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Unsung Role of Fossil Fuels in the Miracle of U.S. Growth

Past, Present, and Future, Part I

Robert Gordon’s seminal book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, has a pessimistic message with profound economic, social, and political implications. But nowhere in Gordon’s 762-page book does he give credit to fossil fuels for the economic miracle of the past two centuries. In this article, I focus on the critical historical role that fossil fuels played in creating the technological and economic miracles that Gordon articulates so well.

Architecting the Future

Consumers now are setting the agenda.

Accenture lays out the map for navigating the utility landscape, where customer engagement is the name of the game, and digital makes the rules.

Taking Digital to Scale

Eight key ‘plays’ to alter how work is managed and performed.

Adopting digital capabilities to transform operations and processes holds immense promise for utilities. Indeed, it’s the best path to growth.

Social Intelligence

Harnessing the true power of social media.

Customers expect their utilities to communicate as well as other service providers. This shouldn’t be considered a burden, but an opportunity.

Toward a 21st Century Grid

Producing value with advanced distribution management systems.

Changing demands from regulators, customers, and shareholders are driving utilities toward better operational technologies to manage an increasingly complex grid. Advanced distribution management systems (ADMS) promise nearly real-time operational insight for maintaining reliability, safety, and security.

Tweet, Like, and Follow

Utilities get serious about social media.

Social networks offer substantial communications value, and utilities can no longer ignore them. A successful strategy, however, requires careful management.

Connecting Before the Storm

Effective crisis communications requires laying groundwork long before the damage happens. Successful engagement calls for consistent, positive messaging when the lights are on.

Effective crisis communications requires laying groundwork long before the damage happens. Successful engagement calls for consistent, positive messaging when the lights are on.

Demand Growth and the New Normal

Five forces are putting the squeeze on electricity consumption.

It’s tempting to attribute the recent slowdown in electricity demand growth entirely to the Great Recession, but consumption growth rates have been declining for at least 50 years. The new normal rate of demand growth likely will be about half of its historic value, with demand rising by less than 1 percent per year. This market plateau calls for a new utility strategy.

Customer Service: Doing More With Less

Balancing operational cost and consumer value creation.

Regulatory mandates and smart grid technologies are creating an opportunity for utilities to adopt a new approach to customer service—an approach that balances a range of strategic and operational imperatives, toward the promise of higher customer satisfaction, greater efficiency, and enhanced revenue.

Customer-Care Tipping Point

Self-service is the key to reducing operational costs and providing customers with the interactive and mobile tools they want -- and increasingly that they expect.

Consumer preferences for interaction have reached a tipping point and energy providers now have a compelling opportunity to fundamentally re-design the traditional interaction mix. The cornerstone of the redesigned interaction mix is developing a dual customer relationship. Successful providers will be those that drive low-value transactions to lower-cost channels while creating capacity to focus on delivering value-added service for a small set of interactions.