Building the digitally powered utility of the future - An Australian perspective

Building the digitally powered utility of the future - An Australian perspective
the digitally
powered utility
of the future
An Australian perspective
Building the digitally powered utility of the future - An Australian perspective
Is your business fit
                                                                                       for a digital world?

                                                                                       Imagine the future
                                                                                       What might the energy industry look
                                                                                       like in the future? Will it be just a more
                                                                                       efficient version of today’s model or will
                                                                                       radical disruption force energy players to
                                                                                       reinvent themselves? How can they create
                                                                                       a digitally-powered utility to capture new
                                                                                       opportunities and drive productivity?
                                                                                       For today’s energy companies, who are facing sweeping industry
                                                                                       changes, standing still is not an option. Their traditional
                                                                                       industry model is being turned upside down. Electricity and gas
                                                                                       companies face a range of new and complex demands forcing
                                                                                       a need to rethink their traditional business models.

1   | Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective
Building the digitally powered utility of the future - An Australian perspective
A changing customer                                    is disrupting the traditional energy value              Growing stakeholder expectations
Influenced by digital experiences in                   chain. According to the Australian Energy               Utilities need to meet higher demands
other industries, today’s customer is                  Council, Australia has the world’s highest              from better informed stakeholders.
informed, connected and accustomed                     rate of household solar panel installation              Regulatory scrutiny has increased,
to high quality, personalised and on-                  at 15%1 and the deployment of battery                   consumer pressure over rising retail
demand service. As a result, customers                 storage is expected to rapidly increase                 prices is growing, environmental
are demanding a radically new level of                 as technology matures and costs come                    demands are tougher and shareholders
experience from their energy providers.                down. These technologies are not only                   expect better performance amid volatile
The relatively large share of household                completely changing how our energy                      economic conditions. Energy players
and business spend for these services                  is generated and managed, but also                      need to be increasingly commercially-
is also driving customers to take a more               ushering in a range of new competitors                  minded if they are to grow new
active role in conserving and generating               and altering how customers interact                     sustainable revenue and fine-tune their
energy. Customers are becoming energy                  with energy suppliers.                                  business performance.
producers and managers, representing
                                                       Ageing infrastructure and workforce                     A new competitive market
a powerful shift that will prompt
                                                       In the face of rising energy prices, today’s            Energy players of the future will need to
today’s utilities to re-examine their role
                                                       utilities are being challenged to increase              respond quickly, not only to disruptions
if they are to avoid becoming mere
                                                       performance and optimise capital                        in technology, but also from aggressive
infrastructure providers. Meanwhile,
                                                       expenditure by safely extending the life                new market entrants. Industries such
consumer behaviours are changing as
                                                       of older generation, transmission and                   as communications, broadcasting,
the millennial generation of digital natives
                                                       distribution assets. This requires a new                healthcare, transportation and hospitality
enters its prime spending years. Meeting
                                                       and more innovative approach to drive                   have already been turned upside down
these new expectations in a digital world
                                                       asset performance — leveraging data and                 by companies such as Netflix, Airbnb
will be critical if energy players are to
                                                       insights to make real-time optimisation                 and Uber who have taken the concept
survive and thrive.
                                                       decisions. At the same time, the impact                 of leveraging under-utilised capacity
A collision of technologies                            of technology, particularly on customer                 and new delivery platforms into the
A combination of new digital technologies,             service and security, is disrupting the                 mass market. These competitors are
such as big data, mobility, the Internet               skills needed in the workforce of today’s               also using digital channels to quickly
of Things (IoT), smart meters and smart                energy company, just as many utilities                  lower costs to serve and enable new
grids, are quickly transforming how                    workers near retirement age. In this new                product offerings. The emergence of
assets and operational processes can                   digital world, knowledge needs to be                    technologies that enable peer-to-peer
be managed. In parallel, new energy                    strategically managed and be effectively                sharing and the production and storage
technologies are enabling commercial                   transferred to the next generation of                   of distributed energy may see this type
adoption of distributed generation that                digitally savvy workers.                                of new model rolled out even faster. New
                                                                                                               digital capabilities and the ability to adapt
                                                                                                               quickly will be critical to successfully
                                                                                                               compete in this new distributed market.

1. Source: Renewable energy in Australia — how do we really compare? — Australia Energy Council, June 2016

                                                                                Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective |   2
Building the digitally powered utility of the future - An Australian perspective
Utilities must                                          • Adaptive: Innovation and agility
                                                          will be critical to the success of
                                                                                                      A cornerstone of this change will be their
                                                                                                      ability to leverage digital technology

