Source: 2018 Itron Resourcefulness Report
  • Implementing smart city solutions is a high priority for 70% of utility executives.
  • 9 out of 10 consumers believe it's important for utilities to use big data to improve efficiency.
  • Utility executives no. 1 unmet need is the desire to integrate renewables into their resource mix.

A new report released this week by American technology company Itron examines how the water and energy sectors are working to align their objectives to achieve better efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability—in short, the drive toward resourcefulness.

The '2018 Itron Resourcefulness Report', an analysis of international energy and water trends uncovers consumer and utility executive perspectives and practices sourced from 1,013 consumers and 1,018 executives in 10 countries around the world. 

Headquartered in Washington DC, the technology firm debuted this landmark report detailing the current state of resourcefulness at Itron Utility Week.

The report reveals that resourcefulness—defined as the thoughtful and careful use of energy and water—is top of mind for utilities and consumers alike, and now, more than ever, they are ready to take action to create a more resourceful world.

"Resourcefulness is more than a set of technologies and practices. It is a mindset, a culture. And it appears increasingly clear that the sooner we adopt that mindset, the better our future will be," Philip Mezey, president and CEO of Itron, said.

Survey results

The survey results include utility executives who play a crucial role in providing energy and water and citizens who consume and pay for these resources. in addition, the report analyses consumers’ opinions of their own resourcefulness, as well as the strategies utilities, plan for integrating solutions that minimise waste and environmental impact, while providing reliable water and energy services.

“The Itron Resourcefulness Report offers a wealth of knowledge on a number of topics. There were two key takeaways I found especially inspiring,” said Mezey.

“First, it’s clear that the global dedication to resourcefulness knows no borders—virtually every respondent was aligned on the fact that resourcefulness is important. This is a critical milestone that we had to hit to continue improving. I was equally impressed by the personal accountability expressed by both utilities and consumers when it comes to upholding best practices for maximised efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability; this cohesive and community-wide approach to sustainability is the only way forward.”

While these two groups often have starkly different views about responsibilities and priorities related to improving resourcefulness, they also share many meaningful commonalities.

In analysing the massive pool of data that resulted from their responses, the results point to several key insights:

  • Consumers are worried about inefficiency and waste, and they believe that utilities can and must do a better job at being resourceful. Consumers’ concerns are validated by the point that only half of utility executives believe their utilities are running efficiently.
  • Virtually everyone thinks resourcefulness is important, and while there are
    disagreements around who is best equipped to improve it, the gap is narrowing as each group has begun to envision a larger role for itself. Consumers recognize their own role, with 58% seriously concerned about their personal impact on the environment.
  • Rates are too high and reducing pollution is a priority. The number of utility executives who say affordable electricity prices are the most important element of resourcefulness jumped 56% from 2015. Three out of four consumers say electricity is overpriced. Now more than ever, both groups want to do something about it.
  • When they envision a resourceful future, consumers and utilities see more renewables, connected infrastructures, big data and smart cities. Integrating renewables is a shared goal. It’s the No. 1 unmet need among utilities; for consumers, it’s the number one goal they have for utilities.
  • Utilities are working to build a resourceful future, but challenges exist. Utilities find they’re having a harder time keeping up with the pace of innovation; their biggest unmet needs are integrating renewables and investing in innovative infrastructure technologies. Three out of four utility executives see a need to upgrade technology to make renewables happen.
  • Creating allies will be instrumental in building a more resourceful future. For most
    consumers, the primary motivation for resourcefulness is to save money. In fact, 61% of consumers would act more resourcefully if they could save 5 to 20% on their utility bills. This presents an opportunity for utilities to demonstrate that resourceful habits and investments can cut energy and water bills—a message that consumers respond to.
  • The time is now to act. Consumers and utilities both want to move in the same direction. They both want a resourceful world, to live in smart cities, and to make extensive use of renewable sources of energy. They want safer, less wasteful, and more efficient and sustainable communities. The survey showed that 33% of consumers think they are best suited to increase resourcefulness, and 35% think utilities are.

Key outcomes of the Itron Resourcefulness Report will be explored during Itron Utility Week, which kicked off this week in Scottsdale, Arizona. Follow #IUW18 for live updates from the event. #ItronChat

This article was published on our sister website Smart Energy International.