Utility Survey Ranks Staff Experience Concerns as #1 New Project Inhibitor

February 14, 2017 

Results from Bridge Energy Group’s 2017 Bridge Index Utility Industry Grid Operations Survey, incorporating feedback from 20,000 utility executives, managers and engineers, show staff experience is a project inhibitor for many organizations. Outsourcing operational technology services has also become less taboo.

Results uncovered a 71% increase in organizations considering outsourcing their OT operations and support — fueled by 45% of utilities surveyed concerned about limited staff experience and pending employee retirement.

“The ability to staff real-time systems experts continues to be an impediment to both the delivery of new OT projects and meeting the demands of day-to-day systems operation,” says Bridge Energy Group. “OT resource planning and risk management at a portfolio level is required to effectively prioritize and optimize what is typically a constrained set of key resources.”

The annual utility survey, one of the most comprehensive in the industry, provides insight on grid enhancement activities and priorities set forth by Canadian and American utilities. The 2017 Bridge Index Grid Operations Survey also reveals the top three, near-term grid enhancement projects as

1. communications network (61%)

2. distribution automation (60%)

3. customer service portals (56%)

Consistent with the industry’s increased spend on grid modernization, top projects planned include systems, infrastructure and technologies focused on the communication, visualization and quality of data. “These projects can have an immediate impact on improving operational performance and are the building blocks upon which grid modernization goals will be achieved, including increased situational awareness, grid reliability, DER integration and more,” says Mike Bianco, VP Grid Operations Solutions, Bridge Energy Group.

Survey results also show that Canadian and American utilities are satisfied with current power outage and restoration solutions, as 41% of the utilities surveyed have upgraded their meters to smart meters for their primary source of outage information and 60% are now using advanced technology to detect blue sky outages.

“Data show that North American utilities seem satisfied with current outage and restoration solutions. Those that aren’t should look to increase overall benefit of smart meters through improved meter to grid integration.”

Full survey results are available here: http://bit.ly/1UxyqHv.


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