Budgets are expected to increase, even as new IT challenges present themselves.
Christian Hamaker is managing editor of Public Utilities Fortnightly.
Change is inevitable, but for CIOs and technology officers in the energy field, change sets the parameters and ignites possibilities as they try to keep pace with current customer demands, and those expected in the near future.
As the utility industry continues its march—some might call it a retreat—toward a slow-growth, back-to-basics fiscal mentality, tech officers must find the balance between budget limitations and effective customer service. New computer systems, transmission technologies, and reliability issues—all put pressure on company CIOs and technology experts who play a key role in energy delivery and customer satisfaction.
The price tag for such efforts continues to loom large for information technology (IT) execs. A recent report from Energy Insights (“IT Budgets of Large Electric and Gas Utilities: Approach Planning With Cautious Optimism”) shows that 43 percent of energy utilities with IT budgets in excess of $550 million expect their 2006 IT budgets to increase, helped by provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.