Understanding the smart energy consumer in a down economy.
Michael Valocchi (email@example.com) is global energy and utility industry leader for IBM Global Business Services. John Juliano (firstname.lastname@example.org) is global lead for energy and utilities with the IBM Institute for Business Value. Allan Schurr (email@example.com) is responsible for IBM solution development in the energy and environment arena.
Persistent climate-change concerns, volatile energy prices and a growing awareness of technological advancement in energy are leading consumers across the globe to reconsider their roles in the electric-power value chain. Influenced by their experiences in other industries, they are willing to assume new roles and become more involved with providers and technology. At the same time, substantial increases in investments in utility infrastructure are likely being driven by global demands for climate-change mitigation, the need to support aging networks and the use of government stimulus plans for strengthening weakened economies. For energy and utility companies, this presents a historic opportunity to encourage new, mutually beneficial behaviors and create business models to meet new consumer demands.
IBM’s 2007 report, Plugging in the consumer: Utility business models for the future, explored the radically changing relationship between consumers and energy providers. Even during the global economic downturn, progress has continued along the two dimensions shaping these changes: technology advancement and consumers’ desires for more control.