Will disruption interrupt the flow or stimulate greater opportunity for power and utilities?

The future of Canadian utilities in a hyper-connected sector

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The utility of the future

The power and utilities (P&U) industry is undergoing a period of significant disruption.

Current energy systems were designed more than 100 years ago and have been only incrementally modified since. They worked well in the time of vertically integrated, centrally supplied generation models, but that was when efficiency and resilience were less important than they are today.

Distributed renewable generation, new digital technologies and changing consumer expectations are turning the traditional industry model upside down. Market trends point to a structural shift in the sector and integration of new technologies is fundamentally changing the value chain. Companies that can get ahead by innovating above and beyond technology implementation will have a real first-mover advantage.

What might the Canadian P&U industry look like in the future? Will it be just a more efficient version of today’s model? Or will radical disruption force energy players to reinvent themselves? In our view, the Canadian utility of the future will operate in a new value chain, augmented and interconnected by digital technologies, where power and information will flow in both directions.

Sector in transformation

The North American electric power sector continues to face internal and external drivers that challenge the traditional operating model for incumbent companies. The baseload, centralized and single directional grid design is quickly transitioning to a more intermittent, distributed and interactive model enhanced by two-way flows of electricity and data. At the same time, far-reaching and disruptive change is transforming the global P&U sector, and Canadian companies aren’t immune to this disruption.

There are five key internal and external drivers that are fundamentally changing the way business is conducted.


Sector in transformation

These and other emerging drivers are raising questions for stakeholders across the entire P&U value chain, including generators, transmission operators, distributors, retailers and other service providers. Like their global counterparts, Canadian companies will find that these challenges are also opportunities that will help them become a hyper-connected utility of the future.

Inside this report:

  • Canadian energy landscape
  • Sector in transformation
  • A hyperconnected sector:
    • Expand the value proposition
    • Achieve asset excellence
    • Accelerate digital capabilities
    • Power the digital grid
    • Strengthen the network’s security
    • Transform the customer experience
    • Align innovation and policy
  • What's next for Canadian utilities?
  • How EY can help


The future of Canadian utilities in a hyper-connected sector
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