A Shift in Focus: The Impetus on Utility Companies to Save, Not Only Sell
- Sep 19, 2018 2:14 pm GMTSep 19, 2018 2:14 pm GMT
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Within the utility provider sector, there has been a longstanding initiative to help homeowners and business leaders understand ways they can power their homes more effectively. For decades, the act of selling has taken center stage as the primary aim of this industry as experts seek to keep it afloat, especially amid the rising popularity of renewable energy alternatives.
Yet, as we move closer to a future fueled by these renewable resources, utility providers remain the key touchpoint between consumers and the energy they consume. As such, they can play a vital role in encouraging them to take more eco-conscious routes, such as considering solar or wind power alternatives. This means there is now a definitive shift in focus for utility professionals, as they become not only focused on selling energy but saving it as well.
At the onset, considering this scenario can seem almost counterintuitive. After all, isn’t electricity the bread and butter of the utility sector? If so, why would its cheerleaders also be championing the idea of selling less of it? The answer lies in understanding the underlying transition that is taking place in today’s society. According to data from Pew Research, 65% of Americans would like to see priority given to developing alternative energy resources, compared to only 27% who would like to see production ramped up on fossil fuel sources. There is a desire within much of our population to make the change, though most Americans remain in the dark on ways to truly do so.
That’s where the modern utility provider comes in. The answer lies not in selling less energy, but in helping consumers understand that cleaner, lower-emission alternatives are available. Across the country, leaders in this industry are making substantial and significant investments in solar and wind resources to offer today’s more forward-focused customer base. While encouraging them to make the switch away from traditional fossil fuels may affect bottom line numbers in the short-term, the change is a needed and expected one that is required to help positively alter the state of current energy consumption as we know it.
Moving forward, today’s utility provider will be less concerned with selling as much energy as possible and instead, focused on finding and providing ways for consumers to conserve as possible on their usage levels and save money on their monthly bill. This may mean encouraging them to purchase more energy-efficient appliances, change out their old light bulbs for LED ones, turn off the lights when they’re not in use, using a programmable thermostat, and more.
At the end of the day, until solar and wind become household names as energy solutions, simply cutting back on our current use is the most effective means of conservation. As such, while utility providers can explain the benefits of these alternatives, the primary focus should be on prioritizing energy efficiency above all. As more homeowners find pockets of places to make the change, the overall result could be astounding.
How This Affects Policymaking
To ensure that utility providers can still earn a living, there must also be a change in how those in charge of policymaking determine rates. After all, maintaining and upkeeping the electric grid does not come free of charge, and these companies must be able to continue making a profit to ensure against costly and detrimental downtime.
On their end, utility providers will be tasked with helping to ensure that any homeowner, regardless of income level, is able to comfortably and conveniently make the switch to a more energy-efficient home. While this is a challenge, rising to meet it can ensure that providers, shareholders and consumers alike all benefit in the long-term.
As we move forward, other arenas in which utility providers can play a helping role include supporting local renewable resources, such as nuclear power plants, as well as catalyzing the electrification of the automobile industry, which currently stands as the top producer of greenhouse gases across the nation.
As such, making investments in not only renewable energy alternatives but also side pursuits such as an EV-charging infrastructure, can help our country slowly turn away from 20th-century processes toward a more sustainable, green future. Utility providers are in the unique position of facilitating this switch and watching history take place in the meantime. It’s a valuable spot to be in, with an exciting future to boot.