adapt quickly                                             the utility of the future. Businesses
                                                          must be looking ahead to predict
                                                                                                      which can help them to:
                                                                                                      1. Redefine the customer relationship,
These factors have already changed the                    unknown disruption and seize                   understand customers, compete at
landscape in which energy utilities operate               business opportunities. They will              the right cost and provide innovative
and grow new revenue. There is limited                    need new commercial and innovation             products and services that their
time for the steady incremental evolution                 skills to enable them to react nimbly,         customers want.
that has defined the energy industry’s                    make smarter decisions and even be
regulated history. Market players will be                 prepared to fail fast.                      2. Build a more intelligent network
under increasing pressure to adapt quickly                                                               that improves operational efficiency,
                                                        • Automated: Utilities will need to adopt        reduces the need to fund additional
by adopting new digital capabilities and a
                                                          a production line approach and operate         infrastructure and enables a better
more agile commercial mindset.
                                                          with simplicity, scale and speed to drive      customer experience.
The utility of the future will need to be:                productivity and reduce costs. They
                                                          will need to embrace new technologies       3. Engage and empower the workforce
• Customer-centric: It’s time to move
                                                          such as robotics, IoT and big data to          to cultivate an entrepreneurial culture,
  the focus from managing assets and
                                                          transform the way they deliver services.       increase digital readiness and improve
  connecting homes to truly enhancing
                                                                                                         safety and productivity.
  the energy customer experience.                       • Performance focused: Energy
                                                          players must align all capabilities and     4. Ensure the sustainability of our
• Hyper-connected: Utilities will need
                                                          processes around a clear business              energy supply through enhanced
  to build an integrated and secure
                                                          purpose and prioritise investments with        environmental performance and
  ecosystem that leverages digital
                                                          a laser focus on end-to-end, quantified        enable an efficient and flexible
  intelligence to integrate information
                                                          business outcomes.                             distributed energy value chain.
  about its workforce, assets and
  customers and enable “always on”                                                                    5. Strengthen the security and privacy
  functionality.                                                                                         of customer, network and employee
                                                       The hyper-connected                               information to mitigate growing risks
• Proactive and predictive: Utilities
  must take on a new proactive approach                utility of the future                             in a digital world.

  enabled by better use of digital                      Adopting these capabilities will require
  technologies and data insights to drive               today’s energy utilities to rethink and
  the optimum productivity of assets,                   re-imagine their ‘future ways of working’.
  operations and customer service.

The EY Digital Australia: State of the Nation 2015-16 research
paints a powerful picture of how digital, within just a few years, has
made an impact on almost all aspects of Australians’ daily life:


                                                                  6 in 10                                 More than a     third
                                                                                                          of Australians have engaged
      of Australians prefer to
                                                                  smartphone users have                   with companies on social
      make transactions over
                                                                  more than ten apps on                   media
      the internet than by
                                                                  their phone
      phone or face-to-face

3   | Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective
Building the digitally powered utility of the future - An Australian perspective
Digital change has started                             So what’s the game                                      Utilities will need to master many of these
                                                                                                               technologies and trends in parallel if they
Some global utilities are already                      changer?                                                are to achieve real breakthroughs. This
heeding the call from customers and                                                                            means developing new capabilities that
                                                       Digital integration
investing in a better digital experience.                                                                      will allow them to operate and compete in
                                                       Many aspects of today’s digital life,
EY’s Digital Readiness Index sees the                                                                          a digital world.
                                                       such as social media, the cloud and
power and utilities industry investing
                                                       mobility have been around for some                      Let’s imagine a world where successful
in capabilities and in some markets
                                                       time. However the game changer is                       energy companies are bold, nimble,
ranking above average in digital maturity,
                                                       the collision of these established                      ambitious and customer-focused. Let’s
with utility companies in the Asia-Pacific
                                                       digital technologies with a raft of newer               use digital to help make this vision a
region ranking particularly high in
                                                       technologies, such as Geographic                        reality and build the hyper-connected
digital readiness.
                                                       Information Systems (GIS), big data, IoT,               utility of the future.
While this improvement is encouraging,                 augmented reality, robotics and artificial
it is clear that energy players have                   intelligence. This is driving the ability to
more work to do in leveraging the                      radically rethink complex challenges in                “The danger is to think that
pervasiveness and power of digital                     ways unimaginable in the past.                          a new digital world is just
technology if they are to compete and
adapt to change. An intelligent and
                                                       Changing demands on energy players                      about the technology. The
                                                       have created a compelling reason to
integrated approach to holistically
                                                       innovate. Utility companies are starting                real challenge is to identify
transform business practices will be
critical to doing so successfully. Too many
                                                       to adopt innovations from adjacent                      high value areas to digitally
                                                       industries such as telecommunications,
organisations on this journey have found
                                                       aviation, oil and gas and defence to                    innovate and create
out the hard way that this is not about
developing a cool app or a new website.
                                                       become more connected and intelligently                 breakthrough experiences
                                                       manage customers, assets and services.
Rather, true digital innovation must be
                                                       They are also using digitally enabled                   for customers.”
embedded with a utility’s overall strategy
                                                       crowd sourcing of ideas to accelerate                    Stuart Hartley, Asia-Pacific and Digital
and DNA if it is to be sustainable and add
                                                       innovation.                                              Power & Utilities Advisory Leader, EY
genuine value both to customers and to
the organisation.

Digital intelligence driven by integrated
data will be the key competitive

Digital is also changing Australians’                                                                              1% of what could be
expectations of their energy providers:                                                                            connected in the world
                                                                                                                   actually is…

                                                                                                                    internet connected
                                                                                                                    “things” by 2020*
                                                                                                                    including sensors,
                                                                                                                    RFID chips, etc.3

17%          of consumers                            More half     than                                            52% digital
say that energy companies                            (55%) of those surveyed would
offer the nation’s least                             consider accessing real-time
engaging digital experience2                         energy usage information and                                  has demolished 52% of the
                                                     conservation tips from their
                                                                                                                   Fortune 500 since 20004
                                                     energy supplier2

2. EY Digital Australia Omnibus 2015-16, EY, 2016.
3. Source: The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of the Internet Is Changing Everything, Cisco, April 2011.
4. Source: Research Summary: Sneak Peeks From Constellation’s Futurist Framework And 2014 Outlook On Digital Disruption, Constellation Research website,, 18 February 2014.

                                                                                Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective |   4
Building the digitally powered utility of the future - An Australian perspective
What will the digitally powered utility
of the future look like?

