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This Oracle insider works through change with an inventive leadership touchstone

We talk a lot, in this industry, about topics and concepts: blockchain, IoT, the shift to the cloud, grid modernization and growing customer demands. And these...

Recent Posts

Customer Care

How to grade your utility’s digital footprint from the emotional intelligence POV

If you grew up on old reruns of the original “Star Trek” as I did, you learned one major thing from Leonard Nimoy’s fabulously dry and wry Mr. Spock: Humans are...

Here's what we learned from the data of 30 million smart meters

Oracle Utilities recently tested our Meter Data Management solution in a benchmark test designed to emulate the smart meter processes and real business...

Operations

How transformative tech changes us from brainwaves to bulk distribution (part 2)

We—meaning both the world in general and us here at Oracle specifically—have teams of data scientists who essentially play “what if?” all day long. You remember...

Customer Care

Sometimes simple isn’t simple: leading customer program concepts from frontrunner utilities

What truly separates (and connects) customer and utility differs by point of view. From the customer angle, it’s simple—a narrow definition. They see one thing...

Operations

How transformative tech changes us from brainwaves to bulk distribution (part 1)

Innovative thinking typically starts with a problem. Adults tend to dissect the problem from a million different logical aspects, and they start dismissing...

Customer Care

What utilities can glean from classic comics to pen a better future (spoiler alert)

Wonder Woman saved Steve Trevor (and at least one war). The Avengers saved New York—at least the parts they didn’t flatten. (Recently, they tried to save the...

Utility insiders talk culture, cooperation and challenges

Here at Oracle Utilities, we like to keep the lines of communication open with everyone across the industry, from engineers to customer service reps to utility...

Customer Care

2 forward-thinking forecasts on innovation speculation in the utility industry

Sometimes innovation is discovered in hindsight. I think the best story to illustrate this point is the history of aluminum. The original techniques to refine...

Technology and the Cloud

Pursuing the perfect cloud path

We’re at an evolutionary point in the utilities business: Everything must now feed off and work with nearly everything else—systems tied to systems, rerouted,...

Operations

Making progress in-between a rock and more than one hard place

The common adage we hear today about the grid, especially when associated in discussion around poor infrastructure grades (hint: it’s not good), is if Edison...

Operations

The dangers and deliverables of DER

We’re still full of questions about the utility future, but the nature of those questions has morphed dramatically in the last few years. We used to ask “where”...

Customer Care

Call your mom instead of your utility

Do your customers spend more time talking to you than they do their own mothers? Well Mercury decided to change that with a suite of customer engagement tools...

Company

Engagement isn’t just about the customer; it’s about employees, too

We have a lot of industry conversations about customer engagement, but we don’t often, in this industry, discuss employee engagement. But engaged employees make...

Customer Care

Tampa Electric’s Nancy Tower offers 10 tidbits on customer culture and engagement

It’s a brave new utility world with the customer in charge today. They’ve morphed from generic, lumped-together “ratepayers” to segmented, targeted, and labeled...

Innovation Insights

How to craft the right water/data balance

We’ve all heard about the energy-water nexus—how energy is required to make water usable and how water is required to make power work. The energy-water nexus is...

Customer Care

PG&E turns direct outreach into a bump in SMB customer happiness

In the wide-ranging discussion about the wants and needs of the utility customers, we often forget the small and medium business (SMB) segment. It’s not large...

Company

Saving the water: Oracle Utilities and utility partners give back

After the action-packed Synergy program on the first day of the CS Week conference in Tampa, the Oracle Utilities team, along with utility program attendees,...

Company

Finding synergy: on utility industry trends, analytics and crafting one amazing customer experience

The very best, most awesome moment of any conference is on the first day. That’s when you have the highest energy levels, hit the most sessions, plan the most...

Technology and the Cloud

How will your utility weather our new industry future? Our strategist has one word for you

And that one word has options. It can be four (abbreviated) letters, or it can be longer. You’ll find the answer here somewhere. (We’ll even point it out.) But,...

