Data-driven innovation in the Utilities Industry

Home » Data-driven stories » Data-driven innovation in the Utilities Industry

European utilities are amongst the most competitive and innovative in the world - they represent the backbone of the EU’s economic system and are the primary actor of the ambitious EU’s 2020 climate and energy package to achieve a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. But challenges abound: a general reallocation from power generation to downstream segments of the value chain is taking place and is accompanied by other micro-level trends such as the need for electricity grids to integrate a growing amount of distributed renewable energy resources, the increased demand for electric mobility, and the need to optimize existing network capacity.

This transformation implies an ever increasing integration, analysis and interpretation of large sets of real-time data coming from connected assets on increasingly automated smart electricity grids and the use of Big Data and Analytics (BDA) is helping Europe’s utilities to get tangible benefits across all segments of the value chain:

• in electricity generation and water abstraction, BDA allow utilities to enhance and speed up critical operational processes, optimize maintenance and reach higher levels of quality and safety: the overall financial benefits for the whole industry in the EU in this segment are estimated at €16.3 billion per year.

• In transmission and delivery t, data-intensive BDA solutions can advance network reliability and provide optimal load scheduling while improving outage detection processes, load flows management and maintenance issues identification. Benefits for the European utilities industry are estimated at €28.6 billion per year EU-wide.

• in aggregation and metering BDA can improve demand response management, introduce new and more effective anti-energy theft measures and greatly enhance fraud detection capabilities. An overall benefit of €8.8 billion per year could be achieved across Europe’s utilities.

• in customer operations benefits could amount to an estimated €10.65 billion annually for the European utilities industry. In this segment, for instance, data-intensive customer engagement applications would enable peer-to-peer comparison of consumption unleashing virtuous imitation effects among consumers.

Yet, IDC research illustrate that not all European utilities have fully understood the potential of BDA. Our maturity model confirms that the median European utility has a BDA maturity level of 3 out of 5 (with 5 being the highest). In other words: Europe’s utilities are on the right path to fully exploit the advantages offered by BDA technologies but an extra effort is needed to make them become the data-driven industry in Europe.

Blogpost by Giorgio Michelleti IDC,

IDC & Open Evidence, Data-driven innovation in European Utilities, European Data Market Study, January 2015

Stayed tuned for more insights on Big Data market in Europe!