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5   | Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective
Building the digitally powered utility of the future - An Australian perspective
Redefine the                                            Customers have made it clear that,
                                                        while they are increasingly cost-conscious               “The future will be here
customer                                                — and better informed of the best deals —
                                                        winning their business requires far more                  faster than we expect.
relationship                                            than just offering the lowest price. In fact,
                                                        energy customers are willing to pay more
                                                                                                                  Digital innovation is
                                                        to get the right services delivered in the                already allowing us
Imagine if utilities could                              right way, with the right advice about                    to re-imagine how to
deepen their engagement                                 usage, disruptions and service.
                                                                                                                  respond to these types
with customers to better                                 Attracting and retaining these domestic
                                                         and business customers presents                          of challenges in many
meet their needs, lower
costs and dramatically
                                                         a more complex proposition. The                          other industries — and
                                                         implication for utilities is that forming
increase business                                        a better relationship with customers                     we believe that it’s
                                                         and understanding their “moments that                    about to change the
                                                         matter” must become a core underlying
                                                         capability. That relationship needs to                   energy industry as well.”
The customer is fast becoming more                       be built on applying understanding and                    Jenny Young, Oceania Customer Leader, EY
energy conscious, connected and                          insight to generate value to the customer
demanding. The digitisation of almost                    so that the customer is encouraged
all facets of everyday life has redefined                to engage — otherwise it is just a
expectations around how people buy,                      transaction.
use and control services including
energy. They expect fast, accurate                       And a key element of building that
and personalised service wherever                        relationship will be the ability to deliver a
and however they want and new                            high quality, interactive and agile digital
technologies enable these interactions.                  experience. Almost half (45%)5 of those
Those days of passively waiting for the                  customers we surveyed said that firms
energy bill to arrive in the letterbox                   that fail to offer quality digital experience
are long over. In fact, more and more                    run the risk of losing them as a customer.
consumers are becoming “prosumers”                       As more and more digitally savvy
— becoming an integrated participant                     competitors enter the energy market,
in the market — by generating their                      this is a clarion call to utilities.
own energy to save money and taking
control of their energy management.

“There’s a general theme about the ‘prosumer’
— customers who are now absolutely in control of
 their customer experience and have the channels
 to be able to tell these larger corporations that they
 don’t like what they’re doing, they don’t like their                                                             45%          of customers said
                                                                                                                  that firms that fail to offer a
 customer service, they don’t like their values.                                                                  quality digital experience run
 And that’s very powerful.”                                                                                       the risk of losing them5
 Penny Gray, Group Manager — Product Development and Delivery, Origin Energy

5. EY Digital Australia: State of the Nation Report 2015-2016, EY, 2016.

                                                                                Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective |   6
Building the digitally powered utility of the future - An Australian perspective
Digital can help deliver                                             But the real benefit in offering customers     • Enable new breakthrough services
                                                                     a convenient and appealing experience            such as off-grid storage, solar
a better customer                                                    is its ability to help redefine the utility-     generation services and new electric
experience                                                           customer relationship. Digital gives             vehicle charging services.
                                                                     energy providers the tools they need
                                                                                                                    • Better predict and meet the urgent
Digital will unlock a two-way flow of                                to interact with customers in a different
                                                                                                                      needs of “at-risk” customers.
customer insights that, if harnessed,                                way. This allows the relationship to
can create a virtuous circle of value for                            move beyond satisfaction to enhanced           • Provide customer and usage insights
energy providers. Whilst it’s true that                              engagement that is a springboard to              that can be used to sustain competitive
our digitised world has created new                                  offering differentiated products and             prices and drive down the cost to
customer service challenges, it has also                             services in an increasingly competitive          manage assets and serve customers.
opened opportunities to improve upon                                 market. This will be critical to ongoing
                                                                                                                    • Support peer-to-peer trading.
those moments that matter to customers,                              success as the industry faces less growth
such as billing, moving and migrating                                prospects for traditional grid-supplied        While some utilities have begun building
to new services. Building this customer-                             electricity as energy efficiency improves      elements of a better digitally-enabled
focused culture, with the help of the right                          and customers find it increasingly feasible    customer experience, too many are
technology, will be essential if energy                              to adopt new ”off-grid” distributed energy     yet to execute digital in a strategic and
providers are to give customers the                                  solutions. Some areas where digital will       integrated way that differentiates them
experience they expect:                                              help transform the customer experience:        from competitors.
• Seamless integration of traditional and                           • Support value-based pricing and
  digital channels that allow a customer                              innovative energy aggregation                 “Utilities such as Enel in
  to engage when and how they want.                                   offerings.                                     Italy, Engie in France
• Self-service opportunities that are                               • Seamlessly facilitate customer                 and Centrica in the UK
  customised and low cost.                                            service including moves, billing and
                                                                      credit management.                             are capturing value in
• Information that is easy to access,
  understand and act on.                                            • Provide information and create                 competitive markets by
• Personalised and targeted product
                                                                      dialogue about new personalised                aggressively expanding
                                                                      energy offerings.
  and service offers that are relevant
                                                                                                                     new behind-the-meter
  and appealing.                                                    • Enable contestable metering
                                                                      services and energy solutions that help        services such as home
Many of these options will also allow
utilities to gather and predict customer
                                                                      customers manage their demand.                 energy management
behaviours that can help optimise
business costs by improving service
                                                                    • Develop new behind-the-meter                   and connected homes.”
                                                                      products and services that transform
levels, asset planning and driving                                    the home.                                     Matt Rennie, Global Power & Utilities
                                                                                                                    Transactions Advisory Services Leader and
operational efficiencies.                                                                                           Oceania Power & Utilities Leader, EY

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                          to                                       al ha                            using their utility for trade services while

                               se       ati                    i t
                                            o              i g           e
                                    r ve n      d ri ve s d n d b                                   nearly one-third would consider buying
                                                      usag e                                        home internet services from their utility6

6. EY Digital Australia Omnibus 2015-16, EY, 2016

7   | Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective
Building the digitally powered utility of the future - An Australian perspective
Build a more                                                processing software platforms can
                                                            make real-time remedial measures

intelligent network                                         to avoid technical losses.