Operations

American Gas Magazine April cover story: Take Six

With 4,000 employees, 3 million customers and operations in six states, Southern Company Gas’ recent CIS consolidation across six of its natural gas utilities...

Operations

4 notes on innovative grid restoration from 3 utilities

Hurricanes and other extreme weather that blow out masses of power infrastructure in giant sweeps seems to happen in clusters—as if by some serious, if sad,...

Operations

Spitballing energy challenges and potential solutions at the speed of light

Michael Webber is one fast talker—but in a good way. (Maybe even in a great way.) Webber keynoted the energy and water track of the Oracle Industry Connect 2018...

Customer Care

Lessons in customer behavior from PwC and J.D. Power

We talk a lot about customers these days in the utilities industry: what they want, what they need, what they’ll choose, what they’ll run from, what they’ll...

Technology

In a New York minute: 2 quick (but important) takeaways from Oracle Industry Connect today

“Go outside. Then look up,” advised Con Edison’s Matt Ketschke to the crowd at the opening general session of Oracle Industry Connect. “Well, OK. Don’t just...

Customer Care

Your thinking, your customers and your grid, too: looking for tomorrow in today

Tomorrow is so yesterday. We’ve been talking about the future for so long, surely we must be knee-deep in it by now. But the problem with tomorrow is this: It’s...

Innovation Insights

SaaS is your next innovation enabler

Fact #1: Utilities, like most businesses, need multiple back-office IT systems from CIS to MDM to ERP. Fact #2: These IT systems are typically deployed...

Customer Care

Choice is pushing the utilities industry into an era of customer consciousness

The energy consumer ain’t what he used to be. But, then again, neither is the energy industry. What used to be static is now constant flux. What used to be...

Company

Our former utility CIO reveals a bit of your new energy future

We talk a lot, in this industry, about topics and concepts: blockchain, IoT, the shift to the cloud, grid modernization and growing customer demands. And these...

Operations

Deciphering India’s theft problem: 4 solutions and 1 very shiny gem

When I think about the massive, beautiful power of electricity and the massive, beautiful country of India, it always brings to mind the Syamantaka Mani—the...

Customer Care

An electric legacy: Con Edison’s Ketschke on his business, his city and his dad

What brought Matt Ketschke, senior vice president of customer energy solutions at Con Edison, into the energy industry in the first place? Well, you might say...

Company

What's so darn awesome about Oracle Industry Connect?

Oracle Industry Connect is on the way. This utility executive conference will be flying into NYC in April, but is it the right conference for your busy...

Customer Care

3 utility industry lessons we can all learn from remembering the Alamo

At DistribuTECH 2018 in San Diego, there was one recurring question all around the floor that wasn't about low voltage or meter-to-cash or grid management, nor...

Operations

How fast can a utility evolve?

That’s a leading question in our title, we know—a succinct but open-ended one. So, here’s your succinct but open-ended answer: As fast as a utility can...

Operations

How utilities can help make a city smart without breaking the bank (and the back)

Cities, they are a-changin’, to paraphrase Bob Dylan. They’re getting smarter and more efficient, as well as both more connected and more distributed—at the...

Customer Care

5 fabulous customer engagement insights from CPS Energy’s Felecia Etheridge

Every time I hear Felecia Etheridge talk, I want to become her very best friend in the whole wide world. Etheridge is the chief customer engagement officer of...

Customer Care

No lie: your utility customers want digital data, options and more

When we talk about utilities, we tend to talk about infrastructure (pipes, wires, transformers, citygates) and the digital ways and means of evolving that...

Company

5 data-driven reasons to sign up right now for Oracle Industry Connect

The world is all about data, whether qualitative or quantitative. We study every word. We weigh every move. We think about affects and effects, benefits and...

Operations

Put down the raw water and turn on the tap

The raw water trend is all over the news. It’s a top hot thing of 2018 so far—drinking unfiltered water straight from a spring (though sometimes diverted...

