PwC Report: Technology and Evolving Customer Demands Key Drivers in Transforming Canadian Utilities Sector

96% of executives say energy transformation poses significant risk of disruption to business models in the long-term

TORONTO, Oct. 5, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, PwC released its Opportunity amidst disruption: How energy transformation is shaping Canada's utilities sector which sheds light on how utility companies in Canada and around the world are experiencing a profound transformation that is impacting their long-held business models.    

Transformation is already happening due to a rapidly changing landscape influenced heavily by technology and customer demand. According to the report, 96% of utility executives across Canada agree that energy transformation will create a significant risk of disruption to their business model by 2040. Of those, 73% are already creating strategies to work with the transformation of the energy market over the short-term (2020), and 75% over the long-term (2040). 

"What we know is that Canada's energy market will be very different in 5, let alone 25 years" says Brian Poth, National Utilities Leader, PwC Canada.  "Our Canadian research support global PwC findings that there are four key drivers of energy transformation: fast-moving, disruptive technology, changing customer expectations, government and regulatory policy, and innovation. Understanding these trends and having a focused strategy to proactively shape the future in each area creates a great opportunity for Canadian utilities at home and abroad."

Advanced technologies are changing the way power is generated, transmitted and distributed. Ninety-three percent of executives believe that distributed generation of electricity through solar, wind and the like will have the greatest impact on energy markets across Canada. The role of policy is crucial to the future of energy sector technology; 68% advocate efforts to encourage innovative technology, including distributed generation.  Interestingly, 86% of Canadian executives (vs. 44% globally) believe new storage technologies will play an important role in transforming the energy market over the next 5 years. 

Customers' changing behaviours and expectations have become as powerful a driver of energy transformation as any technological advance. Utility companies must take steps to respond to the evolution of their customers. An overwhelming 93% of surveyed utility executives say customer experience is important to their business, reinforcing the real importance of customer engagement in the energy market to come. As policy makers look to achieve sustainability and carbon targets, looking to utilities to help may make sense.  According to the report, 39% respondents most trust their local energy provider or utility to inform them about actions they can take to manage or optimize their energy consumption.

"There is a tremendous opportunity for utility companies to work with customers to better understand what is important to them. This cultural shift involves putting the customer first and finding solutions that work," adds Poth.  "Clear, accurate billing information and helping customers understand the modern energy market and its implications, challenges and opportunities with candour and transparency is key to maintaining trust and creating new ways to grow their business."

To explore this year's Opportunity amidst disruption: How energy transformation is shaping Canada's utilities sector, please visit: http://www.pwc.com/ca/energytransformation.

Follow PwC on Twitter at @PwC_Canada_LLP and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pwccanada.

About PwC Canada
At PwC Canada, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. More than 6,500 partners and staff in offices across the country are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax, consulting and deals services. PwC Canada is a member of the PwC network of firms with more than 208,000 people in 157 countries. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com/ca.

© 2016 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership. All rights reserved.

PwC refers to the Canadian member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

SOURCE PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

For further information: Pierre Campeau, Manager, Public Relations, T: 416 687-8643, Email: pierre.campeau@pwc.com; David Gollom, Senior Manager, Public Relations & Social Media, T: 416 869-2386

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