                                                         3. Enhance productivity. Real-time
Imagine if utilities could                                  information about the status of assets,
                                                            field work and customer requirements
intelligently manage
                                                            can enable the accurate trade-off
their network and assets                                    between different network spend
for improved reliability
and efficiency.
                                                            decisions and lower infrastructure
                                                            and operating costs.                                   67%         of customers
                                                                                                                   surveyed said they would
                                                         4. Balance the grid. Digitally enabled
The increased emergence of advanced                         demand-side management solutions                       use online portals to report
digital technologies, such as smart                         such as reflective pricing tariffs,                    energy leaks or outages7
metering, smart grid solutions, network                     energy storage and home energy
monitoring and advanced battery                             management solutions can help
technology, is transforming energy
networks. The next generation of grid
                                                            balance the grid and reduce long                      According to the World
                                                            term infrastructure investment.
and enabling technologies can now                                                                                 Bank, Australia reports
facilitate the dynamic two-way flow                      5. Maintain physical assets. Artificial
of energy. They can enable both energy                      intelligence, drones and machine                      electricity transmission
players and consumers to participate                        learning can monitor physical asset                   and distribution losses
in the energy market.                                       conditions and optimise proactive
                                                            maintenance.                                          of around 6%.8
This intelligent network and the data it
produces can help utilities optimise the                 6. Support the virtual grid.
way energy is delivered. For example:                       Technologies such as the IoT and
                                                            blockchain will support interoperability
1. Respond to outages more quickly.                         of network devices and peer-to-peer                      Using drones to
   Remote asset monitoring, telemetry,
   smart sensors and predictive analytics
                                                            (P2P) trading of energy. Digital
                                                                                                                     inspect powerlines
                                                            asset monitoring can help create
   can track network conditions and                         a comprehensive “cradle to grave”                        Right across the globe, utilities
   facilitate an outage response in real                    maintenance history that better                          including Duke Energy, National Grid,
   time. Advanced network systems                           manages risk and optimises asset                         Southern Company and Transgrid
   can dynamically reroute electricity                      management.                                              are testing the use of drones to
   (“self-healing”), while GIS tools can                                                                             inspect transmission and distribution
   help better direct field workers to fix               In this way, a digitally enabled network
                                                                                                                     lines for damage from storms and
   the problem.                                          helps utilities both improve operational
                                                                                                                     normal wear and tear and seeing
                                                         efficiencies and enhance the customer
2. Reduce losses. Smart meters and                                                                                   new opportunities for this innovative
   network sensors can detect theft                                                                                  solution to assist with maintenance
   and leakage while advanced                                                                                        throughout their networks.

7. EY Digital Australia Omnibus 2015-16, EY, 2016
8. Source: Electric power transmission and distribution losses (% of output), The World Bank website,,
   accessed 6 October 2016.

                                                                                  Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective |   8
Building the digitally powered utility of the future - An Australian perspective
Historically, utilities collected
The collision of technologies
is driving true innovation

  How are utilities
  embracing geospatial
  analytics?                                               What happens when
  CenterPoint Energy, Inc. is a                            digital takes to the air?
  domestic energy delivery company
                                                           A leading Australian energy
  headquartered in Houston, Texas.
                                                           distributor with customers spread
  The utility provides electric
                                                           over 1.7 million square kilometres
  transmission and distribution, natural
                                                           needed to address the condition
  gas distribution and energy services
                                                           monitoring of 150,000km of
  operations across six states serving
                                                           powerlines and almost 1 million
  more than 5 million customers. They
                                                           power poles. Inspection and
  have embraced geospatial analytics
                                                           clearing of vegetation represented
  to provide rich digital visualisation
                                                           a significant component of their
  of complex data to help with real-
                                                           cost of supply. LiDAR imagery and
  time decision making. In addition
                                                           new techniques for detection of
  to having a highly visual overview
                                                           powerlines and classification of tree
  of the network assets, CenterPoint
                                                           species where developed.
  Energy has used geospatial analytics
  combined with mobile data solutions                      Advanced analytics were used to
  to assist with critical activities such                  extract management clearances
  as storm vulnerability assessments                       from the vast amount of data
  — helping the utility rapidly respond                    captured and eliminated significant
  to severe weather events such as                         labour costs associated with manual
  tornados and prioritise resources                        inspection and processing.
  to address impacts to critical
                                                           New route optimisation techniques
  infrastructure such as hospitals.11
                                                           for aerial powerline inspection, based
                                                           upon biologically-inspired meta-
                                                           heuristics, delivered inspection routes
                                                           with 20% shorter flight times.12

11. Source: CenterPoint embraces GIS, (video – runtime 1:25 minutes), Esri website,, accessed 7 October 2016.
12. Source: Zhengrong Li, Rodney Walker, Ross Hayward, Luis Mejias, Advances in vegetation management for power line corridor monitoring using aerial remote sensing
    techniques,, October 2010.
                                                                                Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective |   10
Engage and                                              • Fieldworkers can be better directed
                                                          to where they are needed and access

empower the                                               real-time information to enable faster
                                                          response to problems.

