Innovation: the key to success
BY PHILL FELTHAM, Executive Editor
Electricity Today Magazine
The ice storm that paralyzed many U.S. and Canadian communities this past December revealed many weak spots in utility operations—particularly in outage response procedures. Now that the worst is over and lights are back on, utilities are asking, “What can we do differently?” The answer to this question is twofold. First, modernizing the power grid is top priority. Second, to modernize the power grid effectively, utilities need to foster a “culture of innovation for grid modernization”.
Innovation is the key ingredient to grid modernization. Utilities who are not afraid to explore new ideas and methods to improve power system reliability and customer satisfaction as well as streamline work procedures have a greater chance for success. Fear, one of the major obstacles to innovation, can be greatly reduced through education and knowledge.
Electricity Today Magazine is presenting its first-ever T&D Utility Innovation for Grid Modernization Forum, a forum designed to help utilities foster a culture of innovation for grid modernization. We shape this culture of “innovation for grid modernization” from four different tiers: technology, utility programs, best practices, and regulatory frameworks.
TIER 1 – TECHNOLOGY
Technology helps streamline work procedures and improve communications with customers and field workers. This forum focuses on innovative Smart Grid technologies and highlights how these new technologies operate through workshops and demonstrations. Utilities who want to improve their crisis response and to discover efficient methods to manage their data will benefit from this forum.
TIER 2 – UTILITY PROGRAMS
Many utilities have rolled out new programs utilizing platforms such as social media to communicate with their customers or assist customers to become more energy efficient. We have invited utilities who have already designed and implemented successful utility programs to share their success stories and learning experiences with presentations, demonstrations, and workshops.
TIER 3 – BEST PRACTICES
One of the best ways to foster a culture of innovation for grid modernization is through the sharing of ideas and experiences. The T&D Utility Innovation for Grid Modernization Forum presents utilities, vendors, municipalities, and industry with a platform to share lessons learned, best practices, case studies, and success stories that can help attendees learn from past mistakes and benefit from the experiences of their peers. This forum will illustrate how failures led to success.
TIER 4 – REGULATORY
Sometimes regulation can stand in the way of innovation. We are out to prove the opposite. From a regulatory perspective, we look at the state of the Canadian power industry, the need for utilities to embrace a culture of innovation for grid modernization, and how this can be achieved. Furthermore, we will arm utilities with the knowledge on how they can adjust to an ever changing and evolving marketplace.