Innovative ideas for every utility

We got some really nice insights from the Canadian Electricity Association at Distributech 2020

We had a feel good meeting at DistribuTECH 2020 with one of our favorite people, David McKendry with the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA). We sat down and talked with him for a few minutes today about the great things they do for the industry and Canadian utilities overall.

“We put the Canadian national spotlight on the good things utilities are doing across the country,” he told us, including facilitating councils and committees, influencing policy development, hosting meetings and doing advocacy—along with just spreading the good word.

Here are a few good things he shared with us that everyone at #DTECH2020 should take note of:

Let’s work together to not artificially hamstring opex opportunities in the cloud because of rate-of-return issues. It’s time to sit down and talk out a full plan—not just for cloud items that keep coming down the pike, but for all opportunities that may not fall under the easier-to-justify capex categories.

Never sacrifice your customer trust in the scramble to push forward and make the customer the center of your world with better marketing, better apps, and better web services. One of the value pieces you should carry over from your years of experience is that undercurrent of trust that you’ve built for so long.

Don’t forget the world outside your grid while your head’s down on current projects and planning. Learn from peers, neighbors and even those utilities in other countries around the world. Other people have amazing insights into the issues you’re tackling. Whatever your issue, someone else has been through that and conquered that. Knock on their doors, ask for advice, and listen.

Tap into associations like the CEA for data, as it’s already a data-driven world and the job of an association is to educate. Given that objectivity inherent in their structure, association info can mean data that’s less biased—sometimes significantly less biased—than a hired data gun.

Get support from the top to drive utility customer experience and implement a position of chief customer officer that has full oversight (and a customer experience steering committee that is made up of key senior leaders across the org who discuss common customer stuff) and then nothing will get lost in the silo.

Develop a five-year customer experience roadmap that will lay out all the key critical customer-focused projects, technology, and resources. Ensure you have the metrics to evolve that and manage it. And don’t forget to celebrate success along the say.


Got a little FOMO about DistribuTECH? Fear you’re missing out? Then it’s time for you to check out a few of our blogs already up and live from the conference featuring both industry insiders and local utilities, too:



We’ll be covering the entire DISTRIBUTECH 2020 conference live on the blog and on Twitter and LinkedIn. Come join the conversation. Or visit us onsite at the booth at 2809.

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