The Utility Regulator: Your Future BFFPosted to Utility 2030 Collaborative
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- May 11, 2021 5:40 pm GMTMay 11, 2021 5:55 pm GMT
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In highly regulated industries, head butting between company leaders and regulators isn’t unusual. After all, regulators are the rule makers and enforcers–if utilities mess up, they can hand down a variety of consequences that usually hit utilities where it hurts most, the bottom line.
These relationship dynamics can make transformation initiatives especially nerve-wracking for utilities. But there are real-world examples proving this doesn’t have to be the case, and it’s time to talk about them. Although important, it’s not just to reduce workplace stress. Utility transformation must happen faster than ever before, so no one really has time to work through regulation-related missteps that can be avoided by getting the right information upfront. And that information is exactly what your regulators can offer. The key is to start leveraging them as a critical resource, to provide “guard rails” for decisions based on what they’ve learned from other situations.
This is a topic that cross-industry panelists discussed during a recent PowerSession hosted by Energy Central and the Utility 2030 Collaborative, “Innovating in a Highly Regulated Environment: Part 2 – Playing Nice with Regulators.” Moderated by James Riley from Appos Advisors, session panelists included:
Katy Cook, Director of Customer Experience, Liberty Utilities;
- Upendra Chivukula, Commissioner, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities;
- Glen Spry, CEO & President, SensorSuite Inc.; and
- Skip Williams, Chief Medical Officer, Quantaira Health.
Key questions posed by Mr. Riley included:
What is the nature of utility regulation, and how do regulators know if they have been successful?
- Can, and should, utilities focus on the Research & Development of new technologies, or are others better placed to do that?
- Other than staying out of trouble, are there good reasons to build proactive and collaborative relationships with regulators?
- Just how similar are the goals of technology companies, utilities, and regulators? Could it be that collaboration is key to leveraging technology to achieve those goals?
Get Access to Part 1
If you missed part one of this two-part series, Algonquin Power & Utilities, Duquesne Light, Tesla, and a communications professional provided important insights on innovation, including:
It is possible (and proven) to successfully innovate in highly regulated environments;
- Innovation is more science than art, and we must understand the science, including identifying a series of critical success factors for innovation like creating safe spaces to innovate; and
- Innovators must determine the value of innovation and communicate it effectively to different stakeholders.
We also heard from a former Tesla executive who said that when your customers have certain expectations, you don’t partner with an existing, auto insurance company, you build your own.
CLICK HERE to watch the replay of part one.
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