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Will growth in distributed energy resources redefine utilities business model?

Cognizant Ovum Smarter Utilities Survey 2017 on “Programmable grid” with major utilities across the globe reveals key insights into future Grid Management.


The massive growth of DERs and microgrids in the electricity value chain has completely changed the philosophy of network operations—which includes handling reverse power flow, impact on voltage profile and more complex protection schemes—and has impacted the overall business model of utilities around the world.

This energy transition journey is way beyond digital transformation of utilities towards the goal of an end-to-end programmable grid. The programmable grid represents the digitization of the power system, making use of digital technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics to remotely monitor, control and automate the network to improve reliability, availability and efficiency of the grid.

Our survey of 100 utilities in the USA, Europe, Australia and the Middle East has sought to understand the drivers, threats and opportunities for this transformation to the programmable grid and to determine where utilities are on this journey. The benchmarking of the utilities in the survey was based on our Programmable Grid Maturity Model Framework.

Download Cognizant Ovum smarter utilities survey 2017 research report for more insights.



In recent times, the utility industry has put itself on a path of dynamism to respond to the blurring of traditional demarcations between generation, transmission, distribution and customers. This, powered by new technologies both on and off-grid and the penetration of digital, are bringing about a paradigm shift to the traditional utility business model.

We set out to understand this shift in more detail.

What are the top drivers to disrupt utilities business? Which are the new technologies utilities are investing in? How will utilities integrate Distributed Energy Resources? How will utilities improve operational efficiencies?

Our survey of over 100 utilities across the United States, serving 38% of all electricity customers, revealed deep insights into how utilities are preparing to transform themselves, to meet the business goals of the 21st century.

Download the Cognizant Ovum Smarter Utilities Survey 2016 and the insight-rich infographics to learn more.