workforce via digital                                   • Service delivery personnel can
                                                          use apps and other mobility tools to
Imagine if a field worker                                 directly engage with end consumers
could be guided by an expert                              and improve both the customer and
                                                          employee experience.
in another region through

                                                                                                                 Nearly 60%
                                                        • Building a “digital twin” of the network
augmented reality technology.                             that is continually refreshed with data
Just as utilities tackle the challenges                   from LiDAR and other sources can
of an ageing workforce, they face an                      ensure that field crews are working                    of the global utility workforce
urgent need to acquire digital-savvy                      proactively and minimise disruptive
                                                                                                                 is aged over 40 years13
employees with the skills and capabilities                “false alarms”.
needed to build a digitally enabled,                    • Smart wearables could ensure safer
customer-centric utility.                                 working in high risk situations.
The battle to attract talent with the right                                                                         Case study
technological and customer skills, as
                                                                                                                    A leading UK infrastructure operator
well as an entrepreneurial mindset, pits                “Innovative utilities across                                was under increasing pressure to
utilities against almost every other global
industry, many of which are far more
                                                         Europe are embracing                                       improve operational efficiency and
                                                                                                                    safety, realise financial savings and
advanced than they are when positioning                  digital to enhance grid                                    increase the capacity available to
themselves as employers of choice.
                                                         intelligence, optimise work                                its customers on its network. The
Energy companies will need to drive a                                                                               company determined the need to
culture of ambition, boldness and agility
                                                         processes and improve                                      increase its enterprise-wide view
if they are to attract staff with the right              efficiency across the                                      on network and asset information
skills and then make the most of this                                                                               leveraging visualisation, analytics
potential to help become a utility of the
                                                         value chain.”                                              and mobile.
future. They will also need to be mindful                 Benoit Laclau, Global Power & Utilities Leader, EY
                                                                                                                    EY worked with the client to
of bringing current long-term employees
                                                                                                                    structure the major IT and business
on the journey into this future as well,                 In many industries, digital technology
                                                                                                                    transformation programme, setting
ensuring that their experience and                       is already making field work safer, more
                                                                                                                    out a clear vision and roadmap.
knowledge is respected and transferred                   efficient and with less environmental
                                                                                                                    A strong focus was establishing
to the next generation of workers.                       impact.
                                                                                                                    upfront and ongoing engagement
In the future, digital tools and insights               For some utilities, gaining innovative                      with the workforce. Through agile
will improve the productivity and job                   skills quickly may be best achieved                         and accelerated delivery, the
satisfaction of a utility’s workforce                   through partnerships while others                           programme has delivered a detailed
and, crucially, enhance the customer                    may consider spinning off separate                          and multi-layered visualisation of the
experience. For example:                                “innovation hubs”. These may better give                    network, with decision support tools
                                                        employees the room to collaborate on                        realising millions of pounds in savings.
• Analytics can predict potential                       projects in entrepreneurial environments                    The company now has a mobile-
  customer issues and proactive options                 that allow the freedom to innovate                          enabled workforce. Using tablet
  for workforce responses.                               quickly, fail quickly and learn fast.                      computers, regularly released apps
• Real-time data and digital channels                                                                               and augmented reality, engineers can
  can allow quicker resolution of                                                                                   visualise infrastructure and diagnose
  customer issues — fixed first time with                                                                           faults remotely, saving time, reducing
  closed loop real-time feedback.                                                                                   operations and maintenance costs
                                                                                                                    and improving safety.
“A company that embeds an ‘intrapreneurial’ spirit                                                                  But the success of these initiatives is
 is able to encourage innovation and therefore raise                                                                not due solely to the technology but
                                                                                                                    the fact that these digital solutions
 productivity and efficiency. An added benefit is that                                                              were implemented with a focus on
 it curbs high levels of employee turnover and will                                                                 the people using them, who played a
                                                                                                                    key role in the development of these
 help in the long-term with attracting new talent.”                                                                 apps and tools.
 Nancy Altobello, EY Global Vice Chair, Talent

13. Source: EnergyCentral, energybiz website,

11   | Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective
Rethinking ways to                                   Used in the right way, digital can help
                                                     make energy efficiency an easy option
                                                                                                             • Smart cities can enable improved
                                                                                                               monitoring of air conditions, traffic

sustain our energy                                   for consumers while also helping change
                                                     processes and operations to reduce their
                                                                                                               flow and energy usage. Advanced
                                                                                                               analytics can enable real-time

supply                                               environmental impact. For example:
                                                     • Smart appliances and meters can help
                                                                                                               assessment of trade-offs for action
                                                                                                               with respect to cost, risk, performance
                                                                                                               and environmental impact.
Imagine if customers                                   customers manage energy usage and
                                                       improve energy efficiency.
could be empowered
                                                     • Advanced grid technology and
and motivated to work in                               software can accelerate adoption of                      Could your freezer free
partnership with utilities to                          renewable energy, including distributed
                                                                                                                up the grid?
reduce carbon emissions?                                                                                        In the UK, National Grid is exploring
                                                     • New business models around
As utilities face increasing pressure to                                                                        how an “internet of energy” could
                                                       ownership and charging are
reduce emissions, digital technology                                                                            see household appliances like fridges
                                                       lowering the barriers to electric
can help drive positive changes to energy              vehicle ownership.                                       and dishwashers balance the grid.
supply practices while encouraging                                                                              In the future, imagine if sensors
                                                     • Better use of technology can reduce                      could turn on a dishwasher when
customers to do the same. Research
                                                       travel for field workers, improve                        wind power is plentiful or turn off
shows that customers are keen to be
                                                       their interactions with customers                        a freezer for a few minutes to help
more energy efficient – 57% of those we
                                                       and limit the impact of field work
surveyed were considering installing solar                                                                      ease demand at peak times. National
                                                       on the environment.
panels on their home14 – but they don’t                                                                         Grid believes that this technology
want it to be expensive or difficult.                • Advanced customer engagement can                         could reduce electricity grid
                                                       lead to incentivising and gamifying                      fluctuations by 30-50%.16
                                                       good environmental practices.