Operations

How the cloud is already changing your utility business for the better

Don’t let anyone tell you differently: utilities are already in the cloud business. The cloud isn’t the future. It’s today. It’s now. It’s happening in this...

Our tip-top 17 blogs of 2017

In the grand tradition of year-end countdowns, we’ve spent the last two weeks on Twitter and LinkedIn sharing our top blogs of the year, from Princess Bride...

Operations

Here's your new favorite infographic on smarter digital planning

  It's the year's end, a time for embracing changes and transformation as we plan for the next year and the next big thing. In the spirit of the season, we're...

Customer Care

Who is the true New York energy customer?

People have been trying to define the true New Yorker since New York was called New Amsterdam, it seems. Some say you must be born there; some believe true New...

Operations

3 items hiding in your grid “pantry” that you can exploit

I have a psychological theory about pantries, and it’s a simple one: The inside of your kitchen pantry is an excellent reflection of your cooking skills (or...

Operations

The path to ISO 55000 compliance is a journey, not a destination

Asset management is a strategy, one involving detailed planning, financial thought leadership and a little bit of magic, too. (You do, after all, have to see...

Operations

Passion, progress and practical lessons from New York’s Energy Czar

Everyone wants to be a czar. In the rather dull work world of managers, directors and presidents of this and that, czar has got to be the best title ever...

Innovation Insights

3 takeaways from Utility Analytics Week

Utility Analytics Week—sponsored by the Utility Analytics Institute—visited San Antonio this fall. The conference gathered utilities and vendors together to...

Demand Side Management

Japanese partnership focuses on the environmental positives of residential energy efficiency

As part of the Ministry of Environment’s (MOE’s) effort to promote a “Japanese model of information-based, CO2-reducing behavioral changes in the residential...

Company

How to thrive within disruption

In October, I had the pleasure to be amongst peers at European Utility Week in Amsterdam. Across all the topics discussed at the conference, I saw one central...

Customer Care

Behavioral economics is officially mainstream (and public policy is better for it)

Last month, the Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to behavioral economist, Richard Thaler. Commonly referred to as the Father of Nudge Theory, Thaler was...

Customer Care

NYPA’s CEO on restoration, reform and REV

When I sat down to talk to Gil C. Quiniones, the president and CEO of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), about the state’s transformative strategies for this...

Customer Care

Pulling personal and professional lessons from our very latest innovation study

Remember when you were a kid and your mother or your teacher or your coach or some adult in authority over you admonished you to learn something new every day?...

Oracle Utilities

This Navigant study advises: to innovate, think twice

We think of the true innovator as a loner: Darwin following in the footsteps of unusual finches in the Galapagos, Tesla toiling alone in Wardenclyffe on his...

Technology and the Cloud

Crafting a game plan to deal with disruption

There has been a lot of talk about utility industry disruption and transformation in recent years, as recurring trends such as pressure to grow margins are...

Technology

Here’s your cheat sheet to smarter digital planning

We’re all focused on innovation and digitalization in this industry. A number of tracks and sessions at European Utility Week (EUW) covered these concepts so...

Innovation Insights

Betting on the new and shiny world of innovation

I’d gamble good money—maybe up to 20 whole Euros today—that you hear the words “innovation” and “digitalization” more times at industry meetings and conferences...

Operations

Talk more about an agile workforce not an aging one

We’ve been talking about the aging workforce and the loss of experiential knowledge in the utilities industry for years—since I started writing about the energy...

Customer Care

Blindsiding bikes and brilliant insights: on the ground at European Utility Week

In Amsterdam, the bikes come out of nowhere. They fly along with books, bags, babies and sometimes buggies in tow. Beyond minding the gap, you have to mind the...

Operations

European utilities, associations tackle local markets, global consumers and a blast of winter

Despite its rather seasonal name, the Winter Package of the European Commission is regulatory thinking for all seasons. The eight proposals inside—presented...

