Perspectives

Case Study

Developing a Comprehensive SmartGrid Strategy for a California Utility

Developing a comprehensive, corporate-wide SmartGrid strategy For an industry-leading California utility— including AMI and ten-year implementation plan.

Client Situation

A leading electric utility had become increasingly concerned about its ability to grow profitably and meet the needs of its stakeholders, as it faced several major challenges across its power delivery system:

  • An aging asset base, workforce constraints, and high load growth threatened network reliability
  • Requirements to integrate renewable resources that would add to system complexity and cost  
  • Increasing customer demands for customized solutions and greater control over their energy usage

Bridge was engaged to help the client develop an integrated “SmartGrid” strategy to integrate the technological, operational and organizational changes required to succeed in this challenging environment.

Approach

  • Developed high-level strategic themes to guide the effort, helping a deeply infrastructure-focused organization to think more broadly about SmartGrid strategy and customer needs
  • Established a set of objectives and metrics to tie the themes directly to business challenges and address the current situation as well as a 5–10 year view of the business environment, including:
  • Grid infrastructure utilization and replacement strategies
  • Impact of technology innovation on grid operations including decision support and grid control automation
  • Evolving customer needs and their roles in the energy supply chain
  • Integrating renewable and distributed energy resources with grid management capabilities
  • Evolution of regulatory and legislative standards and requirements
  • Bridge worked with the client to execute the strategy, providing:
  • 12-month action plans for each theme and key objective, comprised of prioritized initiatives and programs
  • Near-term pilot and customer research recommendations to begin testing key initiatives
  • Assessment of long-term capital investment plan impact, with detailed frameworks for SmartGrid initiatives
  • Cross-functional operating model designs
  • Communication plans to build an enterprise-wide, shared understanding of the strategy and action plans
  • Design of a Program Management Office to oversee and coordinate SmartGrid programs and initiatives

Results

This interactive engagement brought client constituents together from across the organization in cross-functional workshops to build alignment and support for the SmartGrid strategy and implementation plan.

One of the key differentiators expressed by our client’s Senior Executive team is Bridge’s collaborative style and day-to-day interaction across all levels of the various Business and Functional Units.