                                                                                “Tomorrow’s utility customer will be
                                                                                 better informed and better engaged,
                                                                                 active as part of the energy ecosystem
                                                                                 as user and generator. As such we
More than half
of those surveyed (55%) would consider
                                                                                 need to build those relationships today
                                                                                 through customer experience and
accessing real time energy usage
information and conservation tips from                                           innovative products and marketing.”
their energy supplier15                                                           Kim Clarke, Chief Customer Officer, EnergyAustralia

14. EY Digital Australia Omnibus 2015-16, EY, 2016.
15. EY Digital Australia Omnibus 2015-16, EY, 2016.
16. Source: Smart energy revolution ‘could help to avoid UK blackouts, BBC News website,, 31 August 2016.

                                                                              Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective |   12
Strengthen                                              The convergence of operational
                                                        technology (OT) and information
                                                                                                             of compromise. This allows an enhanced
                                                                                                             capability to respond to a cyber attack in

the security                                            technology (IT) increases the already
                                                        significant cybersecurity risks facing the

and privacy of                                          utilities industry. As critical infrastructure
                                                        providers, all utilities are an attractive
                                                                                                             A hacktivist group
customer, network                                       target for hackers and cyber-extortion.              infiltrated a water
                                                         IT and OT convergence exposes control               utility’s control system
and employee                                             systems to cyber threats. Energy utilities
                                                                                                             and changed the levels
                                                         must now recognise and manage these
information                                              threats as a genuine and significant                of chemicals being used
                                                         business risk as well as for the safety
Imagine if utilities could                               of citizens.
                                                                                                             to treat water.17
become trusted custodians
                                                                                                             Security and privacy concerns should not
of customer and employee                                 In December 2015,                                   be seen as a blocker to innovation but as
information whilst securing                                                                                  a way to enable trust as a differentiator.
                                                         hackers brought down                                Embedding risk management within
critical infrastructure.
                                                         Ukraine’s electricity                               innovation will ensure privacy and
The opportunities of advanced technology                                                                     security risks are considered “by design.”
and connection of devices via IP                         system, resulting in
addresses bring new challenges, including                outages to 225,000
the increased risk of cybersecurity
threats. The complexity and rapid                        customers.
pace of change of digital technology is
exposing utilities to more sophisticated
                                                         OT and process control systems can no
and frequent cyber attacks which have
                                                         longer be managed in silo, separate to
the potential to breach customer and
                                                         corporate IT and risk management.
employee privacy, incur regulatory action
or even bring down generators and grids.                 On the plus side, advanced digital

                                                         technologies are also enabling increased
Cyber attacks are now a matter of
                                                         security capability, including advanced
“when, not if” — the ability to prevent
                                                         security monitoring and analytics. The next                     of customers
an attack needs to be supplemented                                                                           surveyed said their biggest
                                                         generation of security operations centres
with abilities to detect and respond to                                                                      concern relating to data security
                                                         are using big data algorithms to analyse
the inevitable attacks.
                                                         patterns of traffic on both corporate IT and        and their utility provider was
                                                         OT networks to identify possible indicators         the privacy of personal details18

                                                                                                     “The Internet of Things offers
                                                                                                      consumers convenience, and
                                                                                                      provides businesses with vast
                                                                                                      amounts of data on customer
                                                                                                      habits. However, this also
                                                                                                      presents a greater threat.
                                                                                                      Security and privacy
                                                                                                      must be a forethought not
                                                                                                      an afterthought.”
                                                                                                       Charlie Offer,
                                                                                                       Oceania Power & Utilities Cyber Security Leader, EY
         Watch our video

17. Source: Hackers hijacking water treatment plant controls shows how easily civilians could be poisoned, International Business Times website,, 23 March 2016.
18. EY Digital Australia Omnibus 2015-16, EY, 2016.

13   | Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective
Imagining a digital driven energy market in 2020
What could the future look like for those utilities that act now
to embrace the opportunities of digital?

In the future, the IoT and digital technologies will improve operations and stakeholders’ satisfaction.
They can support a truly distributed energy world and create an unprecedented multi-way flow of information, for example —

                                          Drones provide 3D imagery on network
                                          assets to enable engineers to remotely
                                          diagnose the cause and point of failure

IoT sensors such as
simple accelerometers
producing large volumes                                                                                                             A sharing economy built on a secure
of data on the condition                                                                                                            and self-verifying blockchain platform,
of assets                                                                                                                           monetising the network as consumers
                                                                    A smart meter                                                   buy and sell energy peer-to-peer
                                                                    will automatically
                                                                    provide consumption
                                                                                                                                                    Augmented reality
                                                                    data in real-time
                                                                                                                                                    headsets provide instant
                                                                                                                                                    information and visuals
                                                                                                                 Artificial Intelligence
                                                                                                                                                    to improve operational
                                                                                                                 customer service proactively
                                                                                                                 engages and responds to
                                              A fully integrated digital                                         consumers, driving down
                                              solution automatically updates                                     OpEx costs and improving
                                              stakeholders on supply                                             broad measure of customer
  Artificial Intelligence computers           interruptions in real-time                                         satisfaction (BMoCS)
  employ machine learning algorithms
  to predict and identify at-risk sites
                                                                                                            Cyber resilience built
  and assets to prevent outages across
                                                                                                            into all aspects of the IT
  the network
                                                                                                            landscape will protect
                                                                                                            against threats to
                                                                                                            consumers and the network

Some of the disruptive technologies will become the norm by 2020.
The leading organisations are already exploring how these could be adopted in their business.

