It’s no longer enough for a utility to provide safe, affordable, and reliable energy. With unprecedented challenges – and opportunities – before them, utilities today need to craft strategies to drive load growth, protect their reputation, and continue to improve their own operational and organizational effectiveness. 

Political, economic, social, technological, environmental and regulatory trends are impacting and, in many ways, upending the traditional utility model. And nowhere are these changes more apparent than within utilities’ economic development departments, which are at the tip of the spear in terms of their focus on increasing load growth through business retention, expansion, and recruitment.

Today, it’s not unusual for large industrial customers to have to compete for internal resources from across the world, and for decisions about growth and investment to be made from a home office hundreds of miles away from a local plant. Many large industrial customers are also required to meet sustainability mandates, which get increasingly difficult to achieve after the lowest hanging fruit of energy efficiency programs have been implemented.

Meanwhile, start-ups are muscling their way into the utility value chain at some of the key higher-value areas. Changing behaviors are not just limited to industrial customers, however. Consumers are also changing their behavior and attitudes related to energy, which in turn is driving consumer-focused companies to greener energy sources, as one example.

There is a silver lining to all this, which is the opportunity for utility economic developers to leverage their relationships with economic developers and customers to take on a more visible and central role to ensure load growth, while enhancing the utility’s reputation and implementing innovative strategies for meeting the needs of today’s customers.

Ady Advantage has worked with dozens of utilities on their economic development initiatives and has developed a suite of services tailored to the specific needs of utility economic developers. Our in-depth knowledge of the utility economic development world combined with our experience as a leading economic development and site selection firm gives us the ability to craft tailored solutions for our clients. To learn more, contact us today.