variety of devices. As the power grid becomes more connected, it will also be important to secure our network from hackers and others with malicious intent.

Piedmont Electric predicts a higher reliance on the electric utility of the future. With the rise of information technology and the adoption of electric vehicles, having a stable and reliable electric grid is even more essential to our members. We are committed to allowing this cooperative to grow and adapt to meet your needs, without sacrificing the democratic control and impact to the community that have been so successful. Rest assured, the “utility of the future” will stand cooperative strong.