Demand Side Management

The growing pains of the utility business are global, but so are the opportunities

Adnan Z. Amin, the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (more commonly known as IRENA), opened European Utility Week (EUW) in Amsterdam...

Innovation Insights

Get great insider advice on analytics investments at your utility

Utilities are hearing quite a lot about data, the cloud and analytics these days—seemingly from every side and every source in the industry. So, to get you the...

Take a deep breath and dive deep into the wild waters of utility marketing

Yes, utility marketing. I put those two words together. I know it’s odd. I know it’s unheard of, really. We usually talk about reaching out to utility customers...

Demand Side Management

Demand-side management grows up

In the old days, demand-side management (DSM) was almost exclusively about turning things off—pool pumps, air conditioners—in order for the local utility to...

Are utilities ready for a now, better, faster customer base?

“Thirty years ago when I worked at a large East Coast utility, we were talking about the importance of the customer in our business,” said Filomena Gogel,...

Customer Care

How to make your utility customer love you lots (while also being strategy clever)

“Electric vehicles will be the biggest new load since air conditioning,” said Wayne Greenberg, CEO of E Source, during the opening plenary session for E Source...

Customer Care

A customer-centric approach to grid-connected distributed energy resources

Electric utilities—like all utilities—are in the service business. For many years, that was a straightforward, one-way delivery process: the utility provided...

Customer Care

Utility 2B: How to build the best future you

In the art world, the future dates back to 1909. And the future began in Europe—Italy, to be exact. The Futurism Movement was, hands down, the most important...

Innovation Insights

IaaS, PaaS & SaaS of the energy cloud

We are all too familiar with the changes happening in the utility industry. Some people compare it to transformations in telco industry, while others point to...

Operations

Utilities don’t fear the total eclipse of the sun

This weekend, tons of Americans scoured 7-elevens for special glasses, pinged Bill Nye for science fanatic insights, and even piled into cars, trucks and RVs...

Demand Side Management

Crafting a better home energy report for all—that’s you and me and the utility, too

My first experience with home energy reports is memorable because I didn’t really know what I was looking at. I had moved into a modern, concrete-slabbed studio...

Customer Care

On Billy Joel, the New York state of energy and the next Oracle Industry Connect

For some strange reason I cannot begin to explain to you, American singer Billy Joel is highly polarizing. You either adore his music as ballads of the everyman...

Utility IoT and the cloud: from connecting assets to enterprise-wide IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) and increasing distributed energy resources and connected devices at the edge of the grid are transforming the electric utility...

Innovation Insights

How the utilities industry can learn from losing

You know the spiel: The world is all about winning. And you were likely coached as a kid that—with the right pep talk, the right idea, the right amount of...

Operations

Network automation (with a lot of hard work) saves the day for Kansas City Power and Light

This year’s Father’s Day wasn’t a typical one for Dan Munkers and his team at Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L). They got hit by what he called “the mother of...

Operations

How do you get more bang for your asset management buck?

“Let’s put asset performance management (APM) and enterprise asset management (EAM) in context,” said Peter Manos, Senior Editor & Market Strategist, T&D World,...

Customer Care

On tapping pride and laying pipe to the future of the water industry

The last couple of years in the U.S. water sector overall has seen a lot of discussion about drinking water—especially because of the problems in Flint,...

Customer Care

Best practices in customer communication from top American water utilities

All utilities wrestle with customer communication issues. It’s a new world for this industry, but we’re all getting better at the task. At American Water Works...

Operations

6 words of water wisdom

We’re listening to water industry wants and needs inside American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) annual conference. Here are some of the best bits of advice,...

Operations

Dear water utilities: does your work and asset management measure up?

You’re a manager of operations and maintenance at a top U.S. water utility. As such, it’s your job to make sure service isn’t disrupted—that people’s water...

Customer Care

Life lessons in becoming customer-centric for utilities from utilities (and an association and ad agency, too)

I would wager that just about every utility in America has been told—on more than one occasion these days—that they are now being compared to Amazon, that...

