skip to main content
Close Icon We use cookies to improve your website experience.  To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy.  By continuing to use the website, you consent to our use of cookies.
Global Search Configuration
US utilities have reached a tipping point in the evolution of their sector, driven by challenging regulatory and political agendas, inherent customer dissatisfaction, emerging competition from new entrants, and increasing risk in long-term capital investments. Smart grids, smart cities, and the panoply of digitally related technologies could be either the savior or the executioner of an industry that has little changed since the days of Thomas Edison. This new era of “digital disruption” has the possibility of empowering customers, optimizing transmission and distribution networks, balancing generation against demand, and integrating energy supply with every other aspect of connected homes and smart cities. Utilities capable of capitalizing on such advances will be well placed for the future; however, those who fail to exploit these new technologies
will be left to the mercy of over-the-top competitors, fickle shareholders, and fierce regulators.

Ovum’s survey of more than 100 utilities across the US, serving 38% of all customers, uncovers a concerning dichotomy between the conceptual understanding that their sector needs to go through significant transformation to meet twenty-first–century customer needs, and the underlying reality that the majority of utilities either believe they have already done enough or are awaiting the necessary regulatory guidance to progress further. The focus has been on the what rather than the how, with an over-reliance on internal systems and capabilities, even when the need for cultural change and missing skills are already very apparent. Investor-owned utilities are ahead of the curve in understanding that they will need to open their doors to partners and vendors who can help them transform systems and processes to leverage all the potential that digital disruption can offer. The clock is ticking, the pieces are in position, and US utilities now need to make bold moves, or the endgame will be taken out of their hands.

Smarter Utilities Survey 2016

Key messages

• Digital disruption is here to stay, driven by the strategic imperatives of the "energy trilemma."
• Regulation will never catch up and utilities waiting for clarification will lose the initiative.
• Transformation is not a one-time effort and will cause utility systems architectures to become more


Recommended Articles

  • Internet of Things

    IoT Viewpoints 2018

    IoT Viewpoints explore the IoT opportunity in 2018 and beyond. Download our latest e-book to get our newest collection of thought leadership articles on the emerging IoT trends, technologies and opportunities.

    Topics IoT

  • Service Provider Markets

    5G is here – almost – with the launch of Verizon 5G Home

    ByMike Roberts 01 Oct 2018

    Verizon 5G Home is a milestone in the telecoms market because it is the first large-scale commercial launch of broadband services based on 5G technologies, albeit not on a fully standardized version of those technologies.

  • Consumer & Entertainment Services

    Telco loyalty programs are about more than improving churn

    ByNicole McCormick 07 Mar 2018

    Loyalty programs have long been held as key to indirect monetization for the communications service provider. Upcoming research from Ovum has verified that notion – loyalty schemes improve Net Promoter Scores (NPS – a measure of brand perception) and can help improve churn. They can also lead to net additions growth and can even earn revenues for the operator.


Have any questions? Speak to a Specialist

Europe, Middle East & Africa team - +44 (0) 207 017 7700

Asia-Pacific team - +61 (0)3 960 16700

US team - +1 646 957 8878

Email us at

You can also contact your named/allocated Client Services Executive using their direct dial.
PR enquiries - Call us at +44 788 597 5160 or email us at

Contact marketing -

Already an Ovum client? Login to the Knowledge Center now