Are we ready for the big digital transformation?
A vibrant power sector is critical to the development of any robust economy. When we talk of a developing economy like India, the role of the power sector is not limited to economic growth, but is closely linked to the dreams and aspirations of millions who still don’t have easy access to electricity.
Keeping in mind the Indian context, we have observed that the quality of power supply is way below international standards, which impacts the competitiveness of the industry and imposes coping costs among all consumers. We are also well aware of the fact that technological innovation within the last couple of decades has transformed nearly every sector including the power sector too. Can we leverage these technologies to address the issues facing our sector today?
The power utility is set to witness a dramatic change with a number of forces impacting the industry. This can be attributed to various factors like the rising penetration of renewable energy in the grid. As per KPMG in India’s estimates it could reach 12.5 per cent in energy terms by 2020 and could reach 50 per cent of daytime demand (MW) in certain states.
Further, the rise in consumer choice is enabled by open access for industrial customers and eventually by solar rooftop for residential customers. The advent of digital technology now provides new avenues for the utility to become more efficient and smart and enhance the overall customer experience. The new developments in power storage and eventually electric vehicles, are also all set to change the power dynamics.
In light of these factors, utilities need to prepare for the change and embrace digital technologies to change the way they do business. India can forge ahead using the new digital technologies to its advantage in a cost-effective manner. For example, leveraging data from the existing network in a more dynamic manner using digital tools can help utilities plan their network optimally, enabling timely interventions, better inventory management and improved asset maintenance. Internet of things (IOT) can help utilities integrate distributed renewables into the grid better. Consumer facing mobile apps can help provide new services to customers and help enhance the customer experience.
The new emerging technologies have enabled distributed generation and soon concepts such as storage, electric vehicle charging and smart home applications will become mainstream. Close on the heels of processes followed globally, our Indian counterparts should also introduce innovative value-added services for consumers, including energy management products and services, home automation services and introducing the utility store concept.
Adopting new technologies in the utilities sector aims to ensure an enhanced and seamless customer experience and help realize more revenue for utilities. India has the potential to leapfrog the centralized power system paradigm and adopt the new distributed power systems that are cleaner, more affordable and could be more reliable as well.
Partner and Head, Renewables at KPMG in India
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