H News

Report: The criticality of real-time data analytics for utilities, cities and consumers

Sept. 26, 2022
Insights on challenges from extreme weather, personalization and sustainability.

Itron recently published its 2022 Resourcefulness Insight Report, which explores how utilities and cities are using real-time data and analytics to transform how they deliver energy and water to customers, improving the quality of life for residents. More Intelligence and More Possibilities: An Itron Resourcefulness Report dives into why 93% of utilities say it’s extremely/very important to be able to gain insights from real-time data and analytics. Driving this significance is the need to gain insights for greater efficiency, reliability in the face of extreme weather, personalized customer experiences and integrating renewables/promoting sustainability. Consumers agree that the top priority is improving efficiency to lower their costs, however they rank gaining personalized insights higher than utilities do, per the report.

“Data is one of the most important assets for every organization and individual. But data becomes much more powerful when we recognize its value in real-time and then act on it. Our future—especially within the utility industry—will be shaped by data and the actionable insights that come from it. By using this intelligence, utilities and cities can get the visibility they need to address pressing challenges and ensure they can continue to reliably deliver energy and water services and improve the overall quality of life for consumers everywhere,” said Marina Donovan, vice president of global marketing, ESG and public affairs.

The differing opinions of consumers and utility executives lead to additional key findings including:

  • More than half of consumers say they'd pay up to 7% more on their utility bills to receive more personalized insights to help them manage their usage.
  • Building greater grid-resilience remains a key priority with 77% of consumers stating it is extremely/very important that utilities use data analytics to help with extreme weather. This is especially true in India where 96% agree with this point.
  • Conflicting smart-cities priorities between utilities and consumers demonstrate their different priorities. Utilities see EV-charging, which is likely to have a massive impact on the grid, as more critical while consumers state the need is for smart streetlights. However, both groups agree that traffic management and air quality monitoring are among the top three concerns.
  • Sustainability is increasingly important to consumers—and consumers who are early adopters of one technology tend to invest in others as well. The survey found that EV owners are five times more likely to generate electricity and are 2.6 times more likely to have battery storage. Of those producing their own electricity, 77% have their own battery storage, and 84% would like to sell their electricity back to the grid (14% already do).
  • Securing and protecting consumer data privacy is a larger concern for utilities (81%) than consumers (42%). The consumer’s concerns are based on hacking/cyberattacks (41%) and keeping their personal usage data private (27%).

The report summarizes key findings from surveys of 600 utility executives and 600 informed consumers from five countries—United States, Australia, India, Spain and the UK—on the key usage, priorities and barriers that data and analytics bring to the utility market.

The survey found that among all technology deployed by utilities for key use cases, data analytics is currently ranked between third and sixth, yet it moves to be in the top three investment priorities across the use cases of operational efficiency, extreme weather, personalization and sustainability in the next five years.