How two European utilities are embracing change


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: For years I have urged utilities to be intentional about their future. The world will be radically different in a few years. Utilities should proactively decide what role they want to play in that new landscape.


One of the things we know is that many customers will be producing their own power. Now you can stick your head in the sand. Or you can just wait as your best customers gradually migrate away. Or you can find a role for yourself in that new, decentralized world.


The press release below gives examples of two European cities where the local utility is collaborating to build out a new, more customized way to buy electricity. It's a cool technology concept. But it's even cooler that those utilities are working to invent their own future. - By Jesse Berst


Going shopping with your energy company


Barcelona, October 28, 2013 - How many tomatoes do I need? How many cartons of milk? Will the kids be eating at home?


Making the supermarket shopping list for the week is how we make sure we buy enough food, but not too much. Although not typically a daunting task, it takes a few minutes of thinking. But what if someone made your shopping list for you, always making sure you buy exactly what your family needs, and at the lowest prices? Sounds like a great service, right?



Now imagine this service is offered by your energy company. It knows that you like a warm home on cold winter nights, and it knows you don’t like being shocked by high energy bills. It also knows that you and your family prefer solar energy to coal and hate breathing polluted air when you take an evening stroll through your city. Although they may not be your favorite service provider, energy companies understand your household’s needs and are working hard to be your personal "energy shopper.”


The iURBAN project is creating an intelligent "brain” that makes this possible. The tool is being developed in close collaboration with energy customers and city governments to help transform two European cities - Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Rijeka (Croatia) - into smart cities of the future. The three year project - awarded over 3.8 million € by the European Commission - was kicked off earlier this month in Plovdiv. Top members from the two city councils and their respective energy providers expressed that participation in iURBAN enhances their commitment to reducing energy costs and improving air quality for citizens.

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