An Evolving Conundrum
Kansas Representative Tom Sloan was elected to his 12th term in the Kansas House of Representatives. He serves on DOE, FCC, and EPA advisory committees and has hosted FERC Commissioners in Kansas. He focuses on energy, telecommunications, and water policy interactions in Kansas and nationally.
Government is frequently the slowest responder to technological innovation and consumer preferences. We do not have to change. We are the tax collectors, keepers of birth and death records, arbiters of who may vote and the counters of those votes. We license and regulate businesses, often in a similar fashion to fifty years ago.
Increasingly, however, the competitive marketplace for banking, social media, recreational opportunities and consumer activity relies on smart communications devices and specially developed applications. They facilitate customer choices, decisions, and satisfaction with the transaction.
Utilities are entering the business-customer interactive sphere with transactive energy systems, customer monitoring of usage, online bill payments, and other programs. The days of standing in line to pay bills or calling customer service with an outage report are ending.
Technological innovation and adoption by customers is driving utilities to respond. It does not hurt that such innovations often result in cost savings that make regulators and customers happy.
As my twenty-one-year-old legislative intern tells me, her generation will not put up with the things that my generation accepted: lines, delays in response, non-transparency.