The Network Integrator Journey Part 2- Management Challenges Facing Network Integrators that utility and energy industry leaders are increasingly evaluating this evolution from and enterprise business value viewpoint.
Utility and energy industry leaders are increasingly evaluating this evolution from an enterprise business value viewpoint. The characteristics of the Network Integrator are distinctly different from the traditional distribution company and require new thinking.
Joel Schmidt (Vice President-Regulatory Affairs): Alliant Energy is an energy services company serving the upper Midwest primarily Owen Wisconsin with over 1 million customers.
We are vertically integrated and own our generation and transmission systems but are transmission dependent, were as we pass on our transmission cost to our customers. For the past decade, we have been evolving our generation fleet to be cleaner and more efficient on behalf of our customers, at the same time we have been balancing low to flat sales grow and have balanced this transition for the benefit of our customers.
We look forward to the opportunity this new energy future will provide for our customers and stand ready to provide energy services well into the future.
Question: How does the network integrator model differ from the traditional distribution utility model?
Joel Schmidt: I’ve been in the industry over 30 years um 20 almost 29 years here at Alliant Energy and I think we’ve always been on this journey of continuous improvement to our processes, integrating technology, and providing better more resilient energy services to our customers.
That being said the pace of change that were going through right now with customer expectations and technology is so much swifter than anything I have experienced in the past or that we have experienced or addressed as a company. The past decade we’ve spent transitioning from our fossil fueled generation base to a huge supplement of wind and some customer owned generation as well as gas um facilities this is exciting for our customers. At the same time we had the advent of the competitive whole sale markets which allowed us to quickly flow these benefits through to our customers and take advantage of some regional changes and other things again to benefit our customers as we move to this cleaner more resilient energy system.
I think the primary drivers can be put into two categories, external and internal. First from the external perspective we had move by customers demanding having higher expectations, being more engaged with their energy suppliers some to the point of self-providing some of those services we also had huge changes on the technology front which allowed us to do diff things differently um and provide a more clean resilient energy infrastructure for our customers. Internally we had to embrace this changing environment and with thoughtfulness but yet a sense of urgency we were able to provide better services to our customers and I can believe we will be successful on this journey going forward.
Question: This seems like a major shift. What are some of the challenges and ways to overcome them?
Joel Schmidt: The biggest challenge to energy service providers like ourselves is embracing new reality of many more players in our market place in our processes, be that new regulatory processes customers having different options different ways to engage with us as well as technology, so we have different partners we have different competitors and we have a much different customer expectation. We have been successful by embracing and engaging with all these new participants.
Question: How does this transitions impact existing businesses and financial planning frameworks?
Joel Schmidt: This is an exciting time there are a lot of customer opportunities in front of us and we need to embrace the customers and the technology in other environmental changes to have success for our customers. Tools such as The Network Integrator Journey series are very helpful for us as we work our way down this journey and provide success for our customers.
Question: Are there other risks we need to be cognizant of?
Joel Schmidt: The biggest risk we face is meeting the evolving customer expectations and embracing the realities of a new market place and regulatory process we will continue to be successful if we embrace these realities and provide the customer solutions that are expected by our customers in a timely, efficient, and clean manner.