                                                                                    Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective |   14
How might my future energy world change?

                                                                                             ger’s perspec
                                                                                            a             tiv
                                                                                          an                 e
              mer’s perspe
            to            cti
           s                 ve

                                                                                        • Brings together innovative products and
                                                                                          services beyond energy to solve holistically
                                                                                          customer lifestyle and business needs.
                                                                                        • Proactively suggest innovative tailored
         • Controls all energy needs, their car (which                                    solutions which change experience and
           they can charge anywhere), wireless                                            lower costs.
           internet, and telco services from a single
                                                                                        • Allows customers to manage their own
           digital account.
                                                                                          transactions using self-service tools.
         • Generates and stores own energy using
                                                                                        • Solves customer queries
           solar panels and batteries and sells excess
                                                                                          proactively and communicates in a way
           to other customers or the grid.
                                                                                          customers choose (through any channel).
         • Lets utilities control some appliances such
                                                                                        • Predicts service disruptions ahead of time
           as air conditioners to access cheaper tariffs.
                                                                                          and informs the customer around next best
         • Controls their own home and appliances,                                        action.
           depending on complex rules. I.e. The
                                                                                        • Initiates transactions with no input from
           customer can allow their washing machine
                                                                                          a physical person and routes these into
           to search for the cheapest power in the next
                                                                                          existing service delivery channels.
           24 hours and turn on when electricity is at
           its lowest.                                                                  • Knows intimately a customer’s history,
                                                                                          financial state and challenges and can
         • Sells energy stored in electric vehicle when
                                                                                          respond in personalised ways to individual
           energy prices reach a particular threshold.
         • Controls their home’s lighting and
                                                                                        • Knows in real-time competitor behaviours
           temperature using wearable sensor devices.
                                                                                          and can respond quickly with counter value
         • Switches retailers automatically and in real-                                  propositions, including special situations
           time to find the cheapest source of energy                                     like hardship.
           and services.
                                                                                        • Delivers on corporate responsibility
         • Is educated about energy use to improve                                        priorities and customers’ values.
           behaviours and protect the environment.

15   | Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective
perator’s persp
      eto               ec

                                                                                orker’s persp
                                                                             d w             ec
                                                                            l                  ti


    • Can see an integrated view of information
      at the centre around the status of
      assets, work and customer needs – to
      make proactive decisions to optimise
      productivity.                                                     • Uses mobile devices to get real-time
                                                                          information about a particular residence’s
    • Uses real-time geographic views of the
                                                                          customer, their prior complaints and other
      network to see all incidents currently
                                                                          important data.
      impacting its operation.
                                                                        • Engages with the customer, or a selection
    • Lets the network self-adjust and self-heal
                                                                          of multiple customers, in a geographic
      in response to conditions.
                                                                          region with a click of a button to access
    • Reviews the history of network events                               information about works in that area.
      in real-time, to identify weak points and
                                                                        • Receives real-time updates from
      deploy field trucks.
                                                                          a customer regarding enquiries or
    • Predicts network failure in response to                             complaints associated with current works.
      projected weather events, and prepositions
                                                                        • Reviews schematic plans and photographs
      limited assets as quickly as possible.
                                                                          of particular assets in the field before
    • Communicates with customers about                                   commencing jobs with notes from previous
      planned or unplanned network events                                 jobs attached.
      using automatic digital channels.
                                                                        • Sees asset performance and maintenance
    • Dynamically finds new sources of energy                             history, with intelligence-driven repair and
      to supplement the network in times of                               maintenance activities identified.
      high-load stress.
                                                                        • Monitors physical conditions to ensure
    • Actively monitors risks to both the network                         safer working.
      and customers — proactively deploys
                                                                        • Uses smart-glass enabled safety goggles to
      defences to protect against threats.
                                                                          view relevant information in the peripheral
    • Manages a digitally connected grid that is                          whilst using both hands to work. The
      standardised and operates at the lowest                             operation can be recorded for OH&S
      possible cost for customers.                                        purposes and continuous improvement.