Build your very best digital road map with these suggestions

“We’re not being measured against our own—against other utilities,” said Eric Karcher, Manager of Digital Strategy with Eversource Energy. "We’re being measured...

Customer Care

Vectren’s no longer thinking about the customer

It's true, that title: Vectren’s no longer thinking about the customer. They said so themselves this morning to a packed workshop.  But, it's more semantics...

Customer Care

The 20-year lesson: Con Edison finally builds the website customers want

Con Edison has been around the block. Founded in 1823 as the New York Gas Light Company, the utility is quickly approaching a couple hundred years in the...

Technology and the Cloud

5 ways utilities can exploit the cloud

We are live at CS Week in Fort Worth today, and our utility-filled Synergy meeting is bubbling over with juicy tidbits. We’ve made a lot of lists—of lessons...

Technology and the Cloud

On analytics, utilities, the cloud and finding perfect synergy

“Automation and analytics can transform operations and free up resources for you,” said Neel Gulhar with Oracle Utilities at today’s closed-door utility pow-wow...

Technology and the Cloud

One Danish utility offers a case study in the cloud

Utilities know this: today, the cloud reigns. Traditionally, this industry has been one that focused on building things in house, on keeping hands on. It was a...

Customer Care

Your customers want digital options, and they want them right now

We all know this: A digitally engaged utility customer is a happier utility customer. The numbers bear it out time and again. But how do you shift to a culture...

Operations

5 trending topics in the global water industry

We all have desires; we all have wants—the latest smartphone, the newest version of our favorite car brand, the best upgrade on our next international flight....

Operations

The digital utility revolution goes global: focus on India

We sat down for a short chat with Francois Vazille, Vice President, Oracle Utilities, JAPAC, about evolving smart grid technology and the emergence of the...

Customer Care

Seeing “The Princess Bride” as a brilliant customer service tutorial

One '80s flick is practically overflowing with fabulous lessons in behavioral science: “The Princess Bride.” I’ve been a fan of the movie since it hit theaters...

Operations

On six Shearing Layers, three Pace Layers, two types of illusion, one British architect and your evolving utility

You have one single fellow to thank for the evolution of your utility from a system of top-down processes to the growing focus on innovation, flexibility and...

Innovation Insights

The digital utility revolution goes global

We sat down for a short chat with Francois Vazille, Vice President, Oracle Utilities, JAPAC, about evolving smart grid technology and the emergence of the...

Technology

How valuable is the grid? Let’s start counting the ways

Is the grid the problem? Is the grid our solution? Is the grid going away? Is the grid going to be the be-all center of the future utility? These are the...

Company

The most fabulous insights overheard at Oracle Industry Connect

Utility executives and industry insiders descended on the Mouse House in Orlando in March to share ideas, problems (and hopefully solutions, too)—and even a...

Customer Care

Defining the evolution of the smart(er) city

“Who here lives in a smart city?” asked Dr. Lawrence Jones VP of Edison Electric Institute to the audience in the “Optimizing smart networks: the role of...

Customer Care

Two words will help you survive the changing utility business

The packed room for Oracle Industry Connect’s energy & utilities program kick-off was a massive elbow-rubbing opportunity with a sea of familiar and...

Company

Come work with us at Oracle Opower

We're looking for a few good people. We've got openings in our Arlington, VA office for product managers, UX design developers and cloud engineers to name just...

Technology

Mental image: What your utility could look like in 2035

Projecting the future is an industry obsession worldwide. We love to try and figure out how things will work out—so we can appropriately plan ahead. We’re...

Innovation Insights

7 hurdles to cloud nirvana that utilities must clear now

The cloud makes so many business promises, it can be difficult to keep track. It offers flexibility, speed and the ability to outsource some otherwise expensive...

Company

10 amazing sights you can only see at Oracle Industry Connect

We know that clearing your calendar for a conference can be difficult. We know to make the time and effort worth your while requires some fabulous learning,...

Oracle

Integrated Cloud Applications & Platform Services