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Technology is eclipsing competition as the single biggest transformational force affecting customer relations for power utility companies. It’s shifting customer expectations of what to expect from companies. The online experiences customers are becoming used to in areas such as retailing, travel and media are setting a new norm, raising the standards expected for baseline aspects of a utility’s operations such as metering, billing, payment and outages. And, when combined with developments in device and building automation as well as energy management, this is opening up new opportunities for customer service, added value and new business streams.
In the future, regardless of competition, the challenge will come from customers having less need of traditional utility companies for their power. In the past, only big industrial customers were likely to develop their own energy solutions. Now that ability is extending to many more customers. The double whammy of transformation coming from both digital technology and power technology amounts to one thing – empowerment of the customer, whether it is business or residential customers.