The past several years have seen some major changes in the conditions that utilities are facing. There has been a global redistribution of demand growth in Asia and the Middle East and changes in supply with unconventional oil and gas. Then too, the mandate to decarbonize has utilities reassessing their asset portfolios. At the same time, distributed energy resources are going mainstream as consumers "power their own." In addition, extreme weather events are occurring with greater frequency, and aging assets may still operate beyond their useful life. Utilities battle other industries for the best talent as their mature talent is retiring as well. Finally, today's consumer expects to shop, drive, and network anytime and anywhere.
Twenty years ago, utilities faced no competition. Now competition comes not only from the unbundling of the markets but also from nonutility companies. In the face of these conditions, utilities continue to be held accountable for maintaining reliability; protecting the health, safety, and environment of the employee and the community; keeping customers satisfied; and enhancing shareholder value.
Today, utilities are seeking to address most, if not all, of the aforementioned challenges by deploying analytics. Utilities now have access to more information than ever before and have come to recognize the need to make the best use of available data by applying analytics. In fact, investment in analytics is increasing. Recent research shows the deployment of Big Data and analytics in production in business units and enterprisewide has increased from 10.2% in 2013 to 30.3% in 2015