                                                        Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective |   16
Digital innovation isn’t just about the technology
                                                          Strategic “get rights” include:
     Imagine a utility of the
     future that is bold, agile                                           Frame the strategy: Digital impacts everything — becoming a digital utility may
                                                                          require a complete rethink of business models. Utilities will need to determine a
     and customer-centric                                                 long-term purpose, based around current strengths; develop customer-focused
                                                                          goals; and then take a value-based approach to determining how digital can enable
     For utilities to really make the most
                                                                          these goals.
     of digital, they must first accept that
     doing so goes far beyond IT. Instead,
     digitally-enabled changes must be                                    Ready the base technologies: With so many technological advances and options,
     part of a greater strategy that is                                   it is critical that utilities understand what’s available and identify those that
     underpinned by a commitment to                                       map to their own business goals. They must master strategic digital capabilities
     shift from a traditionally risk-averse                               aligned to their strategy.
     mindset towards a more agile and
     innovative culture. Doing so requires                                Mobilise digital ready people: Technology is only as powerful as the people
     utilities to move through several,                                   who use it. For utilities, shifting the organisational culture from a largely
     inter-connected steps.                                               engineering mindset to an entrepreneurial one is essential but not easy.
                                                                          Utilities will need to be proficient in change management and developing new
     The utility of the future will be:
                                                                          talent with the right skillsets. They need to look to more digitally mature industries,
     • customer centric
                                                                          such as telecommunications and financial services, to extract leading practices.
     • hyper-connected
     • proactive and predictive
     • adaptive                                                           Develop a digital innovation program: The rapid pace of change requires
                                                                          utilities to keep up with digital innovation. Investing in continual innovation will
     • automated
                                                                          represent a shift in how utilities allocate resources — it’s time to shift towards to a
     • performance focused                                                technology and information based business.
     It will be driven by a clear business
     purpose.                                                             Focus on design: The success of digital within a utility will be determined by how
     Unless these foundations are laid,                                   widely it is adopted. A focus on intuitive, user-friendly and appealing design when
                                                                          implementing technology will encourage take up. This design must be aligned to
     any attempts to use technology to
                                                                          strategic priorities and virtually integrated.
     build new customer relationships or
     address other industry and external
     trends will be superficial and more                                  Align to your customer: Utilities need to envision the digitally-enabled customer
     likely to fail.                                                      journey and then build the infrastructure to support that. This design needs to
                                                                          encapsulate outside-in thinking and focus on those “moments that matter”. This
     Imagine a utility that makes strategic                               means listening to what customers want before making any technology changes.
     and intelligent use of digital to                                    Don’t waste time and resources developing an app no-one will use.
     become more efficient, more
     customer-centric and more able to
     adapt to the many trends reshaping                                   Structure for success: Companies will need to set up different processes and
     the energy world. It’s a vision that is                              teams to deliver various digital capabilities. For example, separate innovation
                                                                          clusters will need to be set up to manage customer service, grid analytics,
     possible. Energy companies hold the
                                                                          mobility and digital readiness and innovation. Utilities will also need to develop a
     assets, network data and customer
                                                                          digital framework to govern the interactions of these various clusters.
     bases they need to succeed in
     a digital world but they need to
     quickly rethink their ways of working                                Build necessary security capabilities: New technology = new risks. Utilities
     to successfully leverage these                                       will be vulnerable to cyber attacks unless necessary safeguards are put in place.
     inherent advantages. They can do                                     This starts with identifying all potential sources and types of threats to a utility’s
     this by making significant changes                                   infrastructure, designing a cybersecurity strategy to address these and then
                                                                          investing in the appropriate infrastructure.
     to business models and rethinking
     investment priorities, utilities can
     seize the promise of digital to
     support their transition to the utility
     of the future.

17    | Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective
Is your business strategy ready for digital?
There’s no point beginning any digital initiatives without first understanding the
capabilities of your business now. EY’s Digital Readiness Assessment can give you
a clear vision of your starting point and a roadmap to help you reach your goals,
using digital tools.

This online, interactive, assessment and benchmarking tool supports you to
benchmark digital maturity across seven focus areas:

• Strategy, Innovation & Growth
• Customer Experience
• Supply Chain & Operations
• Technology
• Risk & Cyber Security
• Finance, Legal & Tax
• People & Organisation

     Watch our video

                                                               Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective |   18
EY: Building confidence in a digital world
            In a digitally disrupted world, EY provides confidence                 Through our professional insight and judgement,
            to our clients and stakeholders through every                          firm grasp of technology and innovation, and
            digital element of business transformation (tax,                       human intuition, EY helps the boardroom seize the
            legal, people, regulatory, compliance, technology,                     upside of disruption. As EY builds confidence in the
            innovation, capital investment strategy). The higher                   capital markets, so we will build confidence in the
            quality results help grow and protect their business                   digital world.
            and build a better working world.

            EY’s core digital offerings
                   Enterprise                 Incubation and                  Experience
                                                                                                       Operations                 Trust
                    strategy                    innovation                  transformation

              We help our clients           We establish an end           We analyse               We align, enhance       We scan the digital
              re-think their                to end innovation             the world of             and automate            risk horizon and
              business strategy             capability to                 the customer,            operations and          help our clients
              and operating                 incubate new                  then design and          supply chain to         build agility to
              model for a digital           ideas and business            implement new            deliver on the          respond to digital
              age.                          models.                       experiences.             promise of digital.     risks.

19   | Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective
Contact us
For more information, please contact:

Stuart Hartley                                Russell Curtin
EY Asia-Pacific and Digital                   EY Oceania Energy Leader
Power & Utilities Advisory Leader                         LinkedIn
                                              Nick Cardno
Jenny Young                                   EY Oceania Energy Transactions Advisory
EY Oceania Customer Leader                    Services Leader               
LinkedIn                                      LinkedIn

Charlie Offer                                 Ryan Fisk
EY Oceania Power & Utilities                  EY Oceania Energy Assurance Leader
Cyber Security Leader                                      LinkedIn
                                              Paul Laxon
Matt Rennie                                   EY Oceania Energy Tax Leader
EY Global Power & Utilities Transactions
Advisory Services Leader and                  LinkedIn
Oceania Power & Utilities Leader

                                     Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective |   20
EY | Assurance | Tax | Transactions | Advisory

About EY
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services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build
trust andconfidence in the capital markets and in economies the
world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver
on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a
critical role in building a better working world for our people, for
our clients and for our communities.

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© 2016 Ernst & Young, Australia.
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