This is Part 3 of the Network Integrator Journey. Part 3 discusses the planning framework to help utilities on their journey from a standard distribution company to that of a network integrator.
We have developed the Network Integrator Planning Framework to help utilities on their journey from a standard utility distribution company to that of a Network Integrator. This framework is designed to address key management challenges and risks and to guide the organization through a successful implementation.
Hi, I’m Tood Durocher and welcome to part 3 of our network integrator series.
It seems that flexibility is a core requirement for network integrators. How do we adjust our planning frameworks to improve business flexibility?
As utilities go through the transformation to a network integrator. They need to adopt their strategic planning cycle. They need to incorporate things like advance scenario planning, where they include scenarios both within and external to their their utility model and to the way they traditionally done it. They also need to incorporate more players and more groups into this planning. By going deeper in this organization. As well as expending out to other industry leaders and other markets as well as other countries. They also need to incorporate measures in KPI into this not just about the strategic measures of how they obtaining or obtaining their strategy but also looking at the market as a whole to see if the paste of change is what they expected or if it’s going faster or slower based on regulatory pressure based on other technology trends or other external factors.
What about utilities that have already begun the transformation, for example by incorporating distributed energy resources into grid?
So as we see utilities go through this planning exercise and pushing down business strategies as their target operating models. One of the question that were getting ask is how do we do as a cross enterprise. We’re seeing utilities is take that strategic plan turn into an operating model but not just focus on cooperation or the traditional poles and wire business. We’re seeing that strategic vision being push all the way back office function such as IT, HR, parliament supply change so that all areas across the enterprise are reliant to that common business strategic.
What would you say are some key attributes of the network integrator operating model?
The focus of the network integrator model in my mind l is really specific to becoming the hub of the network. Now while traditionally utilities and regulating utilities were the hub of the network it was a network were they own a operating all the access and where the customers receive power from them. As we see this transform we now see where customers are contributing to distributing generation power on to the network where new products and services companies are offering their products to customers of the utility and where the communication process has changed through smart mediocre and smart grid. So in the future what we see is that the network integrator/utility becomes the distribution system demo orator where they become the hub not only of the power distributing and of the network operation but also where they become the hub of operations, data as well support outage management. Further we see that there focus and how the operate becomes much more operating align in a network. , where their more people and more communications and more parties at the table. So like in a traditional outage we will see a utility operate the outage, talk to their people bring crews were everyone operate within the utility confines. In the future with the various products and services in technology they distribute generation. In the future like storage what we will see is that the utility will need to bring together partners and other participants to control the outage as well to insure safety for all workers for working at the outage.
Are there other key ways that the network integrator planning model differs from the traditional distribution planning model?
As utilities invest in asset and infrastructure improvements in order to evolve to the network in a greater model significant investment capital expenditures are likely and therefore a new model to pay for this investments is required. One thing that we see as a potential change that working with the Network Integrator model is the change-in-rate structures. Moving away from a consumption base rate structure for customers to more of a connection to access fees to be charge to make sure that all this capital cost are able to be recovered. All of this requires a renew focus on operation excellence execution so improvements and investments and things like working access management , customers experience, systems, and other operation technologies will enable utilities to further their evolution towards the network integrator model. This will allow them to continue to meet increasing customers’ demands satisfied shareholder and stakeholder demands and continue to adapt and respond to an increasing disruptive market.